A try 16 minutes injury time by skipper Jack O’Sullivan, converted by Sean French, gave Pres breathing space in a 12-3 victory but they had to fight for everything they got against a hugely competitive Bandon side.
It certainly was an interesting opening half, with Bandon storming into an early lead courtesy of a penalty goal after three minutes from Sean Hudson.
Yet, Pres enjoyed some position as well in that period and created a very good scoring opportunity after seven minutes, but prop forward Brian O’Connor was called back after referee Robert O’Sullivan adjudged there had been crossing. Penalty to Bandon and relief all around in the west Cork ranks.
It certainly wasn’t a day for either side to be given full opportunity to show their full range of skills and the line out was something of a lottery with both sides snatching possession on the opposite throw.
Both also missed late first half penalty goals by Hudson and Sean French, who tried his luck from long range and came up just short. Bandon, it should be said, were not flattered to lead at the break, that opening penalty by Hudson proving crucial.
But things didn’t go according to plan for Bandon in the opening minutes of the second half, with Hudson forced off to be replaced by Soren Minihane and Harry Hall having to replace another injury victim, Ethan Greene. For the second time in schools rugby at Musgrave Park this season, there was a long delay, this time over 14 minutes between the two incidents.
Pres scored the first try of the game as the game ran into the end of normal time, the score coming from a dink and chase/catch by Sean French.
But they had to survive a late penalty scare when Evan Palmer sent a Bandon effort wide and Pres made heavy weather out of making their way out of their own territory. For their fans, it was a traumatic conclusion to a remarkably close game.
PBC Cork 12 Bandon Grammar School 3
J Wren, P Buckley, S French, J Broderick, T Fitzgerald, P Sylvester, G Bradley, C Burke, B Scannell, B O’Connor, A McAuliffe, M McCarthy, C Fitzgerald, D Hyland, J O’Sullivan (captain).
Replacements: L Bruce for Bradley (65), E Burns for McAuliffe (75)
S Hudson, V Lovell, B Gur, E Greene, J Donnelly, E Palmer, J Crowley, J French, T Coomey, A Deane, C Scully, J Bradfield, B Hayes, C Deane (captain), R Stokes.
S Minihane for Hudson (46, injured), H Hall for E Greene (47, injured), N Beamish for Hayes (69), M Archer for Bradfield (72).
R O’Sullivan (M.A.R)