A Munster Schools Junior Cup quarter-final that appeared to be meandering along towards an easy win for Castletroy over St Munchins at Thomond Park yesterday suddenly burst into life and provided a hugely exciting climax.
Castletroy eventually prevailed with a try in the fourth minute of stoppage time by centre Paul Clancy, but the outcome was harsh on St Munchin’s because of the courageous manner in which they came back from what looked like certain defeat to draw level as the game went into stoppage time.
Even then there was sufficient time for Castletroy to edge home 26-21 in a game that paid due honour to the old competition. Castletroy galloped into an early 14-0 lead with tries by Michael Ryan and Darragh Cullimore, both converted by David O’Mahony. Munchins hit back with a try before the interval by prop Mark O’Driscoll, converted by Kieran Markham.
Castletroy duly regained the initiative on the turnover and a well-taken try by Conor Bermingham, to which O’Mahony added the extras, reopened their 14-point advantage. However, Castletroy found themselves under constant pressure, causing highly efficient referee Joy Neville to send two of their players to the sin bin.
Munchins took full advantage and flanker Ben Shanahan went over for a try Markham converted with seven minutes to play. Munchins came again and outstanding number eight Shane Kelly galloped over for their third try, Markham showing an iron nerve in landing the levelling pointst.
But Castletroy were not to be denied. They produced a ground-devouring rolling maul from the restart, before setting up a dynamic attack that culminated in Paul Clancy cutting through for the match-winning score.
CASTLETROY: D Moloney; I McCarthy, C Cosgrave, P Clancy, E Murphy; M Kitt, C Lyons; R Keaveney, M Ryan, A Myers, D Cullimore, S Devitt, E O’Shea, C Bermingham, D McCrann.
Replacement: S Mulkern for Devitt.
ST MUNCHINS:C Broderick; K Browne, J Curry, J Pendejito, S Murphy; K Markham, E Maher; M O’Driscoll, S Ryan, M Crowe, A Casey, P Kelly, B Shanahan, J Murphy, S Kelly.
Replacements: R Duggan for P Kelly; T Harrington for Browne.
Referee: Joy Neville (IRFU).