Castletroy have no answer to impressive Pres backline

Munster Schools Senior Cup: Castletroy 15 PBC 22

Presentation Brothers Cork played rugby of the highest quality in the middle stages of yesterday’s SEAT Munster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final against Castletroy at Thomond Park before settling for a 22-15 victory.

Pres now meet Ardscoil Ris in the semi-final at Musgrave Park in the knowledge a group of injured players who missed much of the season are now nearing full fitness.

While pleased with much of what he had witnessed, coach Peter Scott went no further than to say “there were flashes of what we are capable of. The challenge for us was to get the ball to our backs and when we did that, we looked very good.”

The third of the four Pres tries by full-back Daragh Dennehy was of such a calibre as to rank with the finest ever scored in the competition while a couple of others also owed much to the speed and brilliant lines of running of a threequarter line that looked a serious force when in possession. The coach ing of backs coach, former Munster and Ireland wing Anthony Horgan, is obviously paying a rich dividend.

To be fair to the Castletroy forward pack, they were well entitled to wonder just how their side managed to fall 17-3 behind by half time. With Mark O’Mara, Ronan Murphy and David Rowsome to the fore, they camped in Pres territory and deserved to take a fifth minute lead — a penalty by Jamie Heuston.

Twenty minutes had elapsed before the Pres backs had a chance to show their paces and when they were allowed a little space, left winger Conor Duggan finished off a fine movement in the corner. Speedy and creative centre Shane Daly carved the Castletroy defence open after 32 minutes to set up a try for full-back Dennehy before the pick of the crop came on the half time whistle when Duggan, Dennehy and Billy Pope combined at pace to totally bewilder the Castletroy defence before Dennehy took the final scoring pass for a try between the posts converted by outstanding scrum-half and captain John Poland.

Within two minutes of the restart, the Pres pack let it be known that they weren’t prepared to take a back seat, as they pushed Castletroy back at a line-out for Poland to pounce for their fourth try. Unfortunately an ugly brawl involving most of the 30 players ensued afterwards with Castletroy hooker Mark O’Mara and Pres prop Sam Deane sent to the sin bin.

Surprisingly, Pres lost their momentum after this and spent much of the remainder of the game much on the back foot.

Scrum-half and captain John Poland was the second Pres player to see yellow for a professional foul as Castletroy piled on the pressure which they made pay with tries by flanker Niall O’Shea and O’Mara, one converted by Heuston.

PBC: D Dennehy; W Pope, S Daly, R Reidy, C Duggan; P Sylvester, J Poland capt; J Ring, E McCarthy, S Deane, C O’Flynn, B O’Mahony, K O’Leary, G Smith, J O’Sullivan. Replacements: D O’Sullivan for Dennehy, P Crowley for O’Mahony, D McDonagh for Deane.

CASTLETROY: T Ryan; C Carroll, D Garry, R McDonnell, S McBrearty; J Heuston, S Atkinson; J Conway, M O’Mara, C Myers, M Finucane, S English, R Murphy capt, N O’Shea, D Rowsome.

Replacements: S Hogan for Ryan, S Fitzpatrick for Finucane, M Rowsome for McBrearty, D O’Neill for Fitzpatrick.

Referee – B O’Connell (IRFU).

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