Crescent looked an extremely efficient outfit when beating PBC in a splendid quarter-final 20-10 before accounting for Glenstal 22-6 in the semi-final. They can call upon four of last year’s successful side and in centre Greg O’Shea and half-backs Gearóid Lyons, the captain, and Ed Barry, they have three exceptional talents.
Former Munster player Mossie Lawler is one of the Ard Scoil coaches and will hope to frustrate Crescent’s best efforts to get their dangerous back line moving through the efforts of a pack superbly led by number eight Paul Obande. Even though he spent five minutes in the sin bin for a technical infringement in the semi-final defeat of Castletroy, Obande proved a highly influential figure in a game Ard Scoil did well to win.
If Crescent can subdue Obande and other outstanding forwards like Joe Cannon and Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, they will have gone a long way towards claiming another title. It may be easier said than done, because Ard Scoil Rís, are almost certainly a better side than they looked in their narrow defeat of Castletroy and also have some decidedly useful operators behind the scrum in full-back Conor Linehan and half-backs Stephen Fitzgerald and skipper Robbie Deegan.
They also beat Pres 15-5 and St Munchins 17-10 on their way to the decider and morale in the school could hardly be higher after their recent retention of the Dr Harty Cup.
Little wonder, then, they are confident of creating an upset and repeating their wins in 2003 and 2005.
Nevertheless, Crescent may have the edge in experience and should number eight Cormac Blake, second-row Mike O’Donnell and hooker Cillian Rea inspire those around them to the level of performance that coped with a great Pres effort in the quarter-final, it is hard to see them losing.
C. Linehan; J. Walshe, W. Leonard, S. Fenton, O. Lyons; S. Fitzgerald, R. Deegan; K. Brown, K. Bracken, J. O’Halloran, F. Bradshaw-Ryan, D. Wixted, J. Cannon, J. O’Halloran, P. Obande.
J. O’Sullivan; J. Hogan, G. O’Shea, J.J. 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.