Rivals Pres and Christians battle to reach Munster Schools Junior Cup final

St Munchin's stand in CBC's way while old foes PBC are in action in the other semi-final tomorrow against Crescent College Comprehensive
Rivals Pres and Christians battle to reach Munster Schools Junior Cup final

CBC out-half Charlie O'Shea touching down for the first of his tries against Crescent College Comprehensive. Picture: Dan Linehan

IT’S 22 years since Cork rivals PBC and CBC qualified to meet in a Munster Schools Junior Cup final.

On that occasion Pres emerged victorious, part of their 29 title haul at the top of the roll-of-honour, and they could collide again in the Pinergy sponsored competition this season.

They’re on opposite sides of the semi-final draw with Christians first in action against St Munchin’s at Musgrave Park today at 2pm.

Then, it’s Pres’s turn tomorrow at the same venue, when Crescent College Comprehensive visit Cork for a 2.30pm start in a forerunner to the senior cup decider between the same schools at Thomond Park next Tuesday.

PBC's James O'Leary scoring a try against Castletroy College. Picture Denis Minihane.
PBC's James O'Leary scoring a try against Castletroy College. Picture Denis Minihane.

Christians and St Munchin’s shared the 2020 junior cup after Covid intervened to ensure the final was never played and the 2021 edition was shelved in its entirety for the same reason.

The Cork school, who have 17 titles to their name, have been the form team throughout, winning all four games with bonus points in qualifying and carrying that exciting form into the cup proper with a nine-try trouncing of Crescent on the Astro pitch at local headquarters.

Christians stormed to a 53-5 victory with a hat-trick of tries for wing Daire O’Callaghan and two apiece for centre Alex O’Connell and out-half Charlie O’Shea, who kicked four conversions and a penalty in a 21-point haul.

And to ensure the forwards didn’t miss out on the try-scoring feast, abrasive number 8 Conor Galvin powered over, as well.

The wide margin of victory, though, came against a backdrop of the Limerick side missing half-a-dozen players due to Covid.

St Munchin’s, cup winners on seven occasions, have played twice, overcoming Ardscoil Ris 32-5 and Castletroy College 7-0.

They crossed for four tries in the opening game, substitute Alex Quinn claiming two with Lee Collopy and Oskars Vitolins also scoring and Tom Wood converting three and kicking a couple of penalties.

It was much tighter against Castletroy, a try from number 8 Billy Power, converted by Wood, doing the trick.

Pres and Crescent also clashed in qualifying and it finished 3-3, suggesting a tight game is on the cards once more, particularly if the Limerick side are at full-strength.

The Cork school registered an 18-0 win over Castletroy, a scoreline that didn’t reflect the visitors’ contribution.

Centres Mark Hetherington and James O’Leary were the try-scorers with out-half Harry Murphy landing a conversion and two penalties.

Pres are captained by number 8 Rory Moloney, packing down either side of Daniel and Ben Foley in the back-row.

Crescent were restored to full health for their do-or-die game against Rockwell College and duly progressed, winning by 24-7, a game played on the Astro surface.

Wing Sean Morrissey helped himself to a couple of tries with second-row Ronan Ryan and out-half Fionn Rowesome also getting on the score sheet with the number 10 converting twice.

The semi-finals are classic Cork-Limerick affairs with home advantage favouring Christians against a St Munchin’s side, which hasn’t played on the all-weather pitch and could be a factor.

Crescent should be familiar with the surface., having played both their games in Cork, adding to the belief this could go the distance to determine the outcome.

AIL

Meanwhile, Highfield and Dolphin, enter the three-week break before the final set of games in energia All-Ireland League in good spirits after important wins at the weekend.

’Field consolidated second position in division 1B with a 29-13 home win over Malone, when Sean Garrett, Eddie Earle, Sam Burns and Ben Murphy scored tries and Shane O’Riordan kicked three conversions and a penalty.

The result leaves the Cork club five points ahead of Shannon, who are coming like an express train, having been out of the top four for much of the season, with Naas two more points adrift in fourth.

But, Highfield have a tough run-in, travelling to Naas and St Mary’s in fifth and hosting Navan in between.

Dolphin crossed for a remarkable seven tries away to Ballymena, winning by 47-26, with Phil Dowling, Ryan Foley, Brian and Dave O’Mahony and Barry Fitzgerald among the scorers.

The win moves Dolphin into seventh in the table, 10 points clear of trouble.

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