Rockwell claim 26th Munster Senior title as Ardscoil wait goes on
Tipperary school prove too strong for Limerick rivals at Thomond Park
The Rockwell College squad celebrate their Munster Schools Rugby Senior Cup Final victory over Ardscoil Rís at Thomond Park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Rockwell College 23 Ardscoil Rís 13
Rockwell College won their 26th Munster Schools Senior Cup thanks to a power-packed performance at a colourful Thomond Park as the wait for a first success in the competition goes on for a gallant Ardscoil Rís.
In fairness the Limerick side had to start without two key members of their squad and they also lost their influential centre Jack O’Donnell through injury after 13 minutes.
But Rockwell were never in danger of losing a game that, at times, provided some sparkling passages and especially in the second half when early nerves had disappeared.
Rockwell had outstanding individual performances by their skipper Seán O’Connor, who dominated the lineouts, and he was given great support by the superb backrow trio of Mikey Wilson, Mike Casey and Bryan McLoughlin.
Bill Johnston had a fine game at outhalf but was shown a yellow card five minutes from the end for a deliberate knock-on as Ardscoil tried to build an attack from deep in their own half.
Lee Molloy made a number of superb breaks, including the one which saw Rockwell score their clinching try at the end through McLoughlin.
Rockwell went in front after 26 minutes when Johnston landed a difficult penalty from the touchline but the lead lasted just seven minutes as Conor Fitzgerald opened Ardscoil’s account.
Though on top Rockwell had to wait until the 33rd minute for their first try. McLoughlin made the break from the back of a maul and offloaded to Wilson who touched down beside the posts and Johnston converted.
Fourteen minutes into the second half Fitzgerald landed an Ardscoil penalty but twice Johnston was on target for Rockwell.
Five minutes from the end Ian Brown had Ardscoil’s try which Fitzgerald converted to leave only three between them.
But with two minutes remaining Molloy’s break led to McLoughlin’s crucial try which Tom McHale converted.
ROCKWELL COLLEGE: T McHale; D Gallagher, L Molloy, C Cashman, K Moynihan; B Johnston, D Egan; N Campion, B Murray, J Kendrick; S O’Connor, J Binchy; M Wilson, B McLoughlin, M Casey.
Replacements: C Beary and D Barron for Campion and Murray (both 55 mins), J Tierney for Kendrick (61 mins), J Power for Binchy (69 mins).
ARD SCOIL RÍS: D Gavin; N Randles, J O’Donnell, P Collins, M McManemy; C Fitzgerald, H Bourke; A Coffey, T Chan, P Lyons; B O’Byrne, R Coffey; O Bernard, I Brown, D Ryan.
Replacements: P Ryan for O’Donnell (13 mins), L Brock for McManemy (half-time), L Moylan for O’Byrne, J Sexton for Lyons (both 60 mins).
Referee: G Clancy.