Down through the years, there have been a succession of amazing games between the Cork city schools and today’s match promises more of the same between two sides that appear to be evenly matched, based on a one-point win for CBC in the annual Christmas friendly.
History has been kind to the two schools with each winning the prized trophy on no less than 28 occasions, ahead of the next best on the roll of honour, Rockwell College (26 titles).
With the Tipperary side out of the equation this year – they were beaten by Crescent Comprehensive – the two Cork schools are set to move into pole position on the pecking order, although there is still 140 minutes of rugby to face, today’s winners having to meet either Crescent or Castletroy College in the decider.
This tie is the first between the schools at senior level since 2009, when Christians won a semi-final (15-10), going on to win the title for the 28th time with Constitution forward Brian Hayes at the helm.
Pres joined them on 28 titles the following season under joint captains Dave O’Mahony and current Munster hooker Niall Scannell, the Cork side beating Rockwell in the final. Christians go into the game as marginal favourites based on that slim friendly result, their physicality and the fact they had to secure two good wins on the road. They beat Crescent 17-5 in round one and then produced another strong display when they accounted for Ardscoil Ris in the quarter final, winning 28-15.
Pres, though, showed enough attacking prowess in their previous games to suggest they can help to make it through to the decider if things go their way. No doubt but that Christians will have taken note of the 99 points scored by the Mardyke school in just two outings.
Pres accounted for St Clement’s 60-0 before grinding Bandon Grammar down in the quarter-final stage, with Pres winning 39-10.
L Coombes, B Galvin, J Harrington, A McHenry, I Casey, J Taylor, R Cassidy, J Humphries, G Good, C Leahy, R Thompson, S Duffy, R O’Neill, R Hyde, D Feeney (captain).
S Bushe, P Kelleher, C McHugh, D Barry, F Hennessy, C Sisk, J D O’Hea, R Hedderman.
J Wren, P Buckley, L O’Connor, J O’Shea, S French, P Sylvester, H Shanahan, B O’Connor, M Shinkwin, S Deane, C O’Flynn, B O’Mahony (captain), C Fitzgerald, D Hyland, J O’Sullivan.
B Scannell, D McDonagh, M Varnam, J O’Sullivan, P Crowley, J Broderick, R Murphy, T Fitzgerald.
M Connolly (M.A.R),