7 Dec, 18:36
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In a pulsating final that was in the balance right up to the final whistle, Rockwell ended a ten year break before winning their 24th title against holders P.B.C.
This was a repeat of last season’s decider but there was no denying the Tipperary College their hour of glory as they dominated the game for long periods but came very close to losing it in the final minutes as Pres’ threw everything at them.
Trailing by six points with five minutes remaining The defending champions threw caution to the wind as they went in search of a match winning try but despite having to play with fourteen players after Rockwell winger Shaun Horgan was penalised for a deliberate knock on, the Cashel side hung on for victory’ and were much relieved when with the last play of the game Pres’ get over the line only to be held up and referee Peter Fitzgibbon blew the full time whistle to the joy of the Rockwell supporters.
Rockwell playing with the advantage of the wind that blew down the pitch towards the Sunday’s Well end of the ground totally controlled the opening half.
Shaun Horgan and Killian Kiely were finding gaps in the Pres defence with some strong runs. Out half Conor Holland was controlling the game with some shrewd running and delicate kicks at the holders were pinned back in their own Twenty Two for long periods.
Rockwell’s pack superbly marshelled by number 8 Luke Cahill, totally dominated the forward exchanges and he was well supported by Richard Moran and Neville Flynn, while man of the match scrum half Brian Haugh was always in the thick of the action.
Pres’ kept themselves in the game with excellent tackling and a break by out half Eamon Mills which sent Ross Caplice clean through the Rockwell defence saw play being called back for a forward pass.
Rockwell’s pressure eventually produced two penalty chances on 23 and 32 minutes and Brian Haugh converted both to put the Tipperary side 6-0 ahead at the interval.
Playing second fiddle to the Rockwell pack Pres’ tried to spread the ball wide at every opportunity on the change over and a great move involving Steve Dinan, Seamus Glynn and Chris Banon saw the Pres scrum half knock on.
On fifty four minutes Dinan reduced the arrears with a penalty and nine minute later Rory Scannell saw his long range penalty effort fall short of the target.
Rockwell soaked up all the pressure and in one raid down field Haugh made it 9-3 with his third long range penalty kick with five minutes remaining.
Pres’ now knew that they needed a try to secure victory and despite their best attempts the Tipperary side were worthy winners.
Scorers P.B.C.: Steve Dinan pen.
Rockwell: Brian Haugh 3 pens.
P.B.C.: Seamus Glynn; Steve Dinan, Rory Scannell, Ross Caplice, James Kiernan; Eamonn Mills, Chris Banon; Brian Scott, Will Foley, Killian Kingston; Paul Derham, John Fitzgerald; Adam Hudson, Jack Duffy, Ryan Murphy (capt).
Replacements: Denis Keohane, David Horgan, Aiden Slattery, Barry Fitzgerald, Ian Silke, David Evans, Ian O’Donoghue.
Rockwell: Donagh McGillycuddy; Shaun Horgan, Harry McNulty, Killian Kiely, Rob Jermyn; Conor Holland, Brian Haugh; Cian O’Donnell (capt), Darragh Mulcahy, MJ Murphy; Neville Flynn, Aidan O’Sullivan; Richard Moran, Sonny Dwyer, Luke Cahill.
Replacements: Aaron Sweeny, Eddie Phelan, David Kennedy, Cathal Ryan, Luke McGrane, Alex Lynch, David Johnston.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (M.A.R.)