Limerick school St Munchin’s have a record over two rounds to suggest they will give PBC huge difficulty in their bid to reach another final.
PBC lost to Rockwell last year and nothing would please them more than to get to a March 17 decider. But St Munchin’s are unlikely to make it easy, based on victories over Castletroy and Ardscoil Rís.
The Cork side had to fight all the way before overcoming the Morroe-based school, clawing their way back from a 14 points deficit to draw the opening game 22-22 and then hanging on to secure a 13-11 replay win at Clifford Park.
They should get better, based on coming off the back of two testing matches, but the biggest worry is just exactly how much those physical encounters have taken out of them. The big bonus is Brian Crowley slotted in well for injured full-back Steve Dinan in the replay last week, and Kieran Farmer also did well when flanker Will Foley was forced out.
Both will be asked for repeat performances today, with Farmer’s role particularly important against a strong visiting pack that includes triplets Gavin, Evan and Darren Ryan as well as wily captain Lee Nicholas.
But Pres, particularly the back row where captain John Fitzgerald and Paul Derham are influential, are unlikely to be intimidated. It promises to be a thrilling up-front battle.
PBC: B Crowley, J Barrett, S Glynn, C Murphy, P O’Brien, R Scannell, P O’Leary, A Slattery, M Abbott, D Hartnett, R McCarthy, I Silke, P Derham, J Fitzgerald (captain), K Farmer.
ST MUNCHIN’S: C O’Donnell, E O’Keeffe, D Goggin, T O’Neill, D Morrissey, S Airey, B Nugent, E Kelly, L O’Halloran, E Ryan, G Ryan, M McSweeney, E Nugent, L Nicholas (captain), D Ryan.