Buckley’s try seals 30th Munster Schools Senior Cup success for CBC
Captain’s crucial score after 13 minutes proves enough to defeat fierce rivals PBC
Christian Brothers College’s Mark O’Connor is tackled by John Forde of Presentation Brothers College during the Munster Schools Senior Cup final at Irish Independent Park in Cork. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Christians claimed a record 30th Munster Schools Senior Cup title by edging fierce rivals Pres in a tension-filled encounter in front of a crowd of just under 6,000 at Musgrave Park on St Patrick’s day.
They made amends for losing 12 months ago though the first final on the 3G surface will hardly go down as one of the most memorable, but there was no doubting Christians deserved their success.
Little did anyone realise that when Christians jumped in front after 13 minutes in their first attack of note that it would be the winning score.
It came when two Pres players jumped for a high ball and knocked-on, referee Richard Horgan playing an advantage which paid off with the game’s only try.
Billy Cain’s probing kick bounced kindly for wing Aaron Leahy, who was tackled short of the line, but Pres infringed with hooker Darragh Murphy sent to the sin-bin.
Christians opted for touch and duly made good use of their numerical advantage in the subsequent lineout, hooker and captain Scott Buckley driven over for an unconverted try.
Despite a man down, Pres hit back immediately with out-half and captain Louis Bruce kicking a penalty from the left to make it 5-3 after 17 minutes.
Amazingly, there would be no further scores as Christians dealt more than capably with anything Pres that could throw at them in that wind-assisted first period.
More good use of the boot by Pres centre Peter Cunningham put his side on the attack without any reward.
Eoin Quilter’s lineout ability helped steal a Christians lineout in the 22, but the defence stood defiant as Pres lost possession.
Then, a superb Killian Coughlan run out of defence offered Christians the opportunity only for Pres to compete fiercely at the breakdown and earn a relieving penalty.
Fullback Cain came to his side’s rescue in injury-time, when dealing with Bruce’s cross-kick for wing Michael Hand, who was beaten to the touch down by the fullback.
The second half was dominated by Christians, who, despite camping in their opponents’ territory with outhalf Cian Whooley impressing with the boot, couldn’t make the game safe.
Time and again magnificent Pres work at the breakdown earned penalties, but as for an attacking force, the Mardyke school never threatened, allowing Christians see out seven minutes injury time before savouring their historic victory.
CBC: B Cain; P O’Hara, K Coughlan, H O’Riordan, A Leahy; C Whooley, M O’Connor; C Rasmussen, S Buckley, M Donnelly; A Brien, J Willis; R O’Sullivan, C Walsh, C Hurley. Replacements: D McAuliffe for Hurley injured 50 mins, K Murphy for O’Connor 55 mins, A O’Brien for Walsh 57 mins, P O’Brien for Rasmussen 60 mins.
PBC: M McLoughlin; M Hand, S Squires, P Cunningham, D French; L Bruce, J O’Leary; R Duggan, D Murphy, D McSweeney; D McCarthy, E Quilter; J Kelleher, J Forde, A Kendellen. Replacements: D Hurley for French injured 21 mins, M Fitzgibbon for McCarthy 43 mins, J O’Shaughnessy for O’Leary 65 mins.
Referee: R Horgan (MAR).