Having suffered a very heavy defeat by PBC in their previous outing at the same venue, Clement’s might well have been fearing the worst.
However, the merit in awarding first round losers another chance was amply demonstrated, as they improved beyond all recognition on their performance against Pres.
Their defensive work was above reproach and they managed to handle the treacherously slippery ball with remarkable acumen.
The Rosbrien pitch was swept by a fierce hailstorm as the teams took to the field and in the circumstances, both sides did commendably well to provide an entertaining 70 minutes.
Castletroy dominated the opening quarter but even at that early stage they must have realised they had a serious challenge on their hands.
The Clements back-row of Shane Brosnahan, Eoin Murnane, and Enis Haxhiaj were magnificent as were half-backs Aran Hehir and Jordan Henir while the massive left boot of full-back Sean Keane gained massive amounts of ground.
However, the pressure told eventually when Castletroy scrum-half Stephen Atkinson worked his way through for the opening try after 16 minutes — and that five points was all that separated the sides at the interval.
The winners mauled their way over for a second try touched down after 10 minutes of the second half by prop Joey Conway and they put the issue beyond doubt shortly afterwards when they punished uncertainty in the Clements’ defence when they allowed a harmless looking high ball to bounce and the Castletroy pack swooped to send winger Eoghan Conway over in the corner.
Castletroy will need to show a deal of improvement if they are to capture their second senior cup. But with forwards of the calibre of Evan Slattery, Sean English, and skipper Niall O’Shea in their ranks, and every chance of key man Mark O’Mara recovering from injury for the semi-finals in three weeks time, they will still prove a formidable proposition up front.
S Hogan; S Mullins, R McDonnell, P Clancy, E Carew; S Atkinson, C Lyons; J Conway, D O’Neill, C Myers, E Slattery, S English, E Hourigan, N O’Shea capt, D Reeves-Wasik.
M Rowsome for Mullins injured; A Myers for Hourigan; C Bermingham for Slattery; R Hannon for Lyons.
S Keane; J Flanagan, N Clancy capt, J Page, J Flynn; J Higgins, A Hehir; T McMahon, D Gleeson, C Clancy, A Quinlavan, D Cotter, S Brosnahan, E Murnane, E Haxhiaj.
D Daly-Conway for C Clancy; D Browne for Gleeson; S Ryan-Tobin for Haxhiaj; S Wilmot for N Clancy; A Barry for Flynn; S Devitt for Flanagan.
L Colgan (MAR).