ONE of the great sporting occasions of St Patrick’s Day is the traditional Munster Schools Senior Cup final in rugby.
Sadly, the playing pitches remain silent, just as they did 12 months ago, when fierce Cork rivals, CBC and PBC, couldn’t play their decider and ended up sharing the trophy.
Today will be no different apart altogether that there wasn’t a tackle made in anger or a try scored at any stage of the season.
Pres were crowned champions in 2010 for the 28th time with a team, which had joint captains in Niall Scannell and David O’Mahony.
Hooker Scannell, who packed down at tight-head prop in the 22-10 win over Rockwell College, made it to the professional ranks with Munster.
The Co Tipperary side also produced a notable player in JJ Hanrahan, who is a colleague of Scannell at Munster, having played with Northampton Saints, as well.
Luke Cahill, who developed into a leading number eight with Cork Constitution, helping them to league and cup success, was another member of the class of 11 years ago.
Pres were the dominant side for the most part, prospering from a Daniel Horgan try, converted by Sean Og Murphy, before Hanrahan opened the Rock’s account with a penalty.
Murphy cancelled that out, though, to leave the Cork side 10-3 ahead at the interval before claiming the all-important next score on the resumption.
Again, it was centre Horgan who obliged with his second try, Murphy adding the extras to made Rockwell’s task even more challenging.
The Cashel school roared back, however, with an opportunist try from Hanrahan, who also kicked the conversion for 17-10.
Pres secured victory with a third try near the finish, substitute prop Killian Kingston barging over to complete a memorable day for the Mardyke school.
Coach Peter Scott explained the reasoning behind joint-captains.
“The players pick the captain and the vote ended in a draw.
“They voted a second time and again it was a draw, so we felt the only thing to do was choose both of them and they were fantastic captains,” he said.
TEAM: PBC: S Glynn; R Caplice, J Costigan, D Horgan, E Dennehy; B Og Murphy, R Barry; C Keane, B Vaughan, N Scannell, co-captain; R O’Herlihy, D O’Mahony, co-captain; B Carroll, J Duffy, C O’Flaherty.
A decade earlier Christians also tasted victory over Rockwell in the final of the new millennium which turned out to be a hum-dinger.
The Cork school paraded a fine half-back partnership of Conor Quaid and Frank Murphy, the former professional scrum-half and now full-time referee.
Yet, the stand-out player was Rockwell number eight Denis Leamy, who went on to play at the highest levels with Munster and Ireland.
A Quaid penalty gave Christians an early lead, but Leamy responded with a try and an Alan Early drop-goal had the Tipperary side 8-3 in front at the break, but there was little hint of what drama lay in store in the second-half.
An intercept try by Brendan Mackey increased Rockwell’s lead before Christians hit back with a Cian Duane try.
Early’s second drop goal offered the Rock more breathing space only for Duane to cross a second time to level matters at 18-18.
Quaid held his nerve to slot the conversion to edge Christians in front and they clinched victory with a Colin Murphy try to close out a gripping encounter, which enthralled the big crowd.
TEAM: CBC: S O’Mahony; C Murphy, J Cullen, K Lucey, M Canning; C Quaid, F Murphy; S Purcell, M Nagle, P Quinlan; K Coughlan, S O’Connor; D Keane, C Quane, T Creedon.
The schools also met in the 1985 final with Rockwell the undisputed masters that day, running out convincing 22-4 winners with a team captained by Bandon’s Conor Slattery.
Future international Jack Clarke and jockey-in-waiting Brian McGoey also featured while Christians full-back Kenny Murphy also went on to represent his country.
Rockwell led 12-0 at half-time following tries from McGoey and out-half Barry Brosnan with Mark Boyle kicking a penalty and a conversion.
Michael White crossed for a Christians try in the second-half, but further tries from Neville O’Farrell and Seamus Maher ended Rockwell’s 15-year wait for cup success.