Bruff claim their first title in thriller over hot favourites
MUNSTER SENIOR CUP FINAL: Bruff 23 Garryowen 19:BRUFF MADE history when they won a thrilling Munster Senior Cup final at Thomond Park yesterday.
Making their first appearance in the final – they never managed to win the Junior Cup – Bruff had three Cahill brothers in their back line as the club denied hot favourites Garryowen a 38th win in the competition.
Bruff deserved their win but they had to battle furiously on their line for five minutes of stoppage time as Garryowen tried to snatch victory from the grasp of a Bruff side for whom all but two of the starting line-up came through their under-aged section.
In front 20-14 at the interval, Bruff crucially got the first score within two minutes of the resumption, a penalty by Brian Cahill, who contributed 13 of their points with three penalties and two conversions.
Bruff had Maurice O’Donnell sinbinned in the 68th minute, but Garryowen could not capitalise.
Garryowen had the opening score, a try by Cian O’Shea after five minutes. Cahill penalties in the eighth and 15th minutes had the underdogs in front. But a Declan Cusack penalty edged the favourites back in front.
Bruff scored their first try on 18 minutes. Having spurned the chance of a penalty shot at goal, they kicked to touch and eventually from a lineout they won possession and scrumhalf Eoghan Maher dummied a pass to former Garryowen captain Peter Malone, who dived in at the corner in a move direct from the training ground.From the touchline Cahill converted.
Bruff extended their lead when flanker Alan Bourke wriggled over after a couple of phases close in.
A penalty by Cusack and a drop goal with the last play of the first half by Conan Doyle left only six points between them at the end of a hugely entertaining first half.
Cahill’s penalty two minutes into the second half was a blow to Garryowen, who needed the first points.
Eight minutes from the end Conor Murray outwitted a couple of defenders to grab a Garryowen try, but Cusack missed the conversion and, in a nail-biting finish, Bruff held on for their famous win, having beaten Shannon and Cork Constitution in the previous rounds.
Cathal O’Regan, the captain, was outstanding in the Bruff pack which frequently drove Garryowen back, and Peter Malone, John Shine and Maurice O’Connell also played huge parts.
Maher, at scrumhalf, gave a performance which enabled outhalf Tony Cahill to give a man-of-the- match performance, while Eoin and Brian Cahill were also prominent.
Garryowen’s Paul Neville, Frank McKenna and Declan Lavery were best of a beaten forward unit, with Munster players Conor Murray and Declan Cusack being best behind.
SCORERS – Bruff:P Malone, A Bourke, try each; B Cahill 3 pens, 2 cons. Garryowen:C O’Shea, C Murray try each; D Cusack 3 pens.
BRUFF:Deady; A Cashman, B Cahill, E Cahill, (G Leonard 49), P O’Brien; T Cahill, E Maher; D Horan (G Collins 48), C O’Regan (M O’Donnell 64, O’Regan for Carroll 76), G Ryan (D Horan 60); A Laffan (M Carroll 55), M O’Connell; A Bourke, J Shine, P Malone.
GARRYOWEN:L Bourke (A Gaughan 45); C O’Shea, C Doyle, C Hircock, L Kuntz; D Cusack, C Murray; JP Cooney, R Meyer (J Rael 75), D Lavery; F McKenna (C Fitzgerald 51), A McCloskey; P Neville, C Hartigan (C Fitzgerald 51, C Hartigan for Fitzgerald 57), D Sherry (A Kavanagh 20).
Referee:D McCormack (MAR).