Pres Cork top of the class in Munster
Glenstal denied a piece of history as Pres claim 29th Munster title
The Presentation Brothers College players celebrate at the end of the game. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
PBC 11 Glenstal Abbey 3
PBC defied horrendous conditions and heroic Glenstal Abbey tackling to claim a 29th Munster Schools Senior Cup and join their great Cork rivals, CBC, at the top of the roll-of-honour at Thomond Park yesterday.
Pres bossed the game throughout and spent almost the entire second-half in Glenstal territory, but a combination of dropped passes and spirited defence restricted them to just a late penalty for their efforts after the break.
Centre Sean French succeeded with the 25 metre kick from a central position after Glenstal infringed offside to put the tie beyond the Limerick school, who are still chasing that elusive first title.
The Cork school’s handling of the greasy ball was impressive, despite the wretched elements, and they capitalised on a solid set-piece as Glenstal struggled badly at lineout time in particular.
Conditions couldn’t have been more challenging for the players. Driving wind and rain, which swirled around the famous venue long before the start, had a predictable impact.
Pres’s early pressure was rewarded with the opening score after a quarter-of-an-hour. Outhalf Peter Sylvester made the initial break, carried on by French which led to the same player kicking a penalty after Glenstal veered offside.
It didn’t take long for the Limerick side to level matters. Pres didn’t deal with the restart and outhalf Ben Healy kicked a fine 40 metre penalty after the visitors were penalised for not rolling away to make it 3-3 after 18 minutes.
But Pres regained the lead almost immediately, capitalising on handling errors in the Glenstal defence. From a scrum just inside the 22, outstanding number eight Jack O’Sullivan broke on the blind to send the in-rushing French over for a well taken try. The ball fell off the tee as the same player lined up the conversion and his drop-goal attempt flew wide.
Pres spent much of the remainder of the half on the front foot, but a combination of dropped passes and determined Glenstal tackling kept the score line at 8-3 at the break.
Clever use of possession on the resumption put Pres into attack from the kick-off and they rarely looked like relinquishing their stranglehold as Glenstal found it difficult to get even beyond half-way.
Pres gave a master class in retaining possession for the most part with O’Sullivan regularly leading the charge. He was well supported by the rest of the pack with fellow back-rowers Cian Fitzgerald and David Hyland and prop Brian O’Connor prominent throughout.
Sylvester and French kicked smartly to ensure Glenstal were pinned deep in their own half and Pres’s only worry came three minutes from the end of regulation time.
Out of the blue, flanker Conor Booth emerged from a ruck outside his own 22 and broke clear, reaching over halfway before he was hauled down by wing Tom Fitzgerald. The resulting penalty for not releasing ended Glenstal’s outside chance of creating their own slice of history.
PBC: J Wren; P Buckley, S French, J Broderick, T Fitzgerald; P Sylvester, G Bradley; C Burke, B Scannell, B O’Connor; A McAuliffe, M McCarthy; C Fitzgerald, J O’Sullivan, captain, D Hyland. Replacements: E Burns for McAuliffe (52 mins), D Harrington for Bradley (63 mins)
Glenstal Abbey: J O’Mahony; T Molony, J Mawhinney, L Fitzgerald, R Quinn; B Healy, T Coole; S Scanlon-Garry, G Downing, E Bergin; C O’Sullivan, S Downes; C Booth, R Clarke, captain, M Fleming. Replacements: A Hogan for Molony (55 mins), H Downing for Bergin (63 mins), D Floyd for Mawhinney (67 mins), M Walsh for Downes (71 mins)
Referee: K Imbusch (Munster)