Christian Brothers College 34 Crescent College Comprehensive 14
Christian Brothers College are through to their fifth Clayton Hotels Munster Junior Schools final in six years as they deservedly defeated Crescent College Comprehensive 34-14 in the semi-final at Musgrave Park on Wednesday afternoon.
A superb performance from Matthew O’Callaghan ensured it was CBC who progress to the showpiece occasion where they will face St Munchin’s College, who beat Ardscoil Ris in the other semi-final.
Cresent were dealt a huge blow after just six minutes as Jack Somers was sent to the sin bin for impeding Matthew O’Callaghan as he looked to score.
Christians made the man advantage count almost immediately as they notched the opening try of the game through David Novak, who powered his way across the line following a line out.
“We are delighted with the result,” winning manager Russell Foley told the Irish Examiner shortly after full-time.
“We got off to a great start just like we did in the last game but in fairness to Crescent they came back maybe that’s the thing we will take from the match, not the overall score but when they did come back we turned around and got a couple of good scores.
“We put that bit of daylight between the two teams and in the end we could relax a bit with around five minutes to go.
“The game was in the melting pot after about 40 minutes but my players showed great character like they have done all year and hopefully it will hold us in good stead for the final.”
CBC’s last triumph in this competition came back in 2017 when they narrowly defeated the same opponents 21-19.
They took another huge step towards reaching the final again moments later as Adam Wrona grabbed a try and out-half Ben Lynch was able to kick the conversion on this occasion.
The Cork school continued to dominate proceedings and they deservedly gained a commanding 17-0 in this match after 19 minutes when Matthew O’Callaghan dived close to the corner after good work from Dan Lucey.
But Crescent, whose last win in this tournament was back in 2016 when they edged past CBC, gave themselves hope before the interval as Lee O’Grady’s clever footwork allowed him to score a try before Ciaran Campbell added the extras, 17-7 at half time.
The comeback looked on when the Limerick team notched another try through Anthony O’Connor with Campbell again splitting the uprights, 17-14.
But Christians were too strong and tries in the final quarter from Matthew O’Callaghan (his second of the game), substitute Johnny O’Shea and Billy Kingston ensure they progressed to the finale in style where St Munchin’s now await them.
“We played them recently and absolutely everything went right for us and probably nothing went right for Munchins,” added Foley.
“They have had three games now to get over that and they seem to be well over it so it will be a very difficult challenge up in Limerick against a Munchin’s side that don’t give in too easy, if ever.
“It will be a very difficult battle and our job now is to get our fellas grounded as much as we have to but we are hopeful.”
Scorers for Christian Brothers College: Tries: M O’Callaghan (2), B Kingston, A Wrona, D Novak and J O’Shea. Cons: B Lynch (2).
Scorers for Crescent College Comprehensive: Tries: L O’Grady and A O’Connor. Cons: C Campbell (2).
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS COLLEGE: B Kingston, D Lucey, M O’Callaghan, E Cahill Murphy, B O’Riordan, B Lynch, J Casey, S Loftus, A Wrona, H Foster, D Novak, K Novak, G Hyde, O Prenter, J Coleman.
Replacements: S O’Shaughnessy, A O’Leary, A Logan, D Woods, J O’Shea, C Barry, C Foley, S Moloney, L McGinn, C Kilbride.
CRESCENT COLLEGE COMPREHENSIVE: R Godfrey, H Ezomo, L Ryan, A O’Connor, B Nash, C Campbell, J McEnry, F Casserley, L O’Grady, M Fitzgerald, J Somers, C Benson, C Cleary, A Aherne, C Kelly.
Replacements: A Condon, M Duggan, M Beletski, D Murphy, J Power, M Molloy, J O’Dwyer.
Referee: Shane Kierans.