PBC 14 CBC 10
PRES clinched their 30th Munster Schools Junior Cup with a fully merited win over arch-rivals Christians in a thrilling final at Musgrave Park on Wednesday.
They had to withstand fierce pressure in an exciting climax as Christians grabbed a second try via number eight Conor Galvin in the third minute of injury-time to make it a one-score game.
But, time ran out on the gallant losers as the restart from the excellent Harry Murphy bounced into touch and with it came the final whistle, prompting jubilant scenes at the conclusion.
There was an equally dramatic start to the second half, when Pres led 7-5, and they extended that with a brilliant try after 40 minutes.
It stemmed from a well-organised maul down the right before moving the ball clinically through the hands for full-back Deckie Fitzgerald to send wing Eoin Hurley in at the corner.
Critically, Murphy kicked a magnificent touchline conversion and then, just as importantly, produced a try-saving ankle-tap tackle on impressive Christians full-back Calvin Kilbride.
Christians, however, weren't going down without a fight and threw everything at their great rivals, only last-gasp tackling keeping them at bay before Galvin's try came too late.
In the first-half Pres settled quickly and took the game to their opponents, receiving an early reward with the opening try after just four minutes.
Number 8 and captain Rory Moloney, who was already prominent at line-out time and with ball in hand, took a pass 30 metres out to power through to touch down at the posts.
Harry Murphy converted to complete a great start for the Mardyke school.
Christians' attacking threat became evident and showed how dangerous they could be in broken play as full-back Calvin Kilbride sped down the right before kicking in-field, but a knock-on meant it came to nothing.
Pres were still the more likely side as the game entered the second quarter when there was an amazing sequence of play.
First, Pres earned a penalty for a collapsed maul and opted for the left corner, where they gained possession from the line-out only to lose control, prompting Christians to have a go deep in their own 22.
That ploy backfired, however, as an ambitious pass went to ground, offering Pres a five-metre scrum in the right corner, but they couldn't take advantage as the ball popped out on the Christians' side.
And off they went from close to their own line as wing Bill McCarthy turned defence into attack with a scorching run, which almost yielded a try in the Sunday's Well corner.
It didn't take long to materialise, however, as Pres's clearance kick didn't find touch and Christians brought a breath-taking spell to a successful conclusion with an unconverted Daire O'Callaghan try in the right corner.
It remained 7-5 until the interval though both sides had chances, Murphy missing a long-range penalty before Christians again displayed their ability to counter-attack.
A try, three minutes into stoppage time, looked on the cards but the pass to O'Callaghan fell to his ankles and he couldn't make a clean catch.
And that reflected just how tight the margins were between two well-prepared teams, who once again contributed to a high-standard junior cup campaign, in keeping with the top quality produced by not only Cork's finest but others like Crescent College Comprehensive and St Munchin's in recent times.
Tries: R Moloney, E Hurley. Cons: H Murphy (2).
Tries: D O'Callaghan, C Galvin.
D Fitzgerald; E Hurley, M Hetherington, J O'Leary, A Dunne; H Murphy, R Byrd; S McFarlane-O'Shea, L Hegarty, F O'Sullivan; C Donnelly, D Murphy; D Foley, R Moloney, captain, B Foley.
D Sheehy, C Murphy, S Gilbert, C Bruhn, R Porter, F og Sheehan, H Murphy, R Byrne, J Cashman, E O'Dowd.
C Kilbride; B McCarthy, A O'Connell, L O'Leary, D O'Callaghan; C O'Shea, C Barrett; R O'Callaghan, P O'Rourke, M Shalloe; Z Coughlan, I Morton; C Walsh, C Galvin, C Hughes.
E Collins, Z McGarry, C Wallace, R Coughlan, R Cogan, J McCarthy, C Corkery, B Mayer, S Glackin, A Murray.
T O'Sullivan (MAR).