A dramatic injury-time try from centre Pa Ryan helped favourites Ardscoil Rís secure their place in the Munster Schools Senior Cup quarter-finals at the expense of local rivals St Munchin’s College at Clifford Park yesterday.
St Munchin’s looked on course for a major surprise when leading a fancied Ardscoil Rís 15-11 in added time at the end of a highly competitive Limerick derby clash. However, just as the Corbally side appeared set to claim a famous win, Ardscoil produced one final assault and when scrum-half Craig Casey took a quick tap from a free-kick on the St Munchin’s ‘22, Ardscoil moved the ball quickly.
Flanker Ian Brown, inside-centre Peader Collins and substitute Darren Gavin combined to put Ryan over in the right corner to score a match-winning score three minutes into stoppage time. Reliable out-half Conor Fitzgerald duly added the conversion as Ardscoil, Senior Cup finalists for the past two seasons, sealed a precious success.
Ardscoil had also emerged victorious when the Limerick schools met in the opening round of the competition 12 months ago. It was tough luck on a gallant St Munchin’s College side, whose tally of points came from five penalty goals from the boot of out-half Jason Kiely.
All is not lost for St Munchin’s, however, as the 2006 winners can advance to the quarter-finals if they can beat Bandon Grammar School in an upcoming play-off game.
St Munchin’s, with 10 survivors from their 2015 Senior Cup campaign, made the more impressive start and playmaker Kiely kicked them in front with an eighth-minute penalty goal.
Ardscoil hit back with a penalty from Conor Fitzgerald, brother of Munster star Stephen, and full-back Evan Cusack powered his way over for a try soon after following excellent handling by an even-threatening Ardscoil backline.
St Munchin’s had edged in front by half-time, 12-11, with Kiely landing three smashing penaltiess in the 22nd minute, 33rd and 38th minutes.
Fitzgerald kept Ardscoil in touch with his second penalty on 35 minutes.When Kiely landed his fifth penalty in the 50th minute, St Munchin’s looked to have gained a vital edge. With captain Adam Moloney, representative players Charlie Carmody and Aaron Rice, as well as the likes of Conor Radcliffe and Shane Kelly turning in impressive displays, Ardscoil were facing a real uphill battle.
However, Ardscoil were rewarded for their expansive approach when centre Ryan squeezed over late in the corner.
E Cusack, P Ryan try each, C Fitzgerald two pens, con.
J Kiely five pens.
E Cusack, N Randles, P Ryan, P Collins, M McManemy, C Fitzgerald, C Casey, M Scallon, C Slater, J McCarthy, D O’Grady, R Coffey (Capt), O Bernard, I Brown, O Ring.
D Gavin for McManemy, L Clohessy for Coffey.
B Bennett; J O’Halloran, E O’Connor, M Lyons, M Browne; J Kiely, A Rice; K McMahon, A Moloney (Capt), E O’Callaghan, C Radcliffe, S Kelly, S Corbett, J Burke, C Carmody.
L Costello for Browne, J Murphy for Corbett, M O’Driscoll for McMahon, D Radcliffe for O’Callaghan.
J Neville (IRFU)