Christians were massive favourites, given that Ardscoil were hammered into submission in round one and only got to this quarter-final stage through the back-door system, and with the benefit of a bye to avoid having to play a second round.
In the absence of Ardscoil’s brilliant captain and goal kicker Craig Casey, sidelined through injury late in the game, winger Maurice Noonan stepped up to take a hugely difficult penalty from out wide and against the wind with the last roll of the dice.
He pitched it perfectly, right to left, his effort dipping over the crossbar to put his side through to the last four.
Christians won the toss and elected to play against the wind. They paid an early price for that when Ardscoil’s inspirational star Casey kicked the opening score with an 8th-minute penalty, although it could have been a seven-pointer, but for a wonder tackle on Glen Clancy.
CBC hit back, and came close to scoring when James Taylor sent Colin Sisk scampering towards the line, the scrum-half brought down as close to the whitewash as Clancy had been earlier.
Christians were growing into this game and, in terms of territory, were making a big impression. Yet the next scoring chance went to the visitors, and Casey made no mistake with a second kick in 31 minutes after he instigated another superb attacking movement that saw Michael Gorman stopped close to the line. Ardscoil Rís enjoyed a deserved 6-0 lead at the break.
Ardscoil survived an early onslaught in the second-half, with their lead still intact. Christians were making mistakes and lost playmaker James Taylor through injury into the bargain. But they kept battling and a superb driving maul that went all of 25 metres ended when CBC conceded a scrum and then a penalty. When the ball shot out of a scrum behind the Ardscoil back row, CBC sub Scott Buckley, who was only on the pitch in the 55th minute, reacted first and got in to ground the ball under the posts. Eoin Monahan converted, and Christians led 7-6.
Christians should have scored again but knocked on with the line at their mercy in 63 minutes but Ardscoil never gave up, and kept seeking holes from deep inside their own half. It was one of the great never-say-die performances that yielded a rich reward when Christians were penalised for foul play (an attempted trip) after the intervention of a touch-judge, and Noonan was to be the hero.
E Monahan, E Barrett, J Harrington (captain), P O’Keeffe, 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, C King, T Downes, E Doyle, M Morton.
C O’Rahilly, M Noonan, C Madden, G Clancy, M Gorman, D O’Gorman, C Casey (captain), A O’Callaghan, C Slater, F Lyons, D O’Grady, R Whelan, L Clohessy, I Brown, O Ring.
R Tucker, M Gaule, C O’Brien, J Taylor, B Noonan, C Cusack, S Hanily, L Mulcahy, H Fenton, C Murphy.
Referee. T O’Donoghue (M.A.R).