ST. MUNCHINS COLLEGE 7-3 PRESENTATION BROTHERS COLLEGE
On a bitterly cold St. Patrick s Day in Thomond Park, St. Munchin s College captured their fifth Munster Schools Senior Cup title, defeating the defending champions Presentation Brothers College 7-3, and reclaimed the mantle of champions they last won in 2004.
It certainly wasn t pretty rugby with long passages of play dominated by the gritty work of both packs. PBC held possession for the majority of the game, with the very physical pack mounting wave after wave of attack. However, their inability to convert this possession into points was a testament to the impenetrable defence of St. Munchin s rather than any failing in their own play. PBC got the better start, pinning St. Munchin s back to well inside their 22 from the outset. Some excellent clearing kicks from St. Munchin s full back James O Dwyer relieved some of the pressure, but PBC continued to control much of the possession. PBC second row and jumper Richard MacCarthy provided an excellent platform from the line out, while centres Tim Kenneally and Brian Dennehy always looked dangerous with the ball in hand. PBC did create some early scoring chances, with a drop goal attempt by out half Scott Deasy after seven minutes deflected by St. Munchin s No. 8 Shane Hassett and full back Jeff Power unable to convert a penalty kick ten minutes into the game. St. Munchin s struggled to get their hands on the ball, but when they did they showed some terrific pace. After 13 minutes a perfectly timed pass from scrum half Paul Rowley to James O Neill showed the flanker s terrific turn of pace. His 20 yard break brought his side to the PBC 22 and gave a clear indication of what this St. Munchin s team were capable of. PBC however, reclaimed possession and were camped close to the St. Munchin s line for much of the first half, with play kept tight and forcing St. Munchin s to defend with tremendous determination. Despite the wealth of possession it was 28 minutes into the half before PBC got onto the score sheet and broke the deadlock, with Jeff Power successfully converting a penalty kick to give them a 3-0 lead at the break.
The game opened up somewhat in the second half, with both teams more willing to spread the ball and attack from the centre. Nine minutes into the second half, a deceptive side step from St. Munchin s out half Richard Mullane made space for centre Eamonn Broderick, whose break started from inside his own half. Showing devastating pace, Broderick s run brought him close to the PBC 22, with a well timed offload to his centre partner of Keith Earls giving him the opportunity to show some true class, finishing off the move with a try, leaving PBC defenders in his wake. Captain Ger Slattery converted to give St. Munchin s a 7-3 lead. PBC regrouped and kept play inside the St. Munchin s half. The Cork side threw everything at St. Munchin s as they sought to regain the lead, crossing the line four times after a tremendous performance by the PBC pack. Outstanding for PBC were hooker Andrew O Driscoll and No. 8 Robbie Allen. With four five metre scrums in the last fifteen minutes of the game, it looked as though PBC would eventually push through, but a gritty St. Munchin s refused to let them in, winning possession from the last scrum to relive the pressure. As the minutes counted down, PBC were getting further and further away from the St. Munchin s try line, and scoring chances becoming less and less likely. After a nail biting finale, St. Munchin s held onto their lead and claimed the title after a terrific performance. For St. Munchin s there were heroes all over the pitch- particularly in the pack, with some excellent work from captain Ger Slattery, and second rows Conor McNamara and Jonathon Griffin. Out wide Eamonn Broderick and Keith Earls kept a close eye on their opposite numbers, with full back James O Dwyer having a very solid performance.
Next up in the Schools Rugby calendar is the final of the Avonmore Milk Munster Schools Junior Cup, with St. Munchin s looking at a double if they can overcome Christian Brothers College. That final will take place in Cork on March 29th.
ST. MUNCHIN S COLLEGE:
15. James O Dwyer, 14. Jason Organ, 13. Keith Earls, 12. Eamonn Broderick, 11. Gareth O Hanlon, 10. Richard Mullane, 9. Paul Rowley, 1. David Hogan, 2. Gerard Slattery (Captain), 3. Tom Burke, 4. Conor McNamara, 5. Jonathon Griffin, 6. Liam Og Murphy, 7. James O Neill, 8. Shane Hassett.
Replacements: (not used)
16. Ronan Costello, 17. Barry McNamara, 18. Eoghan Cunnane, 19. Robert Meyer, 20. Conor Murray, 21. Anthony Barry, 22. Daniel Grace
John Broderick, Pat Cross, Kieran McNamara and Eugene O Connell
PRESENTATION BROTHERS COLLEGE:
15. Jeff Power, 14. Brian Derham, 13. Brian Dennehy (captain), 12. Tim Kenneally, 11. Keith Buckley, 10. Scott Deasy, 9. Shane Costigan, 1. Niall McCarthy, 2. Andrew O Driscoll, 3. Matthew Kearney, 4. Michael Kenefick, 5. Richard MacCarthy, 6. Niall Barry, 7. Rory Love, 8. Robbie Allen
Replacements: (not used) 16. Chris O Donovan, 17. Ronan Corkery, 18. Peter O Mahony, 19. Brian O Hara, 20. Philip Hogan, 21. Peter O Connell, 22. Theo Cullinane
Don Buckley, Peter Scott, Paul Barr, Marian Carey