Great credit is due to both sides for the courageous manner in which they coped with heavy rain and an icy wind. Injuries to a couple of Crescent’s regular props meant that there were uncontested scrums throughout. With the Cork side conceding far too many penalties, Crescent piled on the pressure in the early stages. Skipper Eimhin Prendergast and his second-rowpartner Cian Reale were outstanding in the line-out and were well-supported by prop Eoin McDonnell and open side flanker Owain Quinlan.
However, the Christians defence was equal to most of the demands imposed on them until the 25th minute when Crescent wing Mark Varley blocked down an attempted clearance and swooped on the loose ball to sprint home from 40m for a well-taken try that Val McDermott converted.
Christians faced an uphill task but they read the requirements perfectly, using burly forwards Shane O’Hanlon, Joe McSweeney, Conor Carlson and the outstanding Kyle O’Brien to carry the fight to the home side.
Their discipline may have let them down in the first half but there was no sign of this the longer the game went on. Instead, they kept the ball in hand, mauled to great effect and finally had their reward. They drew level after 25 minutes when the stubborn Crescent defence was finally breached by hooker Eoin Scully.
William Trevor coped admirably with the dreadful conditions to knock over a tricky conversion. Christians were now completely on top and swept back into the Crescent 22. They forced a penalty in the same spot as Trevor had just evened matters but this time his kick was off target.
Undaunted, Christians maintained the pressure and it came as no surprise when Kyle O’Brien forced his way over for the all-important winning try.
CBC: D O’Sullivan, W Trevor, C Waugh, P Hyde, J M Murphy, S Kearney, Sean Kennedy; Stephen Kennedy, E Scully, R O’Donovan, K O’Brien, C Carlson, J McSweeney, N Guilfoyle, S O’Hanlon.
Replacements: K Daly for O’Donovan; V O’Brien for McSweeney, T O’Keeffe for Sean Kennedy.
CRESCENT: S Farrell, M Varley, F White, C Grehan, E Moloney, D Kavanagh, V McDermott; E McDonnell, I Clein, D McDonnell, E Prendergast capt, C Reale, B MacNamara, O Quinlan, S Naughton.
Replacements: S O’Rourke for Grehan; D Wixted for Naughton.
Referee: P O’Connor (M A R).