Ard Scoil Ris 8 Christian Brothers College 7
Ard Scoil Ris got sweet revenge in Thomond Park on Thursday by beating defending champions Christian Brothers College in a repeat of last year s final line up. This year, the tables were reversed and it was the turn of Ard Scoil Ris to reclaim the title they won in 2002-3, ending CBC s hopes of a Munster Schools Cup double.
From the outset, it was clear there was more than one battle going on in Thomond Park. On the pitch, the two teams fought bravely for dominance, while in the stand, supporters from both sides battled to dominate the chanting and singing. On both counts, it was close throughout the game. At the final whistle, it was Ard Scoil Ris who took the honours, much to the pride of their supporters.
Coming into the match, CBC had had a more difficult path to the final. They played Crescent College Comprehensive in the semi final, which had to be replayed after their first encounter ended in a draw. In the second meeting, CBC edged ahead and held onto an 8-5 victory. For Ard Scoil Ris, the journey was more straight forward. Their 13-3 victory over Presentation Brothers College in the semi final signalled their intent, and struck a note of confidence in the side.
The first half was scrappy, with both sides taking some time to settle. CBC certainly created more scoring chances, but were unable to get points on the board. In the opening minutes, they missed an attempt at goal when out half Brian Fleming s attempt went left of the posts. Outstanding throughout the game for CBC was No. 8 Brian O Callaghan, who was involved in every aspect of the play. CBC s back line looked creative early on, with some excellent runs by centre Stephen Creagh and winger Tom Vaughan. After 15 minutes, Ard Scoil Ris put the first points of the game on the board, with a fantastic effort from captain and No. 8 Barry Sheehan. The try came from a scrum on the CBC 5 metre line, after Sheehan picked from the back and battled to the line, despite close attention from the CBC defence. He touched down in the corner, setting up a difficult conversion attempt for Dave Lynch. The conversion was missed, but Ard Scoil Ris were buoyed by the score. For the reminder of the first half, CBC held much of the possession, and although they were awarded numerous line outs, the Ard Scoil Ris pack continually disrupted their possession. When the ball did go out the line, CBC looked dangerous in attack, with scrum half Billy O Regan and captain Patrick Parfrey particularly impressing. Ard Scoil Ris were swift to swallow up any challengers.
After the restart, Ard Scoil Ris picked up the pace and kept play inside CBC s half. Full back Craig McNamara came close to scoring 7 minutes into the half after some excellent back play, but a terrific tackle by CBC winger Tom Vaughan halted his progress. Shortly after, Ard Scoil Ris stretched their lead when Dave Lynch kicked a penalty. Ard Scoil Ris hooker Paul Clayton came into his own in the second half and quite possibly put on the best display of the day. He was tireless at the breakdown and scrapped for possession at every opportunity. As time counted down, the match reached fever pitch, with CBC needing at least two scores to take the lead. For the last 15 minutes of the game, CBC launched an all out attack, never giving up and always pushing for the scores. With seconds to go, the score eventually came. Brian O Callaghan went over for a try, with Brian Fleming converting in the dying seconds of the match. It was a fantastic effort but not enough to win the game.
The hunger of Ard Scoil Ris was apparent throughout, though credit to Christian Brothers College who always looked to score and put on a brave performance.
For those who missed the game, you can see the match with full commentary on Chorus Sportschannel next week.
CHORUS SCHEDULE MUNSTER SCHOOLS JUNIOR CUP FINAL Tuesday: 15th March at 8.30pm and 10.30pm. Wednesday, 16th March at 7.30pm and 9.30pm. Thursday, 17th March at 6.30pm.
FIXTURE: Avonmore Milk Munster Schools Senior Cup Final: Christian Brothers College v Presentation Brothers College, Musgrave Park, St. Patrick s Day, 3pm.
Ard Scoil Ris Team: 15. Craig McNamara, 14. Paul Gleeson, 13. Adam Hennigar, 12. Cian O Brien, 11. Tommy O Sullivan, 10. Dave Lynch, 9. Colm Moore, 1. Liam Hayes, 2. Paul Clayton, 3. Darragh Cantillon, 4. Finbar Manning, 5. Cole Hyland, 6. Ger Moore, 7. Johnny Deegan, 8. Barry Sheehan (captain) Substitutions: Barry Hennessy for Liam Hayes, Michael Carroll for Cole Hyland
Christian Brothers College Team: 15. Willie Ryan, 14. Tom Vaughan, 13. Stephen Creagh, 12. Patrick Parfrey (captain), 11. Conor O Reilly, 10. Brian Fleming, 9. Billy O Regan, 1. Alec Joyce, 2. Damien Attridge, 3. Jack Bransfield, 4. James Mulcahy, 5. Johnathon Finn, 6. Johnny Crowley, 7. Darren Loftus, 8. Brian O Callaghan. Substitutions: Gary Houston for Johnny Crowley, Ger Finneran for Damien Attridge