Rockwell 22 Glenstal 3: Rockwell cruised into their fifth SEAT Munster Schools’ Senior Cup final in six years at Thomond Park yesterday.
Rockwell were the superior side by far and they will be favoured to capture the trophy for the 26th time when they meet Ardscoil Rís in the final at Thomond Park on St Patrick’s Day.
Rockwell has produced many outstanding out-halves. Mick English from former times and JJ Hanrahan of the modern era are just two examples and now they have another of that calibre in Bill Johnston. The Clonmel youngster is a member of the Ireland schools squad and possesses a fine all-round game that has been central to Rockwell’s march to the final.
Johnston was assisted yesterday by the eventual dominance of powerful pack in which Mike Casey and captain Sean O’Connor stood out. Scrum-half Daryl capitalised on a fluent service to put Johnston and the speedy Rockwell threequarters on the front foot and eventually they proved too much for a visibly tiring Glenstal side.
Two penalties by Johnston against one by Jack Stafford pushed Rockwell 6-3 ahead at half time. Crucially, concussion prevented Stafford from resuming after the break and Glenstal were never the same again without his guiding influence.
Centre Lee Molloy finished off a fine attack with Rockwell’s first try four minutes after the resumption, Johnston knocked over two penalties and the scoring was wrapped up by a stoppage time try by flanker Bryan McLaughlin.
Rockwell’s proud tradition will now see them installed as favourites for the final against an Ardscoil side chasing their first title but head coach Mark Butler refused to see things in that light.
“We have contested six of the last finals and won only two,” he pointed out. “Ardcoil had a fabulous win over Pres in Cork and that’s never an easy thing to do. We knew Glenstal were a quality side and they were probably unlucky to be behind at half time. We were the stronger side the longer the game went on and Bill Johnston was a powerful influence at out-half. He’s a fine footballer who works unbelievably hard and definitely has a bright future.”
ROCKWELL: T McHale; S Lanigan-Ryan, L Molloy, C Cashman, K Moynihan; B Johnston, B Egan; J Kendrick, B Murray, J Tierney, S O’Connor capt, M Wilson, T Anglim, B McLaughlin, M Casey.
Replacements: D Barron, C Beary, N Campion, J Binchy, J Power, J Pickering, D Gallagher, J Stone.
GLENSTAL: C Hogan; G Daly, J McAleese, T Costigan capt, S O’Sullivan; J Stafford, R Johnston; I Molloy, M Ryan, J Hartnett, A Donohoe, B Clancy, N Mulvihill, J Murphy, G O’Hara.
Replacements: J Williams, D Quane, P Molony, R Clarke, W McGann, D Kenny, M Boland, B Fleming.
Referee: Kieran Barry (IRFU).
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