23 May, 16:14
A Munster Under 17 combined selection of players from the Regional Development Squad and Munster 'B' Schools recently attended a 11 a-side blitz at Cork Institute of Technology grounds.
Christians looked to be cruising with a 17-0 interval lead and after Cian Clifford opened Crescent’s account with a penalty after two minutes of the second half, disaster struck for the Cork side when their inspirational out half Michael O’Halloran had to leave the field injured after an impressive opening thirty minutes when he controlled the game.
The holder’s cause was not helped three minutes later when their scrum half Robert McGuire was shown a yellow card and Clifford converted the resulting penalty. Christians brought in reserve scrum half Richard Cassidy for winger Alex O’Brien and in hindsight one wonders if this was the correct decision.
Christians started the game in whirlwind fashion taking play up to the Crescent line and after several drives by the pack; O’Halloran found a gap to score and converted for a 7-0 lead after just a minute.
The Sydney Hill College were in full flow and after great drives by skipper Eoghan Cahill and Daire Feeney at the Crescent line, McGuire got in for a second try but O’Halloran’s conversion attempt hit the upright and went wide.
Christians continued to dominate with James Humphries, Conor Leahy and Darragh McGinn prominent in the forward exchanges and Oisin Conway was always dangerous with ball in hand.
It was no surprise when Christians scored a third try six minutes before half time when Cahill sent Alex O’Brien in at the corner.
Crescent were never seen as an attacking force in the opening half and two early penalties after the break settled them down. With Christians down a man Crescent began to swing the ball around and Conor Slattery got in for a try which Clifford converted to leave four points between them.
Once back to fifteen Christians raised their game and had Crescent on the back foot. Replacement out half James Taylor was off target with a penalty effort, Conway was bundled into touch at the corner flag when he looked like scoring but Taylor made amends for his previous miss when he coolly slotted over a drop goal effort for a 20-13 lead with seven minutes remaining.
The pressure was now on Crescent as they knew they had to score twice to win, for should the game finish level Christians would advance to the final on either the number of tries or first try rule.
Back came Crescent and four minutes from time prop Sean Scanlon Garry barged over in the corner and Clifford expertly converted from the side line to tie up the scores 20-20.
With several minutes injury time to be played back came the Limerick side and Christians were penalised just to the right of the posts and Clifford converted.
The Cork side did have a few minutes to try and save the game and despite reaching the Crescent 22 they failed to find a gap in the Crescent defence who defended heroically until the final whistle sounded.
C.B.C.: Shane Murphy; Ben O’Callaghan, Alex McHenry, Oisin Conway, Alex O'Brien; Michael O'Halloran, Robert McGuire; Gary Maloney, James Humphries, Conor Leahy; Declan Barry, Daire Feeney; Robert Hyde, Eoghan Cahill (Capt), Darragh McGinn. Replacements: Evan Barrett, Fergus Hennessy, Dara O'Donovan, Cameron Penney, Richard Cassidy, James Taylor, Killian O’Sullivan, Tom McKenzie
Crescent College Comprehensive: Glen Dickinson; Conor McSweeney, Billy O’Hora, Calvin Nash (capt), Jordan Young O’Connor; Cian Clifford, Jack Lyons; Anson Thai, Jason Barry, Sean Scanlon Garry; Brian Considine, John Blake; Conor Slattery, Peter Hickey, Niall Mulcahy. Replacements: Brian Ryan, Sean Downes, Ed Barry, Luke O’Connell, Joe Barry, Andrew Reeves, Killian Murphy, Bailey Faloon.
Referee: Shane Kierans (MAR).