Glenstal finally have their day after 79-year wait

Well-deserved breakthrough for Co Limerick school after outstanding second-half display

Glenstal Abbey’s Ben Healy, Ronan Quinn and Andrew Walsh celebrate after winning the Munster Schools Senior Cup final at Musgrave Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Glenstal Abbey’s Ben Healy, Ronan Quinn and Andrew Walsh celebrate after winning the Munster Schools Senior Cup final at Musgrave Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

 

Glenstal Abbey 18 CBC 17

Glenstal Abbey’s 79-year wait for a first Munster Schools Senior Cup ended amid memorable scenes at Musgrave Park on Sunday.

The Co Limerick school richly deserved their historic breakthrough with an outstanding second-half display against the biting cold wind, having turned around level at 3-3.

Scoring chances were few in the opening period, with Christians centre Eoghan Barrett setting up the first points from a Robert Hedderman penalty after 27 minutres.

Glenstal drew level a couple of minutes from the interval, when out-half Ben Healy found the range from 30 metres, but it was still advantage Christians on the resumption as they searched for a record 30th title.

However, they lost influential tight-head prop Luke Masters, who had to be carried off on a stretcher after suffering a serious-looking ankle injury within minutes of the resumption.

Opened up

While defences dominated the opening half, the game opened up considerably in the second, with the Glen creating the greater opportunities.

A super run from wing Andrew Hogan produced Healy’s second penalty for 6-3 after 42 minutes, and their hopes soared with the opening try from centre Caolan Dooley eight minutes later following number eight Mark Fleming’s storming run.

Christians hit back immediately with a try from replacement prop Robert Loftus in the left corner which Hedderman converted brilliantly from the touchline to reduce the lead to the minimum, 11-10.

Glenstal, though, continued to press with ball in hand, most notably through wing Ronan Quinn, whose darting run led to the clinching second try, scored by prop Patrick Prendergast, on the hour. Critically, Healy converted for 18-10.

It hardly mattered Christians grabbed their own second try from wing Matthew Bowen, converted by Hedderman, in the closing act, five minutes into injury-time. This was Glenstal’s day.

GLENSTAL ABBEY: A Egan; A Hogan, H Benner, C Dooley, R Quinn; B Healy (capt), A Walsh; H Boland, G Downing, P Prendergast; D Kelly, J Fitzgerald; R Leahy, M Fleming, C Booth.

Subs: R Hanley for Hogan injured, 58 mins, M Walsh for Fitzgerald and B Leonard for Walsh, 63 mins, S McKeown for Benner, 67 mins

CBC: R Hedderman; M Bowen, E Barrett, T Downes, A O’Connor; E Monahan, J O’Riordan; M Donnelly, D O’Connor, L Masters; A Ryan, C Hurley; J Willis, B Roche (capt), R Barry.

Subs: R Loftus for Masters, injured, and S Buckley for Willis, 38 mins, L Kahn for O’Riordan, 49 mins, D Good for O’Connor and C Whooley for Kahn, 67 mins

Referee: S Kierans (Munster)

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