WATCH: Christians edge past Pres to capture the Munster Senior Cup for the 30th time

WATCH: Christians edge past Pres to capture the Munster Senior Cup for the 30th time
CBC captain Scot Buckley raises the trophy after defeating PBC. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Christian Brothers College 5

Presentation Brothers College 3

IT will hardly be remembered as one of the most exciting finals between the great rivals, but nobody will dispute Christians’ narrow, but richly deserved victory at a windy Musgrave Park yesterday.

A crowd of almost 6,000 helped generate a terrific atmosphere for this Clayton Hotels sponsored Munster Schools Senior Cup final as history beckoned for either side.

Christians now sit on top of the roll of honour with 30 titles, squeezing past their fellow Cork school.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It was the first final on the new 3G surface and the two well-drilled sides managed to cancel each other out in most aspects.

This was most evident at the fiercely contested breakdown areas, where both teams were punished by referee Richard Horgan for holding onto the ball in the tackle.

Christians actually suffered more, notably in a wind-assisted second-half, when their forward pack, supplemented by astute out-half Cian Whooley, pinned Pres back in their own 22 for long spells.

The fact that the new champions couldn’t trouble the scoreboard operator at all during 42 minutes of action was more a reflection of Pres’ magnificent defence than any Christians’ shortcomings.

Even though it turned out to be a one-score encounter for almost an hour, there was a strong sense of the inevitable about the outcome as Pres tried everything to get into an attacking position in that second half, but just couldn’t manage it.

CBC's John Willis is tackled by PBC's Darragh Murphy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
CBC's John Willis is tackled by PBC's Darragh Murphy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The opening stages were typical of big games between the pair, plenty of effort, but filled with tension and anxiety. It was highlighted by two Pres players competing for the same high ball in the 10th minute on half-way out near the far touchline.

Both fumbled the ball, offering Christians the option of a scrum or trying their luck with Horgan’s advantage. How wise it proved to be when it resulted in the only try of the game.

Highly influential full-back Billy Cain, who hardly put a foot wrong throughout, used his boot wisely with a well-judged grubber kick down the opposite flank.

Wing Aaron Leahy availed of a kind bounce and looked like scoring, only for a couple of last-gasp tackles to deny him his moment of glory.

One of them, hooker Darragh Murphy, was adjudged to have killed the ball in the subsequent ruck and was shown a yellow card.

Christians sensed their opportunity and went to the corner with the resulting penalty.

From there, they won possession at the tail of the lineout and the eight forwards drove their seven opponents back in a driving maul, which led to hooker and captain Scott Buckley crossing for the unconverted try.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Pres hit back for out-half and captain Louis Bruce to nail a penalty after 17 minutes following a Christians’ indiscretion at the break-down.

Peter Cunningham kept his side going forward with impressive touch finds, but Pres couldn’t capitalise, particularly after prop Darragh McSweeney’s run close to the interval.

Christians did have one slight scare in injury time, when Bruce’s cross-kick, intended for Michael Hand, was capably dealt with by Cain.

CBC's Cian Whooley bursting through. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
CBC's Cian Whooley bursting through. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

On the resumption, it was all Christians, who ensured the game was played deep in Pres territory, but that second score eluded them.

Cain, who was limping at the time, missed a penalty from a favourable position on the left after 41 minutes.

Even though they lost important number eight Cian Hurley through injury after 50 minutes, Christians kept on the front foot.

Pres deserve huge credit for the manner in which they defied Christians in the tackle area, winning a high number of penalties in their own 22, but they needed to get into position for a score of their own. But it never came, despite their best efforts.

The final whistle, seven minutes into time added-on, produced the right result, with Christians savouring their moment.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Scorer for CBC: Try: S Buckley.

PBC: Pen: L Bruce.

CBC: B Cain; P O’Hara, K Coughlan, H O’Riordan, A Leahy; C Whooley, M O’Connor; C Rasmussen, S Buckley, M Donnelly; A Brien, J Willis; R O’Sullivan, C Walsh, C Hurley.

Subs: D McAuliffe for Hurley injured 50, K Murphy for O’Connor 55, A O’Brien for Walsh 57, P O’Brien for Rasmussen 60.

PBC: M McLoughlin; M Hand, S Squires, P Cunningham, D French; L Bruce, J O’Leary; R Duggan, D Murphy, D McSweeney; D McCarthy, E Quilter; J Kelleher, J Forde, A Kendellen.

Subs: D Hurley for French injured 21, M Fitzgibbon for McCarthy 43, J O’Shaughnessy for O’Leary 65.

Referee: R Horgan (MAR).

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