Christians looked to be coasting to a relatively comfortable victory over their arch rivals Presâ00 but in the end they had to endure a couple of extremely nervy moments. A try right on the seventy minute mark by the impressive PBC hooker David Vaughan gave his side a life-line going into injury time.
It looked as if the Mardyke were going to snatch an unlikely victory through winger Patrick Oâ00Connell not just once, but twice. Oâ00Connell created the opening with a moment of magic as he cut open the Christians defence with a run from half-way but opposing winger Eoin Oâ00Donnell proved to be the saviour for the Sydney Hill school as he made up plenty of ground before hauling down Oâ00Connell just metres short of the line.
Presâ00 managed to recycle the ball and once again it looked as if Oâ00Connell was set to touch down as he was waiting to receive the ball in the corner with no shirt in red covering but he was unable to hold onto Kevin Kidneyâ00s lightning pass and knocked the ball on. Christianâ00s held out for another couple of nervy moments inside their own Twenty-Two before Darragh McCormackâ00s final whistle, which was met with cheers of relief more than anything from CBC supporters and players alike.
The opening half of the game didnâ00t show many signs of the drama that was to eventually unfold. Christians looked to keep things tight playing into a strong wind with scrum-half Brian Slater marshalling his players very well. Captain Brian Hayes had a superb game with himself and Simon Hanbridge securing plenty of line-out ball while Will Ryan and Damian Attridge were also putting themselves about.
Their forward drives had mixed success, often making good ground with some excellent rolling mauls but equally Presâ00 strong defence knocked them back on numerous occasions. Presâ00 looked to mix their game up a bit more with David Vaughan and Johnny McCarthy making some strong runs. Out-half Kevin Kidney narrowly missed a couple of difficult penalties early on to put his side in front.
As the half wore on, Christians began to gain more authority and finally made the breakthrough with Dunne spotting the slightest of gaps; after consistent pressure was applied by his front eight right on the stroke of half-time. Dunne added the conversion and was in the thick of the action again within minutes of the re-start.
He ran a great line to open up the Presâ00 defence and finished off his run with an audacious chip over Jack Costigan which Dunne managed to gather and touch down. Joe Holland added the extra two points to put his side into a commanding fourteen point lead.
Presâ00 were never going to accept defeat and with thirty minutes of the match remaining they knew they still had a chance to turn things around. Cian Bohane almost produced the perfect response as he hacked the ball past the CBC defence but was unable to gather the ball just short of the line.
This break did give his side excellent field position and they took full advantage. After being awarded a penalty under the posts, the team from the Mardyke elected to go for the scrum with David Oâ00Mahony combining with Jack Costigan, who by now had moved to scrum-half and he stretched over the line for a try.
Presâ00 continued to exert pressure as the match burst into life with Bohane and Olan Dennehy making some great breaks but they had to wait until the thirtyâ00fifth minute of the half before reducing the arrears further through a well taken try by David Vaughan who crashed over on the right wing.
This produced an enthralling finale with supporters of both sides having their hearts beating fast as it looked like Oâ00Connell was in for a try on two occasions but CBC just managed to hold out and set up the final showdown with Rockwell.
Scorers for C.B.C.: D Dunne 2 tries, con, J Holland con.
P.B.C.: J Costigan, D Vaughan tries.
C.B.C.: R Clune; E Oâ00Donnell, B Oâ00Leary, J Holland, G Mackesy; D Dunne, B Slater; C Corkery, K Stokes, D Attridge; B Hayes, S Hanbridge; E Doyle, R Barry, W Ryan. Replacements: Y Brown for Barry. R Martin for Attridge and C Quinn for Mackesy all 66, M Oâ00Mahony for Corkery 70 + 3
P.B.C.: J Costigan; P Oâ00Connell, C Bohane, J McCarthy, W Murphy; K Kidney, R Barry; N Scannell (c), B Vaughan, I Mullarkey; J O'Sullivan, D Oâ00Mahony; R Oâ00Herlihy, J Duffy, B Carroll.
Replacements: C Oâ00Flaherty for Carroll HT, S Ã0g Murphy for R Barry 42, O Dennehy for Bohane 60.
Referee: D McCormack (M.A.R.)