There was to be no repeat of the close-fought final of last year with Christians growing in confidence as the game progressed. Crescent found themselves 25 points adrift going into the closing stages and, spirit aside, just didn’t have the resources needed to make a meaningful impact on the contest.
Yes, substitute Ronan Gallery scored a try off a maul with 10 minutes remaining but the Limerick outfit had to play too much catch-up rugby and, overall, this was an accomplished display by the holders who will be generally as happy with their defence as they were with the attack.
As the game became fragmented towards the end, Christians still managed to bring off some telling tackles to keep brave Crescent at bay and they then struck in the last seconds for a fourth try to give them back a 25-point advantage.
At the end of a hotly- disputed first quarter, with both sides fighting successfully for possession and position, Christians held a 3-0 lead thanks to ace-marksman James Taylor, the man who edged them to victory last year at the same venue.
It was 9-8 back then, and Taylor made no mistake when presented with a penalty chance after 11 minutes after his winger JD O’Hea had made a couple of telling breaks to test out the Crescent defence. The penalty was conceded after a powerful scrum with Robert Loftus, Daniel O’Connor and Luke Masters getting the high-fives from their colleagues.
Back came Crescent to dominate for a spell when Joe Gannon and John Blake made powerful surges and centre Brian Fitzgerald did well going forward only to concede a penalty close to the line.
O’Hea continued to be a threat for Christians and it was his break that helped put his side back into a scoring position. After a line-out won by Anthony Ryan, Sean Duffy powered in for an unconverted try to establish an 8-0 lead.
Christians built on that lead and took the game to Crescent from the start of the second half. Four minutes in, they stole a Crescent defensive lineout and Colin Sisk gave flanker Finn Burke a bit of space. He went in under the posts and Taylor converted.
The out-half was equally as accurate four minutes later after Duffy had sent in Ryan for the third try out wide and at 22-0 this game was over.
Then, making sure there would be no reason for Crescent to dream, Taylor struck with a 50th-minute penalty before one decent response almost gave the Limerick side a consolation score, captain John Blake just being pushed into touch as he dived for the line.
Not finished, Christians came back strongly in the closing minutes and sub Scott Buckley powered his way over for the fourth try.
E Monahan, E Barrett, R Hedderman, J Harrington (captain), JD O’Hea, J Taylor, C Sisk, L Masters, D O’Connor, R Loftus, A Ryan, R Thompson, D McGinn, F Burke, S Duffy.
D Good, J Buckley, C Rasmussen, B Roche, S Buckley, J O’Riordan, P O’Keeffe, T Downes, M Bowen, M Morton.
T Duggan, M Shanahan, T O’Hora, B Fitzgerald, A Cosgrove, M Fenton, M Edwards, C Fitzgerald, E O’Halloran, T Connelly, C McDonagh, S Leahy, J Gannin, K Moloney, J Blake (captain).
T Duggan, R Gallery, J HJenchy, B Naughton, S Faloon, J Madden, J Hoffman, M Bateman, C Dinneen, P Mc Mullan.
K Barry (MAR).