Crescent were in the happy position of being able to field almost half the side that captured the title last year and their greater experience clearly told in a contest between two talented sides. They also held an advantage in the physical stakes up front, where number eight Cormac Blake constantly broke from the back of the set pieces as well as from rucks and mauls.
This in turn led to a fluent service for a fine back division, in which half-backs Gearoid Lyons and Ed Barry and the fleet-footed Greg O’Shea in the centre posed a constant threat for the resilient Pres defence.
O’Shea tapped over an early three points for Crescent but the Cork side had every chance to get on level terms, instead opting to run tworelatively close penalties and the attacks were repulsed. O’Shea remained a constant threat and on the stroke of half-time he used his scorching pace to cut through for a try which Lyons converted from near touch.
Pres needed a good start to the second half and the outstanding efforts of skipper Dylan Lane and his back-row colleagues Michael Murphy and Morgan Carey earned them three points, through a penalty by excellent out-half Conor Flanagan within seven minutes.
However, Crescent’s response was emphatic as they gained control of the forward exchanges and, having gone close on a few occasions, appeared to put the issue out of reach when scrum-half Barry combined pace and balanced running in charging 40 metres down the left touchline before diving over in the corner.
Another superb conversion by Lyons put Crescent 20-3 in front but Pres were still full of fight. Full-back Paddy Hegarty cut through for a lovely try between the posts, Flanagan converted and suddenly the Cork boys were very much back in the hunt.
It was another indication of Crescent’s quality, however, that they were able to withstand a series of fierce assaults on their try line and they now go ahead to a semi-final clash with the winners of today’s meeting of CBC and Glenstal at Temple Hill.
J O’Sullivan; A Crean, G O’Shea, JJ O’Neill, J Beary; G Lyons (capt), E Barry; J Tuohy, C Rea, L McMahon, M O’Donnell, J Kavanagh, R Noone, J Green, C Blake.
Replacements: E Parkes for O’Neill, T Moloney for Crean.
P Hegarty; S Walia, P Kiernan, D St Leger, E Perry; C Flanagan, H O’Keeffe; P Lee, C Stanton, S MacCarthy, C O’Donovan, J Roche, M Carey, M Murphy, D Lane (capt).
Replacements: C Casey for O’Donovan, J Ring for Lee.
Referee: S Curry.