Battling Bandon Grammar make history and now tackle favourites Presentation

Bandon Grammar School 17, St Munchin’s College 13: Bandon Grammar School created their own special piece of history on a wet and windy afternoon at Bandon RFC yesterday when they advanced to the Clayton Hotels Munster Senior Schools Cup semi-final for the first time.

The prize for a thoroughly deserved victory over St Munchin’s College was a place in the last four against tournament favourites Presentation Brothers College, but Bandon will take heart from the outstanding achievement of Ard Scoil Rís who dumped holders CBC out of the competition.

They can dare to dream and, on the basis of this win over more lauded opponents and a fine victory in round one over Castletroy College, they could well give the favourites a run for their money.

For now, coach Denis Collins is delighted with the school’s progress: “We will have to look back on certain aspects of the match and there are things to improve upon for sure, but this was a great day for Bandon and indeed for west Cork rugby.

“Not so long ago, about eight years or so ago, we were barely a B school but now we have proved ourselves able to hold our own up in the A grade and that can only be good for rugby in the province. It’s good to come through this and it was a tough game but we’ve got some really experienced players in the group now, guys who have played for Munster, and that experience probably shone through today.”

Bandon enjoyed most of the play in the opening half although they did concede the first score of the game, a penalty from St Munchin’s out-half Jason Kiely after 17 minutes.

But the west Cork school came roaring back and within two minutes they had taken the lead with an opening try credited to prop forward James French who powered his way over at the posts to give Sean Hudson a simple conversion attempt.

Bandon built on that and the impressive Hudson was sent in for the second try by out-half Evan Palmer after 31 minutes. He added the conversion and then kicked an excellent injury-time penalty to leave the half-time score 17-3.

With the wind at their backs, St Munchin’s got back on the scoreboard quickly when Jason Kiely kicked his second penalty but they found it near impossible to unlock a resolute Bandon defence despite enjoying much of the territorial advantage.

Bandon did enough to frustrate them and still managed to launch a couple of offensives that allowed them at least wind the clock down. St Munchin’s launched a fierce offensive late on but were frustrated by being held up twice on the line before captain Kaelon McMahon went over for a hard-earned try Kiely converted. That, however, came too late with referee George Finn calling time before play could restart.

BANDON GRAMMAR:

S Hudson; V Lovell, B Gur, E Greene, J Donnelly; E Palmer, J Crowley; J French, T Coomey, A Deane; C Scully, J Bradfield; N Beamish, C Deane (captain), R Stokes.

Replacements:

M Archer, A O’Connor, D Ogden, J Brady, P Jackson, B Hayes, S Minihane, H Hall, B Hodgins, T Beare.

ST MUNCHIN’S:

L Costello; R Clancy, G Quilligan, E Carr, S Murphy; J Kiely, E Maher; M O’Driscoll, D Radcliffe, G McCoy; P Kelly, K McMahon (captain); M Crowe, J Murphy, S Kelly.

Replacements:

E Sheehan-O’Donnell, K Mullane, K Hyland, J Forde, R O’Dwyer, J Larkin, R Clancy, J Pendijito, J Curry, T Harrington.

Referee:

G Finn (M.A.R)

Semi-final draw:

PBC Cork v Bandon Grammar School; Ard Scoil Ris v Glenstal Abbey. March 1 and 2, venues and times to be fixed.

Referee:

G. Finn.



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