CBC 21 Crescent CC 19: Ultimately, it came down to a kick of a ball in this exciting Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Junior Cup final at Musgrave Park yesterday.
Christian Brothers College full-back George Coomber held his nerve to grab victory at the death against the battling defending champions.
There will be two ways of looking at the outcome; you could argue a draw would have been the desired result such was the contribution made by two fine teams. Equally, the case could be made the Cork college fought back so defiantly they deserved their 18th crown.
One way or another, this was a cracking game, a throwback to the opening round tie between the same two sides that ended in a 15-15 first round draw.
There was little different yesterday, except that Christians won this 3-3 try-count game due to the fact they kicked all three conversions to Crescent’s two.
Winning coach Tommy Crowe admitted this had been a difficult journey: “I thought it was a great game between two very good sides. We had to wait until the last minute for this, but I have to say the guys kept their composure going into the last few minutes. A penalty wasn’t going to be enough, so they kept on going to get back into the game and into a position where they could win the game.”
Crescent won the toss and elected to play against the wind. In the early stages that appeared to be an inspired decision. Keeping the ball in hand, winger Dara O’Shea was productive and scrum-half and captain Jake Connolly downright dangerous. His fifth-minute break was a source of real worry to Christians.
Jack Delaney had an eight minute penalty chance, but the out-half sent a well-struck kick to the right and wide. But he quickly made amends, grabbed the opening try after 12 minutes through an intercept after a couple of bizarre incidents.
First, CBC out-half Cian Whooley over-cooked a penalty to concede a scrum way back up the pitch. Then Christians took a strike against the head only for their attack to break down. Delaney seized on a loose ball near halfway and made it to the line for a try he converted himself.
Inevitably, Christians responded and they did piece together some excellently constructed backline movements – only to be met with fierce resistance from a determined Crescent defence.
That defence did crumble in the 27th minute, Christians flanker Ronan O’Sullivan getting the credit for a score converted by Coomber. At 7-7, it was all to play for after an entertaining opening spell.
Christians went 14-7 up courtesy of a try from Finn MacFhlannchadha and the conversion from Coomber. The Limerick side hit back with tries from Dara O’Shea and substitute Ben Davey, the second converted by Delaney to leave it a five-point game, 19-14.
But Christians weren’t beaten and they stormed forward in the closing moments. Ronan O’Sullivan grabbed the equaliser and Coomber stepped up to kick the winning points. There was not enough left on the clock for Crescent to respond.
G Coomber, M Buckley, H O’Riordan (captain), L Daly, A Leahy, C Whooley, J Moylan, A O’Regan, S Rall, M Donnelly, R Kelleher, M McCarthy, F MacFhlannchadha, R O’Sullivan, C Lavin.
R Horgan, D Shanahan, B O’Donnell, P McBarron, B Kahn, A Cremin, J Moylan, J Ryan, R Shalloe, P O’Hara.
C Quilligan, G Kelly, T O’Sullivan, S Hurley, D O’Shea, J Delaney, J Connolly (captain), E O’Sullivan, J Skehan-Fitzgerald, J Cross, D Doyle, S Malone, B Scott, J McKeogh, D Rickard.
D Spillane, J Rickard, B O’Sullivan, A Herbert, O Evans, L Burke, B Davey, B Cosgrove, E Cantillon-Mann, D Hickey.
C Harrington (M.A.R).
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