Glenstal look to upset champions

HOLDERS Crescent College Comprehensive start strong favourites to reach another Avonmore Milk Munster Schools Junior Cup final when they take on Glenstal Abbey at Clanwilliam Park, Tipperary this afternoon (3pm).

The other semi-final is another all-Limerick affair between Castletroy College and Ard Scoil Rís and that goes ahead at Dooradoyle with a 3.30pm kick-off.

Crescent can still call upon four of the team that bridged a 19 year gap with victory last year and they carry a lot of power up front and pace behind where centre Greg O’Shea and half-backs Ed Barry and captain Gearóid Lyons looked particularly impressive against PBC last time out. The team showed their battling qualities too as they withstood fierce late pressure from Pres before eventually running out winners. Nobody did better when Crescent came under the cosh than number eight Cormac Blake.

Glenstal, who surprised CBC on their way to the semi-finals, will find it difficult to break them down but could have a key man in centre Kevin O’Keeffe who has looked a class act in all his appearances so far. “Glen” have yet to win a senior or junior cup but many believe this could be their year for, after losing to Rockwell in their first outing, they showed their mettle by keeping their interest alive with a 16-10 win over Christians. O’Keeffe was the star man with three penalties and the conversion of a try by the outstanding Jack Boland and both should be key figures again this afternoon.

Ard Scoil Rís, the alma mater of Paul O’Connell, won the Junior Cup in 2003 and ‘05, and having disposed so far of PBC by 15-5 and St Munchins by 17-10, are quietly fancied for another title this year.

Skipper Robbie Deegan and number eight Paul Obande are key members while the influence of Mossie Lawler, the former Munster player, as one of the coaching team has been profound. His nephew, Gavin Farrell, is a member of the Ard Scoil squad.

Castletroy, the champions in 2009, got off to a rocky start when losing to Crescent but they followed it up with a 20-0 defeat of Rockwell and in Mark McCarthy, Darragh McCarthy and Rory Cunningham they have players capable of hurting any opposition.

The final is scheduled for Thomond Park on Wednesday next, March 23.

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