CBC Cork 15 - PBC Cork 15: Two high-quality sides produced a very entertaining derby at Musgrave Park yesterday.
And arch rivals Christians and Presentation Brothers will have to replay for the right to meet holders Crescent College Comprehensive in the Clayton Hotels Munster Junior Cup decider.
A date for that rematch has to be decided, and it means there will be no finals double-header as was planned for Thomond Park on St Patrick’s Day.
A draw was a fair result after a ding-dong struggle in which outsiders Pres surprised their rivals with the intensity of the challenge even if, in the end, they had to come from behind to force the second date.
Having won the toss and decided to play against the wind, Pres found themselves pushed back early on. The first chance fell to Christians, although George Coomber’s long-range penalty on four minutes fell short.
However, it led to a period of Christians pressure that ended when they elected to kick for touch and mauled Pres over the line to secure the crucial opening try of the game from flanker Ronan O’Sullivan.
Pres had a chance to cut the deficit when Darragh French lined up for a penalty from long distance. The full-back made a good fist of it but saw his well-struck kick bounce back off the crossbar.
The excitement continued from there. Pres won a couple of more penalties in territory, and from the second they launched an offensive off a lineout win from Jack Kelleher.
Alex Condellan made the initial charge and the ball was spun out wide quickly. Big centre Michael Hand surged forward, bounced off one tackle and then stretched out to score a 17th-minute try, which Alex Walsh converted.
Four minutes later, Coomber had CBC back in front after a simple enough penalty goal and it was still all to play for.
On the stroke of half-time, Pres winger Conor Morey got a second try to bring his side into the break with a 12-8 lead. He took possession out wide from a standing position and then took off with immense speed to score in the corner after an attempt to move in closer to the posts was cut off.
Pres stormed into the second half fray with a determination to stay in control of territory. They came close to scoring in the opening minutes but found Christians resolute in defence.
A series of Pres attacks were frustrated and Christians, true to form, worked their way back into the contest to launch their own series of assaults in the last quarter. After building up a head of steam close to the Pres line, Robbie Kelleher finally got over for a try to give his side a one-point advantage in the 50th minute. Coomber knocked over the conversion.
It meant Pres needed more than a kick to win it. But the Mardyke outfit did come back to draw level with an excellently struck penalty from impressive out-half Walsh to ensure we’ll be treated to a reprise of a highly entertaining game.
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.
M O’Connor for J Moylan, B Kahn for MacFhlannchadha (both 40), P O’Hara for Buckley (55).
D French, C Morey, M Hand, D O’Sullivan, J Holden, A Walsh, J O’Leary, D McSweeney, B Kingston, C Morris, D O’Halloran, M Giltinan, J Kelleher, R Foley (captain), A Kendellan.
D Devlin for Morris (47, injured), J Forde for Giltinan (54).
R Horgan (M.A.R)
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