ST MUNCHIN’S emerged with the narrowest of winners from an exciting Avonmore Milk Munster Schools Senior Cup derby against Limerick rivals Crescent at Dooradoyle yesterday.
St Munchin’s, who had lost heavily to Rockwell in the previous round, are now through to a semi-final meeting at Musgrave Park next month against PBC through the back door system.
They clung on to a precarious single point advantage through a nerve wracking seven minutes of stoppage time and in that spell, Crescent out-half Shane O’Brien seemed to have saved the day for his side only to see his splendid drop goal attempt from 40 metres fall inches under the crossbar. The out-half was offered a similar opportunity a few moments later but this time the Munchin’s defence was equal to the occasion and charged the kick down.
St Munchin’s adopted a more practical strategy and even when seven points behind well into the second half, put in their tackles and covered the field spiritedly until availing of the scoring opportunities when they came their way.
Full-back Brian Mullins was outstanding in this respect and the Ryan triplets, Darren at scrum-half and Gavin and Evan in the second-row along with number eight and captain and Tom Goggin all contributed handsomely to what was a very sweet victory for the Corbally college.
St Munchin’s were first to score when Mullins was late tackled having cleared from his own 22 metre line, and then banged over the resultant penalty with a fine kick from 35 metres. But Crescent were quickly back on terms when O’Neill popped over the neatest of drop goals, before they deservedly took the lead with a smashing try on 25 minutes.
Centre Dara O’Doherty made a superb 50-metre break, and after he was finally brought to ground, Crescent recycled quickly to create the opportunity for full-back Tom Ryan to sprint home from 25 metres. O’Brien converted from close to the right-hand touch line.
Crescent duly turned over leading 10-3, and nothing that happened in the early stages of the second half suggested they would be overhauled. Skipper John Randles led the pack by example, and number eight Luke Malone also looked a class act.
However, they were unable to notch the score that would almost certainly have won the day, and Mullins struck his second penalty from 40 metres on 46 minutes to reduce the arrears to four points.
St Munchin’s withstood Crescent’s best efforts, and then snatched the match-winning try in the 62nd minute. Having turned possession over in a very likely scoring position a few moments earlier, they finally crashed over with hooker Eimhin Hogan emerging with the ball after a series of rucks and mauls on the Crescent line.
ST MUNCHIN’S: B Mullins; C Cunnane, L Kunz, E Carr, P Curtis; J Murray, Dara Ryan; S Gavin, E Hogan, J McGovern, Evan Ryan, Gavin Ryan, J Sherin, K McManus, T Goggin (capt).
Replacements: K McCarthy for Cunnane (42); C Tsang for J Sherin (48).
CRESCENT: T Ryan; B Murphy, D O’Doherty, S McNamara, B Walsh; S O’Brien, P Coffey; J Randles (capt), L Malone, N Darcy, P Monaghan, S Monaghan, C Russell, K O’Shea, E Cross.
Replacements: N Horan for Darcy (62); J Donovan for Russell (65); P Ryan for P Monaghan (70)
Referee: O Hodges (MAR)
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