Schools rugby: Holders Christians push on despite absence of supporters

Schools rugby: Holders Christians push on despite absence of supporters
CBC scrum half Andrew O’Mahony looking to break between Castletroy College players Sean Quirke and Sam DenDikken. Picture: Dan Linehan

CBC 32 Castletroy College 21

HOLDERS CBC advanced to the semi-finals of the Clayton Hotels sponsored Munster Schools Senior Cup following a hard-fought win over plucky Castletroy College at Musgrave Park yesterday.

It was an entertaining game, producing seven tries, but it was also a soul-less occasion as the normal excitement of the cup was notably absent because of the ban on Christians’ supporters attending.

The critical stage came after the interval, when the Limerick school suffered a bout of yellow card fever as three players felt the wrath of referee Richard Horgan in a nine-minute spell as Christians dominated.

A penalty try after 42 minutes helped them jump 17-6 clear and despite Castletroy’s stubborn resistance and never-say-die approach, Christians always looked likely winners.

They had two survivors from last year, wing Aaron Leahy and openside flanker, Ronan O’Sullivan, as well as full-back Johnny Murphy, who was on the bench in last year’s final against PBC.

Leahy showed his power and pace for a 45th minute try before George Coomber kicked a penalty, 25-9, though the visitors hit back with a couple of tries of their own.

Substitute Nesta Nymakazi reduced the deficit with a try only for another replacement, Alan McDonald, to score Christians’ fifth, Coomber converting for 32-16.

It was somewhat fitting that Castletroy scrum-half Jack Oliver, son of former Scotland international, Greg, who works for Munster’s elite player development, should have the last say because he impressed throughout.

His injury-time try wrapped up proceedings and young Jack is a name to look out for in the years ahead. In all the number nine got 16 of his side’s points.

Castletroy had first use of the wind and made it count with clever kicking from half-backs Oliver and captain Michael O’Hanrahan.

Christians were slow to settle, coming under pressure from the start as the visitors jumped in front with a second minute penalty from Oliver to the right of the posts on the 22.

Castletroy made it 6-0 after a quarter-of-an-hour when Christians infringed in a line out and from the same position as the first, Oliver stroked over his second penalty.

The holders needed to show sound discipline, patience and accuracy in a dealing with a clever kick in behind their defence as Castletroy sniffed a try.

But, Christians managed to clear the lines and that signalled a change because the Cork school became more of an attacking force with ball in hand.

They forced a penalty after 26 minutes, but out-half Shane Buckley snatched at his kick to Castltroy’s relief though a pattern was beginning to develop.

On the half-hour, Christians claimed the opening try, right wing David Kiely showing an impressive burst of pace to race down the touchline and score in the corner.

And four minutes later the champions crossed again with the forwards flexing their muscles and off-loading well after centre’s Jack Morehead’s dart through the middle.

Buckley sent Coomber in at the right corner and somehow Christians had sneaked 10-6 ahead by the interval.

George Coomber, CBC about to touch down for at try. Picture: Dan Linehan
George Coomber, CBC about to touch down for at try. Picture: Dan Linehan

A critical knock-on from Buckley’s re-start helped the holders set-up base camp right from the resumption and from there Castletroy infringed all too frequently in their own 22, leading to the over-populated sin-bin.

Both sides emptied their benches and the upshot of it all is that Christians are safely in the last-four while Castletroy meet St Munchin’s, who defeated Ardscoil Rís 13-12 at Thomond Park, in the quarter-finals.

Scorers for CBC: Tries: D Kiely, G Coomber, A Leahy, pen, A McDonald, Con: G Coomber, Pen: G Coomber

Scorers for Castletroy: Tries: N Nymakazi and J Oliver, Con: J Oliver, Pens: J Oliver (3).

CBC: J Murphy; A Leahy, G Coomber, J Morehead, D Keily; S Buckley, A O’Mahony; A O’Regan, L McAuliffe, C Hanlon; J Morrison, J Ahern; P McBarron, F MacFhlannchacha, R O’Sullivan. Subs: S Rall, A McDonald, W Waterman, A Treacy, R Kelleher, C Lavin, M O’Connor, J Moylan, T McCarthy, R Shalloe.

CASTLETROY COLLEGE: E O’Halloran; L Cunneen, S Hanrahan, J Aylward, M Lyons; M O’Hanrahan, J Oliver; R Magill, D McGinn, J McCormack; S DenDikken, J Moloney; J Toland, J McNamara, S Quirke. Subs: D Aylward, O O’Shea, N Nyamakazi, D McMahon, P O’Shea, R Whyte, L Hueston, A Walter, A Cummins, C Mulkern.

Referee: R Horgan (MAR)

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