ICRU Division One Semi Final
Cork Institute of Technology 12 Athlone Institute of Technology 8
In torrential weather in Thurles on Wednesday, C.I.T. took to the field against an A.I.T. side which retained many of the players that won this competition last year. Despite a delayed kick off due to the late arrival of the Athlone team, CIT took the game to A.I.T. from the whistle, and were rewarded with a fine try from Paul Hurley (UCC) in the 5th minute. Cork continued to press for the entire first half, with Athlone only getting into the Cork half on rare occasions. However, with all Cork's pressure, the Athlone defence held tough and the score remained 5-0 at half time.
The opening period of the second half was a stop start affair. However, Cork stuck to their task, with the back row of Joe Donovan (Sundays Well), Tim Ryan (UCC) and Maurice Power (Highfield) playing some outstanding rugby. After twenty minutes Athlone spilled a ball in midfield which was again pounced on by the backrow. The ball was hacked in behind the Athlone fullback, Tim Ryan chased but was impeded by an Athlone player, causing some confusion amongst the sides with many players stopping play expecting disciplinary action by the referee. However, Jim McKessy (UCC), alert as ever, pounced on the loose ball to score the all important try under the posts. Colin Mahony (Highfield) converted to leave it 12-0. Athlone, mainly through outstanding centre Paddy O'Sullivan, upped the tempo of the game knowing that they need a quick score to give them any hope of a comeback. Cork hit everything that moved and held the Athlone forwards back for the next ten minutes. Just when they thought they had weathered the storm, Paddy O'Sullivan counter attacked from the centre of the field to score a tremendous try. With 5 minutes to go Athlone again attacked and were awarded a penalty on the twenty-two which they chose to kick, narrowing the margin to 12-8. Cork were beginning to panic, but held out in the last frantic five minutes to record a fine victory, putting them in their first final since 1985.
The P.J Hegarty Man of the match award went to captain TIM RYAN who as well as putting in a towering performance at No. 8, lead the Cork XV to their first Senior final in 20 years.
CIT now face Limerick Institute of Technology in an all Munster Division One final on Wednesday next, April 20th in Musgrave Park at 6.30pm.
CIT Squad. 15. Peter O'Brien (Cork Con), 14. John Coughlan (Sundays Well), 13. Andy Finn (Garryowen), 12. Mike Kingsbeer, 11. Paul Hurley (UCC), 10. Colin O'Mahony (Highfield), 9. Ruairi Geary (Cobh Pirates), 1.Darragh Hurley (UCC), 2. John Kerins (UCC), 3. Dave Ryan (Highfield), 4. James Frahill (Cobh Pirates), 5. Paul Farragher (Dolphin), 6. Joe Donovan (Sundays Well), 7. Maurice Power (Highfield), 8. Tim Ryan (UCC). Subs : 16. Willy McCarthy (Sundays Well), 17. Jim McKessy (UCC) - on for D Hurley 20min, 18. Tom Mee (Sundays Well), 19. Owen Crean (Sundays Well), 20. Olly McGlinchey (Cashel) - on for R. Geary 70 min, 21. Con O'Leary (Highfield), 22 Ed Mills (UCC).
Referee; Sean Lannigan Ryan (Thurles RFC and Munster Branch)
Report from Donal Duggan, PRO ICRU.