Old Crescent edged past Bruff in a dramatic Limerick Charity Cup semi-final at Rosbrien on Saturday afternoon
RESILIENT Old Crescent set up a Limerick Charity Cup final showdown with holders Young Munster after edging past a gritty Bruff side 21-19 in their dramatic semi-final clash played at Rosbrien on Saturday afternoon.
AIL Division 2C side Bruff, who had stunned top flight club Garryowen in the quarter-finals, were leading their hosts 19-14 as the clocked ticked into stoppage time.
However, who had themselves shocked Shannon in their quarter-final eight days ago, produced a powerful final surge to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Crescent's scrum proved a powerful weapon in their armoury as the clock ticked down. Bruff lost two players to yellow cards as the home side's weight of pressure began to tell in those nerve-jangling final minutes.
Bruff were unable to hold out. Awarded a penalty deep inside the South Limerick side's '22, Crescent opted for a scrum and from a straight forward 8-9 move, scrum-half Evan Griffin darted over for a try which levelled the scores at 19-19.
WATCH: Evan Griffin darts over for crucial injury time try for @OldCrescentRFC in their 21-19 Limerick Charity Cup semi-final win v @bruffrfc at Rosbrien #LLSport @Limerick_Leader @LimkLeaderSport #LimerickRugby pic.twitter.com/c2uEdgN9lp— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) August 31, 2019
Out-half Ronan McKenna then landed an excellent conversion from wide on the left into a swirling wind to help the home side into a 21-19 lead.
The drama wasn't done yet, however. From the resultant kick-off, Bruff won a penalty just inside the Crescent 10m line. However, Bruff's French-born place-kicker Florent Riguet was narrowly off target with his penalty attempt in the blustery conditions.
The final whistle sounded immediately afterwards to confirm Old Crescent's passage into the final.
WATCH: @OldCrescentRFC1 out-half Ronan McKenna nails match winning conversion in swirling wind in injury time to help his side score dramatic 21-19 win v Bruff in Limerick Charity Cup semi-final at Rosbrien #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport pic.twitter.com/nEfXwVfmms— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) August 31, 2019
It was Bruff who had made the better start to the game, with the visitors enjoying a 12-7 interval lead.
The Kilballyowen Park side led 5-0 after just two minutes when prop Brendan Keogh touched down after a well-executed driving maul.
Back came Old Crescent and the home side hit the front 7-5 when Niall Hardiman dotted down for his second try in a week in the competition, while McKenna duly added the extras.
Bruff were back in front shortly before half-time when a terrific piece of play from their hugely influential scrum-half Patrick Lloyd created the opening for rampaging second row Tadhg O'Dwyer to touch down.
Riguet's conversion stretched the Bruff advantage to 10 points at the break.
WATCH: Converted try for @bruffrfc who lead @OldCrescentRFC1 12-7 at half-time in Limerick Charity Cup semi-final at Rosbrien #LLSport @Limerick_Leader @LimkLeaderSport #ClubRugby pic.twitter.com/ZGflLFTmMG— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) August 31, 2019
When Bruff struck for their third try of the game three minutes after the restart through tighthead prop Jack Fitzgerald, again converted by Riguet, the visitors looked well placed to reach the final, now leading 19-7.
WATCH: Quick start to second half for @bruffrfc who now lead @OldCrescentRFC1 19-7 after 45 mins with converted try in Limerick Charity Cup semi-final at Rosbrien #LLSport @Limerick_Leader @LimkLeaderSport pic.twitter.com/Xp2Xt3co6t— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) August 31, 2019
However, two tries, scored by prop Donal Murphy and that late effort from Griffin - both of which were converted by McKenna - ensured it was to be Old Crescent's day ultimately.