GLENSTAL Abbey’s wait for a first Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup title goes on after the Co Limerick side suffered an 11-3 defeat to PBC in the 108th final played at a wet and windy Thomond Park on St Patrick’s Day.
A 20th minute try from Pres’ centre Sean French, who scored all of the Cork side’s points, proved crucial in deciding the outcome of this hard fought final.
Glenstal, appearing in their first final since 1970, played with a great intensity and tackled heroically throughout, but their highly rated backline simply couldn’t get the chance to show their full range of skills in the unfavourable conditions.
Twenty nine-time Cup winners were deserving winners, as the Cork side adapted better to the poor playing conditions. The Pres’ set piece, both scrum and line-out, proved a reliable source of good quality possession, while Glenstal’s line-out malfunctioned on far too many occasions.
Weather conditions were very poor at kick-off time with the finalists faced with a howling wind and driving rain.
Not surprisingly, the greasy ball made for difficult handling conditions and both teams struggled to hold onto the football and build phases.
PBC took the lead on 15 minutes when after a good break from out-half Peter Sylvester and enterprising play from captain Jack O’Sullivan and prop Brian O’Connor, Glenstal were penalised at the breakdown. Centre Sean French duly slotted the kick in the blustery conditions for a 3-0 lead.
To their credit, Glenstal Abbey hit back immediately with out-half Ben Healy slotting an excellent penalty kick from just inside the PBC half.
However, the see-saw nature of the scoring continued when pre-Cup favourites PBC struck for the game’s opening try on 20 minutes.
Number eight O’Sullivan broke from the back of a scrum inside the Glenstal ‘22, before passing to French who showed a neat side step to beat a would-be tackler to score.
French missed the conversion. Glenstal did threaten to reply almost immediately but, winger Tim Molony who did superbly to take a high catch close to the East Stand side of the ground, was eventually halted.
PBC retained their 8-3 lead until half-time, but the Cork side who dominated possession and territory in the second half, only made the game save in the 69th minute when French landed his second penalty goal.
Shortly before that, Glenstal created their only scoring opportunity of the second half when flanker Conor Booth made a fantastic break out of defence and up to the half way line. However, with no support coming to Booth’s aid when tackled, PBC managed to relieve the pressure when Glenstal were penalised.
SCORERS: Glenstal Abbey School: Ben Healy pen. PBC: Sean French try, two pens.
GLENSTAL ABBEY SCHOOL: Jack O’Mahony; Tim Molony, Jamie Mawhinney, Luke Fitzgerald, Ronan Quinn; Ben Healy, Thanade McCoole; Sean Scanlon-Garry, George Downing, Eoin Bergin; Conan O’Sullivan, Shane Downes; Conor Booth, Mark Fleming, Rory Clarke (Capt). Replacements: Andrew Hogan for Quinn (56 mins), Henry Downing for Bergin (63 mins), Declan Floyd for Mawhinney (67 mins), Mark Walsh for Downes (69 mins).
PBC: Jonathan Wren; Paul Buckley, Sean French, James Broderick, Tom Fitzgerald; Peter Sylvester, Gary Bradley; Conor Burke, Billy Scannell, Brian O’Connor; Adam McAuliffe, Mark McCarthy; Cian Fitzgerald, David Dyland, Jack O’Sullivan (Capt). Replacements: Eoin Burns for McAuliffe (52 mins), Daid Harrington for Bradley (65 mins)
REFEREE: Ken Imbusch (IRFU)