Crescent’s burning ambition to pull off a first hat-trick of titles in the SEAT Munster Schools Senior Cup was dashed at Thomond Park yesterday when they lost more decisively than the 6-3 score line would suggest to a more committed and better disciplined Glenstal.
The trophy has yet to find a resting place in Glenstal, but they will now go into a semi-final meeting with Rockwell at a Limerick venue in early March imbued with fresh confidence after this fine display.
The game may have failed to produce a try but that shouldn’t in any way take from Glenstal’s achievement for they always tried to be constructive in the use of their considerable amount of possession.
These certainly are good times for Tom Tierney, head coach of the Cork Constitution side that recently won the Munster Senior Cup and of the Irish ladies team that won their first match in the Six Nations Championship in Italy last week. The former Ireland scrum-half has been fulfilling the same role at Glenstal with similar success and last night expressed his satisfaction at the way he has been able to carry out all three tasks. “I’m like Superman”, he quipped, “out of one tracksuit and into another” before stressing more seriously: “One of our goals at the start of the season was to win a Munster Cup match.
“This group lost two games as juniors, two more as seniors last year and this season went down again to Castletroy in the preliminary round of the senior. So that hurdle has now been crossed and to deservedly beat the holders, Crescent, for the past two years, is a very nice way to do it.”
It would be understandable if Crescent coach Conan Doyle was becoming just a little sick of the sight of Tierney. They were also the opposing coaches in the recent Munster Cup final when Tierney’s Constitution pipped Doyle’s Garryowen.
“No, we weren’t thinking of the three-in-a-row, there were too many good teams left”, said Doyle. “We were thinking only of this game. In truth we were only just hanging in and were definitely second best”.
Glenstal out-half Jack Stafford put his side ahead with an early penalty but missed two more, however Crescent had to wait until the 11th minute of the second half for their equalising points, a cracking 40-metre drop goal by out-half Dylan Sheehan.
But Glenstal, inspired by a powerful contribution by Ballybunion native Neilus Mulvihill at number six, scrum-half Ryan Johnston and full-back Colm Hogan, always held the edge and a second Stafford penalty on the hour saw them safely home.
GLENSTAL: C Hogan; G Daly, J McAleese, T Costigan, S O’Sullivan; J Stafford, R Johnston; I Molloy, M Ryan,J Hartnett, A Donohoe, B Clancy, N Mulvihill, J Murphy, G O’Hara.
Replacement: D Quane for Molloy.
CRESCENT: J Harrington; E Moloney, C Nash, A Harrison, B O’Hora; D Sheehan, J Lyons; N Mulcahy, C Moloney, B Considine, A Reeves, G Coyne, G O’Sullivan, P Hickey, S Fitzgerald.
Replacements: S Hensey for Considine; S Naughton for Coyne; M Hanley for Harrington; A Thai for Harrison; D Hurley for Nash.
Referee: G Clancy (IRFU).