However, after second-row forward Kelvin Brown’s sensational late winning try, the Limerick side had to endure a traumatic finish as Pres launched a vigorous but unrewarded assault.
With the teams locked at 3-3, Brown’s brilliant run through space gave the Limerick side the buffer they deserved.
They were physically superior and made far less errors. This all-round team performance will heighten expectations for the March 28 decider against Christian Brothers College.
The early territorial advantage was with Pres but a plethora of handling errors cost them before David O’Sullivan lifted spirits in the ninth minute with a 40m penalty that just crept over the bar.
Ironically, that sparked Ardscoil Rís into action and managed to pile on the pressure to keep the Cork side on the back foot, despite having a strong breeze at their backs.
Lack of control cost Pres position and kept this contest balanced on a knife edge, with Ardscoil captain Shane Fenton, Kelvin Brown and Darragh Ryan putting it up to the favourites.
Although Pres matched their opponents, they didn’t quite have the forwards capable of making the same impact around the pitch and paid for their inefficiency, conceding a 28th minute penalty, duly converted by the impressive David O’Mahony.
O’Mahony’s second penalty came off an upright, and a third drifted wide, as the pressure mounted.
It required huge determination to keep the Cork side from capitulating against a side enjoying total physical and territorial advantage. Ardscoil, with flanker Jack Sexton playing an increasingly influential role, were denied time and again close to the line by brave defence but it was only a matter of time before they made the breakthrough.
They reaped the reward with a 59th minute try, and with it earned a chance to atone for defeat in last year’s decider. Last year it was Crescent they met in the final, this time it will be another Cork side, CBC, they meet in the March 28 final.
PBC: D O’Sullivan, C Barrett. P Kiernan (captain), L Clarke, S Guilfoyle, R Reidy, J Poland, J Ring, J Linehan, J O’Donovan, E Ryan, D Fitzgerald, M Fitzgibbon, C O’Flynn, W Buckley.
Replacements: A Ring for Ryan (46), G Smith for Buckley (66), D Dennehy for Guilfoyle, K O’Leary for Clarke (both 59).
Ardscoil Rís: L Brock, P De Brun, P McNamara, J O’Donnell, L White, D O’Mahony, H Bourke, P Lyons, K Bracken, T Walsh, D Ryan, K Brown, J McCabe, S Fenton (captain), J Sexton.
Referee: B O’Connell (MAR).