Ardscoil Ris secured a semi-final place in the Munster Schools Junior Cup thanks toa deserved 20-10 victory over PBC, of Cork, at Clifford Park, this Wednesday.
Ardscoil, finalists in the Cup 12 months ago, had to withstand a tenacious Pres’ comeback in the second half before finally setting up a last four meeting with the winners of this week’s Limerick derby clash of St Munchin’s College and Castletroy College.
It took a well-executed 57th minute try from Ardscoil team captain Jerry McCabe to finally end PBCs hopes after the home side had been clinging to a three point advantage at that point.
It was clear from the kick-off that the Ardscoil side had gained a lot of confidence from the manner in which they battled back to earn a draw with another of the Cork heavyweights, CBC, at the Mardyke, in their previous outing.
Backed by a useful breeze in the opening half, the home side displayed admirable intensity, pace and accuracy in their play. This well-drilled Ardscoil side thrives on keeping the ball in hand, before moving it wide quickly and accurately through their exciting backline.
The benefit of having four survivors from their 2012 Junior Cup final side, which lost out to CBC, in the guise of prop Pierce Lyons, flanker Jack Sexton, captain McCabe and centre Jack O’Donnell, is obvious.
Crucially, Ardscoil succeeded in converting their first half superiority into points. Ultra composed out-half Conor Fitzgerald landed two penalties in the firth and 20th minutes to help the Limerick side into a useful 6-0 lead.
The crucial score of the half arrived shortly before the break when, following a flowing backline move, Fitzgerald and Gavin combined to create the opening for the influential Collins to touchdown.
Fitzgerald landed a superb conversion from close to the touchline to help Ardscoil into a commanding 13-0 lead.
PBC rung the changes at half-time, introducing three replacement and the infusion of new blood worked as the Cork side closed the gap to three points, 10-13, with tries from number eight Brian O’Mahony and lock Fiachra Kelleher mid-way through the half.
Indeed, Pres’ might have gone in front in the 52nd minute when an attempted clearance from Ardscoil was blocked down only for replacement Peter Sylvester to be help up as he tried to ground the ball.
A terrific break from Ardscoil out-half out-half Fitzgerald in the 57th minute lifted the pressure and ended in the Limerick side being awarded a penalty for a high tackle. Soon after McCabe barged over for the clinching try which Fitzgerald duly converted.
SCORERS – Ardscoil Ris: Peader Collins, Jerry McCabe try each, Conor Fitzgerald two pens, two cons. PBC: Brian O’Mahony, Fiachra Kelleher try each.
ARDSCOIL RIS – Darren Gavin; Michael Fitzgibbon, Peader Collins, Jack O’Donnell, Nathan Randles; Conor Fitzgerald, Jamie Moore; Pierce Lyons, Ty Chan, Jack O’Shea; Conor Cannon, Ronan Coffey; Ian Brown, Jack Sexton, Jerry McCabe (Capt). Replacements: Tyler Richardson for O’Shea, James Brennan for Gavin. Not used: Luke Moylan, Robert Leonard, Gareth Hobbs, Ben Devlin, Eoin Ryan, Marcus McManemy, Paddy Healy, Eoin O’Donoghue, David Broderick.
PBC – Sean Lucey; Shane O’Brien, Jimmy Costello, Ross Murphy, Conor Duggan; Barry Ryan, Billy Pope; Conor Ormonde, Michael Shinkwin, Sam Deane; Fiachra Kelleher, Eoin O’Shea; Graham Smith (Capt), Cian Fitzgerald, Brian O’Mahony. Replacements: Conor O’Flynn, Ryan Butt, Kyle Harte, Luke O’Connor, Peter Sylvester, Kevin O’Leary, Colin Eustace, Patrick Fitzgerald.
REFEREE – Derek Noonan (IRFU)