CRESCENT College Comprehensive assistant coach, Ger Slattery said winning a first Clayton Hotel Munster Schools Junior Cup title in five years provided a ‘big lift’ for the Dooradoyle rugby nursery.
Crescent College ended a run of defeats in three successive finals at Junior Cup level when easing past holders CBC, of Cork, 17-7, in their replayed final at Thomond Park on Wednesday.
The Limerick sides scored three excellent tries from number eight Jack Madden, prop Ronan Gallery and winger Ben Carew to score a deserved victory. Captain John Hurley also added a conversion.
Ger Slattery said: “It was a great final. The first half was a bit like the drawn game in Cork. It was nip and tuck.
“I was happy with how the first half was going at 5-0. Then they convert their try and all of a sudden you are down. It was a bit of a blow.
”The way the lads responded in the second half was excellent.
“I was a bit worried for a while there, but I definitely think we worked harder to get the ball back, got a bit more possession and eventually it told with the two tries in the second half.
“When we did play with ball in hand we looked very dangerous. The second try we scored was an exceptional one. I haven’t seen a try like that in schools rugby, especially at Junior Cup level for a long time.
“There were a lot of players involved in the build-up, a lot of good hands and then Ronan Gallery, our tighthead prop, scored it.
“That was great for him as he spent time in a cast on his ankle after the drawn game, got it off and then made it back to play in the replay which took a great effort.
“We were planning without having him, but he made it today, which is great credit due to him for that.
“We had a bit of a cushion at 12-7 and the third try killed the game. It was a great score. The backs really stood up for that one.
“We are extremely lucky with the group we had. They are extremely talented. We didn’t really have to improve much in terms of skills. It was just about putting structure on it, ensure we left them play and not limit them in attack, make sure they expressed themselves.
“The off-loads for the two tries were excellent and with the talent in the backs, we were keen to give them the ball.
“We spoke about it there with the lads in the dressing room, this is start for them. They have to push on and develop as players and they will develop both mentally and physically. Hopefully, they will stick at it and improve.”
Crescent’s victory was their third at Junior Cup level in seven seasons. The Dooradoyle side has reached six finals during that period.
“Winning the final is a big lift for Crescent. The school has obviously been doing something right to be in the mix to win the Cup. For the school to finally get over the line is a big boost, especially for the group of players and everyone involved in the backroom team, the likes of Chris Cullinan, Stephen Tuohy, Matt Evans, Cecelia Hoffman as well who were great throughout the year.
“For them it was bigger because they had been involved in previous campaigns.”
The win was also fitting as it came less than a month after the passing of Crescent College’s former multi Schools Senior Cup winning coach Dudley Herbert following illness.
“I have good memories of Dudley with Munster Schools and that sort of thing,” Ger Slattery said.
“It was a sad time recently with his passing. It was important to give something back for all the work he put into Crescent rugby. To win is that extra special for him.”