PBC Cork 25 Castletroy 8: Two late tries helped power Presentation Brothers College Cork, the holders, into the quarter-finals of the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup when they overcame a strong challenge from Castletroy College.
Given the overall ability and finishing skills displayed by the Cork side, the result was rarely in doubt, but Castletroy certainly put it up to the champions, even if they eventually ran out of steam in the face of heavy pressure.
Still, Pres head coach Brian McMahon admitted that it wasn’t always easy in a game played in appalling conditions, with high winds, driving rain, sleet and snow falling at various stages.
“We pulled away from them in the end thankfully, it was a very tight game for a long time, the conditions were absolutely appalling, we tried to play rugby (expansive) as much as possible but the conditions were completely against it.
“The first half, we played well against the wind, we held onto the ball very well and probably frustrated them by not releasing the ball too often, but in the second half we struggled with the conditions; they were well organised, very tight, and we really couldn’t get any pace on the ball.
“You’re always worried when a team comes back as they did but I am very proud of the boys, with the way they held it together throughout the second half and moved on.”
Last year’s key man in the cup final victory over Glenstal Abbey was Sean French, and the centre once again played a big role in the victory with an early try and a second-half classic all of his own making.
“Yes, said McMahon, “he’s a very good player, very talented, he has all the skills and once he gets a yard of space he has the potential to score. In fairness, he didn’t get much opportunity but he took those that came and the guys inside him deserve a bit of credit for that too.”
Darragh Frawley, Castletroy’s forwards coach was disappointed but not downcast, saying: “Look, Pres are a very good team, we took a bit of time to come out of our shells in the first half and they grabbed scoring opportunities that forced us to play catch-up.
“We spoke at half-time and the lads took on board what we had said, we got an early try after the break to come back into it and overall I think we made a real good game of it but ultimately we were lacking that bit of execution while Pres were very clinical.”
Pres led 10-3 at the break thanks to some very industrious play against the wind. Their back play was superb and they kept the ball in hand cleverly to allow them maximise the use of whatever attacking space was on offer.
It was no surprise that they took the lead after nine minutes when James Broderick broke free, chipped ahead and gathered before racing away for an unconverted try. Alex Kendellan grabbed the second try and that really put it up to the Limerick outfit, whose only consolation from the 35-minute spell was a 26th-minute penalty from Sam Burns.
But they responded quickly and effectively with a tremendous try from Eoin Murphy to narrow the gap to just two points. Jonathan Wren, though, hit back with a try for a 15-8 lead and Pres wrapped it up in the 59th and 64th minutes with tries by French and Billy Scannell.
L Bruce; N Murphy, S French, J Wren, S O’Donovan; J Broderick, D Harrington; T Ormond, B Scannell, D McCarthy; D O’Callaghan, E Burns; A Kendellan, M Fitzgibbon, D Hyland.
D Murphy, A Keating, R Duggan, E Quilter, J Ford, J O’Shaughnessy, M McLoughlin, S Horgan.
S Madden; J Aylward, E Murphy, J Johnston, C Fitzgerald; S Burns, M O’Hanrahan; R Keaveney, K O’Shea, A Myers; G Burke, J Moloney; C Toland, C Bermingham, C White.
R Magill, A Naughton, D McGinn, J Reidy, G Moore, R Kiely.
C Harrington (MAR).
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