But on the basis of what Presentation Brothers College and Crescent Comprehensive produced for 35 minutes of this hotly disputed senior cup quarter-final at Musgrave Park yesterday, there isn’t much need to worry.
The two teams entered into the spirit of the game with a willingness to create and a desire to run and to parade the skills of speed, elusiveness and finishing power.
That it degenerated into somewhat of a forward battle after the break was understandable given there were just two points between the sides at the break. Second half nerves created indecision that the Cork side exploited when they swept through to meet the losers of next week’s Rockwell-Glenstal Abbey tie.
It’s a bit tougher for Crescent, whose consolation prize is a game against another of the Munster Schools Cup specialists, CBC Cork.
Perhaps it’s unfair to single out the backs for special mention, given the contribution of the Pres back row William Foley, Paul Derham and John Fitzgerald, but the five star performances came out wide from winger Rory Fenton, Seamus Glynn and half back partners Rory Scannell and Philip O’Leary.
Crescent had their share of battling men up front, not least skipper Niall Horan, number eight Cormac Blake and second row Eoin Casserly, but again the torchlight shone more brightly on Nigel Kerr, centres Greg Barry and Greg O’Shea and out half Gearoid Lyons, who all helped make the first half a memorable experience for the supporters.
First blood went to Pres in the 17th minute, a try from winger Fenton brilliantly executed and well created with a perfect pass from centre Glynn. The touch line conversion from Steve Dinan was perfect, but so too was a finely judged drop goal from Crescent out half Lyons three minutes later.
Pres responded with a series of assaults and Scannell proved up to the mark as well with a drop goal after 27 minutes but the excitement in this game, highlighted by quality back play from both sides, continued. Lyons made a brilliant break that nearly yielded a try and Fenton could have got in for his second for Pres just afterwards.
But the game turned three minutes into injury time when Kerr got in for an unconverted try after magnificent midfield footwork and speed of thought from O’Shea to leave just two points between the sides at the break.
The second half lacked the same excitement and application; the two sides anxious for success but clearly nervous at conceding anything. Inevitably, the deciding score came from a mistake.
A Scannell Garryowen went loose between two defenders in the 64th minute. As Crescent hesitated, Glynn was first to react to score the try at the posts to allow Dinan make the simple conversion. The war won, Pres finished on the ascendancy although Crescent, as you would expect, battled right to the end in a bid to save the game.
PBC: S Dinan; J Barrett, S Glynn, C Murphy, R Fenton; R Scannell, P O’Leary; A Slattery, M Abbott, D Hartnett; R McCarthy, I Silke; P Derham, J Fitzgerald (capt), W Foley.
Replacements: A O’Brien for Hartnett, P O’Brien for C Murphy (both 46), H O’Halloran for Slattery, K Farmer for Abbott (both 55), HM Curtin for Derham, T Duggan for O’Leary, B Crowley for Fenton, R Callanan for Foley (all 66).
CRESCENT: J Frawley; N Kerr, G O’Shea, G Barry, J Hogan; G Lyons, R O’Doherty; S Gleeson, J Green, N Horan (capt); K Hanly, E Casserly; E Fitzgerald, C Blake, J Kavanagh.
Replacements: C Rea for E Fitzgerald (17), JJ O’Neill for Frawley (48), E Barry for O’Doherty (55), H O’Halloran for Slattery (63), S McGee for Gleeson (65).
Referee: T O’Donoghue (IRFU).