Ardscoil Ris centre Killian Dineen makes a break in his side's Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup tie with Munster CSP at Thomond Park on Wednesday evening Picture: Dermot Lynch
ÁRDSCOIL Ris were edged out by amalgamation side and competition newcomers Munster Clubs Select Player (CSP), on a 29-31 scoreline in their opening Group A fixture of the new-look Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup on Wednesday night.
The two sides shared out 10 tries evenly in an exciting and enterprising contest. Munster CSP led 31-24 as the clock ticked into added time.
However, a terrific piece of composed play, which saw Ardscoil move the ball from deep inside their '22, holding onto it through countless phases, eventually resulted in winger Lochlainn O'Keeffe touching down in the left corner for his second of the game. The five-pointer dragged the Limerick side back to within two points of the visitors.
However, the conversion from the most difficult of angles, on the left touchline, was off target as Munster CSP held on for the win.
WATCH: @ArdscoilRisLimk in for their fourth try. Limerick side trail Munster CSP 24-31 after 64 mins in Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A tie at Thomond Park #LLSport @asobrfc @LimkLeaderSport #MSSC pic.twitter.com/rjloW9m1Ug— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 2, 2019
The winners, who had enjoyed the greater amount of territory and possession in the second half, had a terrific display from second row Diarmuid Dennehy, of Bruff RFC.
On a perfect night for rugby weather wise, Árdscoil Rís made the perfect start when full-back Paddy Hassett and winger O'Keeffe combined to send number eight Jack Ward Murphy over for a well-worked try on five minutes.
Out-half John Moloney duly converted to help the home side into a 7-0 lead.
However, Munster CSP hit back with two converted tries, the first of which was scored by scrum-half Ethan Coughlan. Both tries were converted by out-half Tony Butler to help the visitors into a 14-7 advantage.
WATCH: The finish of one of 3 first half tries for @ArdscoilRisLimk who lead Munster CSP 19-14 at half-time in @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A fixture at Thomond Park #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport @asobrfc #MSSC #Munster pic.twitter.com/ofOWFQg6fM— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 2, 2019
Back came resilient Ardscoil, however, in the 15 minutes before half-time when they racked up 12 unanswered points.
Left winger O'Keefe and centre Killian Dineen touched down in the 30th and 33rd minutes. Moloney superbly converted the O'Keefe try to help the North Circular Road side into a 19-14 interval lead.
The see-saw nature of the scoring continued as Munster CSP responded with 12 points of their own, including two tries, including one for replacement David Bamidele.
Trailing 19-26, the game seemed to be in danger of running away from the Limerick side. However, to their credit the gritty Árdscoil outfit dug deep and drew within two points on the 61st minute when right winger Eoghan Collins won the foot race to a neat grubber kick in behind the opposition defence to score.
WATCH: Its @ArdscoilRisLimk 7 Munster CSP 7 after 11 mins in @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A fixture at Thomond Park. Converted try apiece #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport @asobrfc #MSSC pic.twitter.com/02EpzC6fV1— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 2, 2019
However, the complexion of the game changed once more when Munster CSP out-half Butler touched down in the 64th minute.
Back came Ardscoil once again and a terrific piece of continuity play, involving both backs and forwards, saw O'Keefe grab his second try of the game in stoppage time. However, the off target conversion meant Munster CSP enjoyed a winning start to the new-look Munster Schools Senior Cup.
Under the new format of the competition this season, the competing teams are divided into two groups of five teams each.
Each competing school will play four round robin fixtures before Christmas with the knock-out phase of the Cup beginning in the New Year.
Schools are also guaranteed to play at least one further fixture in the New Year in the play-off phase ensuring players will get a minimum of five competitive fixtures in the Senior Cup this season.
WATCH: @ArdscoilRisLimk players on pitch at Thomond Park for first round robin fixture in new-look @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Senior Cup v Munster CSP. Kick-off 6.30pm #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport #MSSC #Munster pic.twitter.com/sWuqAfjVr3— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 2, 2019
A 'B' school qualifier will also be involved in the play-off phase of the competition in the New Year.
The Munster CSP side will be unable to win the Munster Schools Senior Cup and the side's interest in the competition will end following the conclusion of the round robin stage.
The creation of the amalgamation side allows players who would not other play against the leading rugby schools in the province an opportunity to do so.
Árdscoil Ris' Group A also features Castletroy College, who travel to Bandon Grammar School on Wednesday next, October 9, as well as PBC, of Cork.
It finishes @ArdscoilRisLimk 29 Munster CSP 31 in a belter of a Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A fixture at Thomond Park. ASR & amalgamation side share 10 tries in exciting contest #LLSport @asobrfc @LimkLeaderSport #MSSC pic.twitter.com/LLmYvEQ2nM— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 2, 2019
The Árdscoil Ris coaching team this season includes head coach Robbie Bourke, a former ASR student who has played All-Ireland League rugby with UL-Bohemian as well as forwards coaches, former Ireland U20 prop Joey Conway, who plays with UL-Bohs, and Shannon RFCs Tony Cusack.
The backs coach with the Árdscoil Ris Senior Cup team is Jack O'Donnell, of Shannon, while Darragh Kennedy is team physio.
Enda Gavigan is team manager. He has also been Munster U18 schools manager in 2019. Will Hughes is conditioner with the squad.
ARDSCOIL RIS: Paddy Hassett; Eoghan Collins, Killian Dineen, Alex O’Halloran, Lochlainn O’Keefe; John Moloney, Ian Leonard; Alex Long, James White, Feidhlim Barry; Cian O’Reilly, Oran O’Reilly; Darragh Dineen, Ben McEnery, Jack Ward-Murphy. Replacements: Josh Moore, Killian Sexton, Ronan Carew, Adam Kennedy, Steven Mitchell, Eoghan Ryan, Rory Desmond, Darragh Shine.
MUNSTER CSP: Seamus Lyne; Jaymes O’Sullivan, Conor McMahon, James Finn, Ihechi Oji; Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlin; Matthew McCarthy, Dylan Murphy, Darragh McCarthy; Jay Traynor, Diarmuid Dennehy; Edwin Edogbo, Patrick Cronin, Jack O’Sullivan. Replacements: Jack O’Sullivan, Kian Regan, Daniel McCarthy, David Bamidele, Ciaran Vaughan, Sam Quinlan, Conall Whelan, Fabien Loughrey.
REFEREE: Joy Neville (IRFU)