Rockwell College 10
CHRISTIANS qualified for their third consecutive Clayton Hotels sponsored Munster Schools Senior Cup final and their fourth in five years following a convincing win over Rockwell College at Musgrave Park today.
The outcome was effectively decided by the champions' third try, just 90 seconds after the re-start, when day turned to night briefly during a hail shower.
The gloomy weather was matched by Rockwell's mood, 22-5 in arrears and not too pleased with the performance of referee Kieran Barry, who penalised them repeatedly during the first-half.
The Cashel school incurred his wrath at the break-down, pinged for not releasing in the tackle, not staying on their feet and entering from the side.
Yet, a long distance from the inevitable conclusion it hardly seemed to matter because Christians had their measure in all aspects with their key players starring.
Cian Whooley, out-half 12 months ago, and openside flanker Ronan O'Sullivan, also with a cup medal, pointed the way for the others to follow in an impressive team effort.
Mind you, Christians took a while to settle as Rockwell set the early pace, a line-out over-throw in their own 22 reflecting the holders' unease.
And it came as little surprise, when the Tipperary side jumped in front with a try after nine minutes.
A line-out on the right, a battering ram in the shape of prop Matthew Burke, created the chance for the ball to go through the hands for left wing Peter Wall to score at the Sundays Well corner.
Christians took only three minutes, however, to begin turning matters around, helped, it must be said, by Rockwell's indiscipline.
Another infringement at the breakdown offered the holders the opportunity to attack and they duly prospered.
A line-out maul was followed by a clever dink by Whooley for centre Jack Morehead to score between the posts. George Coomber converted for 7-5.
Six minutes later, Christians bagged a second try, created by Whooley, who sliced through the middle for young half-back partner, Andrew O'Mahony, to continue the move.
He had a lot to do from some 35 metres out on the angle, but O'Mahony backed himself, displaying impressive technique and strength to shrug off a number of tacklers before touching down.
And to fully decorate a memorable score, Coomber's touchline conversion swerved sweetly from left to right to increase his side's advantage to 14-5 after 18 minutes.
Rock captain Alan Flannery threatened a response with a brilliant break through the middle, but his kick was well read by Whooley as Christians earned a relieving penalty at the ruck.
Rockwell's growing frustration at the high penalty count against them reached a height, when Christians were awarded a penalty for a seemingly innocuous high tackle in the first minute of injury-time which Coomber duly kicked for a 17-5 half-time lead.
And any hopes of a Rock revival practically vanished with Christians' third try in the opening attack on the resumption.
This time it was the forwards' turn to showcase their talents as they went through the phases, applying pressure on the Rock defence and ended with O'Sullivan powering his way over.
Now 22-5 in front, Christians had one foot in another decider and while they wouldn't add to their tally, their position rarely lookesd threatened.
Rockwell crossed a second time with a try instigated by Flannery and scored by wing Tom Tobin, but it was mere academic. Christians were well on their way.
Scorers for CBC: Tries: J Morehead, A O'Mahony, R O'Sullivan
Cons: G Coomber (2)
Pen: G Coomber
Scorers for Rockwell College: Tries: P Wall and T Tobin.
CBC: J Murphy; A Leahy, G Coomber, J Morehead. D Kiely; C Whooley, A O' Mahony; A O'Regan, L McAuliffe, C Hanlon; R Kelleher, J Ahern; P McBarron, R O'Sullivan, F MacFhlannchacha.
Subs: S Rall, A McDonald, W Waterman, A Treacy, J Morrison, C Lavin, M O'Connor, S Buckley, J Moylan, T McCarthy.
J O'Dwyer; P Wall, S Tarleton, A Flannery, T Tobin; J O’Sullivan, A Maher; D Foley, D Fanning, M Burke; L Fogarty, B O'Dea; C Kelly, R Anglim, L Shine.
Subs: C Meaney, C Ryan, J Browne, M Bergin, K Grogan, O Fagan, B McCarthy, M Mulligan, H Buttimer, D Achimugu.
K Barry (MAR).