Crescent CC Limerick 17 CBC Cork 7: Three years of disappointment ended for patient Crescent College Comprehensive when they finally garnered a seventh Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Junior Cup title in yesterday’s final replay over battling Christian Brothers College, Cork, at Thomond Park.
CBC led at the break but Crescent hit back strongly with two tries to secure their first title since 2011, having lost in each of the last three years. This was Crescent’s sixth final appearance in seven years and fourth in succession.
Crescent dominated the second-half and got their just rewards but head coach Ger Slattery was unable to rest easily until his side secured a third try in injury-time.
“At half time, I was thinking ‘here we go again’ but the lads put in a savage effort, played some great rugby in the second -alf and eventually got in for the tries.”
Having trailed by two at the break, Crescent responded with an excellent 48th minute try from prop Ronan Gallery, who recovered from a leg injury that required him to wear a cast for a couple of weeks up to last Thursday.
Gallery applied the finishing touches to a score that was created by brilliant work from centre Jamin Hoffman. Skipper John Hurley converted.
Hurley made all the hard yards for the third try in injury time, breaking away and linking up with No.8 Jack Madden who sent Ben Carew in for a try to stretch the lead out to 10 points.
Christians coach Tommy Crowe was disappointed but gave due credit to Crescent. “We fought bravely but turned over the ball too much and it killed the possibility of getting up any momentum.”
Much like the first game, these two sides started out intent on playing positive running rugby. In the prevailing conditions – a wild, windy and showery afternoon - it was no surprise both out halves chose to run rather than kick.
As it transpired, Crescent looked the more dangerous and created brilliant openings through centre Hoffman, full-back Daniel Larkin and prop Conor Fitzgerald.
Crescent were rewarded when No.8 Madden touched down to put the final touches to a strong charge for the Christians line. The try went unconverted, Hurley just wide with a difficult attempt.
Christians fought back strongly. Unlucky not to grab a try after 21 minutes through winger Karl Hoffman, they eventually made the breakthrough. Powerful No.8 Conor O’Sullivan surged over and Billy Cain managed to add the conversion for a 7-5 lead they held to the break.
Crescent started the second half in flying form again, and went close after a superb attack started by Hurley. They forced a penalty but Hurley’s close-range effort rebounded from an upright.
Things were to get better for Crescent though, scoring those two excellent tries to seal the long-awaited victory.
D Larkin; B Carew, J Hoffman, J Delaney, T Duggan; J Hurley (captain), D Ahearne; C Fitzgerald, R Reynolds, R Gallery; C McDonagh, C O’Malley; O Evans, A Garland, J Madden.
C Dineen, E Feeney, J Hanley, B Murphy, T Allen, M Casserly, M McCrann, C Tuohy.
T Downes; M Soans, K Coghlan, F Conway, K Waterman; B Cain, J O’Riordan; H Fitzgerald, D Good, M Donnelly; A Brien, D McAuliffe; S Buckley (captain), C Walsh, C O’Sullivan.
A Coleman, S Kelly, N Hasson, C Barry, D O’Hara, H O’Riordan, W Fielding, D Rice.
T O’Donoghue (M.A.R)
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