Schools Rugby: Part 1 PBC v Rockwell College in junior cup today

Next week the rivals clash in the senior cup quarter-final with both games at Musgrave Park
Schools Rugby: Part 1 PBC v Rockwell College in junior cup today

PBC supporters cheering on their side against CBC in the recent Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup at Musgrave Park. Picture Denis Minihane.

TWO traditional powerhouses of Munster schools’ rugby will get to know each other a bit more as PBC and Rockwell College gear-up for crunch games in both the junior and senior cups.

The juniors are first up this afternoon at Musgrave Park for a 2.30 start and next Wednesday the pair lock horns in the quarter-final of the senior cup, when it will be all-or-nothing with St Munchin’s waiting in the wings.

Pres went unbeaten in their qualifying group at junior level, winning all four games, including a 15-0 victory over second-placed Castletroy College, who suffered their only defeat, and a 21-15 win over great rivals CBC back in November.

Rockwell finished runners-up to St Munchin’s in their section, winning three of their four games, including a 14-12 success against Crescent College Comprehensive, who meet Christians at Thomond Park this afternoon at 3pm.

The Cork school have already had one outing in the competition, a 33-12 win over Bandon Grammar School.

Jack O’Callaghan crossed for a couple of tries with Peter Horan and Keelan Manley also getting in on the act while Conor Mulvihill added the extras from the kicking tee.

Bandon lost no face in defeat with Bill O’Driscoll and Michael Kennedy scoring tries and Conor Smyth landing a conversion.

There’s an all-Limerick affair between Ardscoil Ris and Glenstal Abbey at Thomond Park at 1pm with the former expected to progress.

Pres seniors are bidding to bounce back from the 27-26 defeat by Christians in last week’s thrilling senior cup tie and they will have noted Rockwell’s power in their big win over Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai a day later.

The victory secured Christians’ place in the last four, where they await the other quarter-final next week between the holders Crescent and Ardscoil, who pushed St Munchin’s all the way in an exciting first round encounter, going down 19-10.

The champions didn’t have matters all their own way in starting the defence of their title, winning 36-29 against Bandon Grammar in a rousing game, which produced nine tries.

Meanwhile, Dolphin were involved in one of the games of the season in energia All-Ireland League at the weekend as they shared 12 tries with Ballymena in Division 2A at Musgrave Park though victory went the Ulster side’s way, 40-38.

The visitors swept 21-0 in front in as many minutes and had the bonus point in the bag by the half-hour mark only for the Cork side to roar back with a series of tries themselves, profiting from an unstoppable line-out maul at important stages of a remarkable game.

Cian Scott helped himself to a couple with Rob Reardon also touching down and while Ballymena led 33-12 at one stage, Dolphin’s resurgence was reflected in them coming within two points following a penalty try.

And they took the lead for the first time after 65 minutes with another try from a close-range maul with Tomas Quinlan converting for a shock 38-33 advantage.

Yet, it only lasted a few minutes because Ballymena scored their sixth try moments later to head home with a five-point haul and extend their lead over their Cork rivals to nine points in the lower regions of the table.

Dolphin collected two bonus points but remain in second last spot on 15 points from their 12 outings with six more to come on the resumption and are just three ahead of UL Bohemians in the relegation place.

UCC had plenty reason to cheer their unexpected 19-18 win over promotion chasing Old Wesley in the capital, a result which eases their position in the bottom portion of the Division 1B table, where Highfield are third, just three points of the joint leaders City of Armagh and Buccaneers.

College hadn’t tasted victory since their 32-21 bonus point triumph away to Banbridge at the end of October, but tries from wing Sean Condon, his sixth of the season, Johnny Murphy and a penalty try with Cian Whooley kicking a conversion brought a welcome end to their losing streak.

Midleton’s 26-19 defeat away to fellow strugglers Ballina in Division 2C has paved the way for an anxious run-in to the season. Johannes du Toit scored a try, converted by Stuart Lee, who also kicked four penalties.

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