But Rockwell dug deep and produced a late flourish to secure passage to the next stage. Jason Kiely was just wide with the Munchin’s conversion attempt and within a minute Rockwell had gone to the other end of the pitch as Ryan O’Sullivan and Andrew Daly opened up the defence and provided the chance for Padraig Leamy, who still had plenty of work to do but managed to touch down in the corner.
Jake Flannery sent over a fine conversion and then made the game safe six minutes later with a penalty, meaning no way back for the Limerick college.
It proved an exciting end to an entertaining match in Clanwilliam and the champions of two years ago may have a bit more to say in this year’s competition.
Rockwell got off to a slow start, with Jason Kiely and Gary Quilligan putting them under some early pressure, and Kiely kicked the opening penalty after seven minutes after a high tackle.
Munchin’s failed to further capitalise on their early possession, however, and Rockwell gradually dragged themselves into the game.
Scrum-half Oisin Mangan proved to be a nuisance for St Munchin’s throughout the 70 minutes, always looking for an opening to get an attack moving, while Leamy and Daly were a formidable centre partnership. Up front, captain Kevin Kelly led by example while Conal Kennedy and Paddy Murchan were also dangerous. After a Jake Flannery penalty tied up the scores at 3-3, Kelly got Rockwell’s first try when he managed to get over the line after a great drive from a lineout. They were over again in the 32rd minute, this time Ryan O’Sullivan finishing off an excellent move helped along the way by Mangan, Flannery and Daly.
St Munchin’s stayed with them all the same, Luke Costello getting a fine score in the 36th minute, taking on a Kiely pass, selling a dummy and setting sail for home, with the conversion making it 15-8 at the interval.
Shane Kelly’s individual try shortly after the break put Munchin’s within two but after another Flannery penalty for Rockwell, some tense minutes ensued before O’Halloran levelled matters in the last quarter.
It wasn’t to be for St Munchin’s, however, as their supporters’ celebrations had barely subsided before they were conceding at the other end and they weren’t able to get themselves on the scoreboard again before the final whistle.
K Kelly, R O’Sullivan, P Leamy one try each, J Flannery three penalties, two conversions.
L Costello, S Kelly, T O’Halloran one try each, J Kiely one penalty.
R O’Sullivan, C Egan, P Leamy, A Daly, J McCormack, J Flannery, O Mangan, K Kelly, J O’Meara, B Ryan, C Farrell, C Kennedy, P Murchan, J Harney, C Ryan.
N O’Hanrahan for C Farrell (57m), C Ryan for J O’Meara (64m), T Russell for P Murchan (70m).
R Clancy, L Costello, G Quilligan, E Carr, S Murphy, J Kiely, E Maher, M O’Driscoll, D Radcliffe, G McCoy, P Kelly, K McMahon, M Crowe, J Murphy, S Kelly.
T O’Halloran for R Clancy (48m), J Pendijito for G McCoy (65m), E Sheahan O’Donnel for E Carr (65m).
Ken Imbusch (Young Munster)