Castletroy College's Jack Oliver about to claim possession from the back of a scrum during their clash with PBC, of Cork, in the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup in Castletroy on Wednesday
GRITTY Castletroy College earned a well deserved 0-0 draw with Cork heavyweights PBC in their Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A fixture played in filthy wet and windy conditions in Castletroy College on Wednesday afternoon.
The result ensures that Castletroy College remain unbeaten after their opening two fixtures in this season's new-look Senior Cup.
The Newtown school had opened their Group A campaign with an impressive 18-7 victory away to Bandon Grammar School in West Cork.
Castletroy College will be the more pleased to have come through Wednesday's hard fought fixture with a share of the spoils against a Pres' side who are fancied to be in the shake-up for Cup glory next March.
This was a far more entertaining game than the scoreline might suggest. Both sides would certainly have opted for a kick at goal had this been a knock out fixture rather than choosing to kick to touch when scoreable penalties were awarded during the game.
WATCH: Closing phases of play as it finished @CastletroyC 0 @pbcrugby 0 in hard fought @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A tie at a very wet Castletroy. Huge endeavour from both sides #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport #MSSC pic.twitter.com/BaqtILP6fs— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 23, 2019
The Cork school, having their first outing of the campaign, did enjoy a greater amount of possession over the 70 minutes, but Castletroy's resolve and resilience was hugely impressive.
The home side tackled tenaciously throughout in the wet and slippery conditions, while their set-piece, both scrum and line-out, functioned well.
Hugely influential half-backs, Jack Oliver at nine, and the recently returned-from-injury Michael O'Hanrahan at out-half, controlled the game exceptionally well, both players using possession intelligently and pinning their opponents back at every opportunity.
WATCH: Big defensive effort from home side keeps score @CastletroyC 0 @pbcrugby 0 after 24 mins in @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A game in Castletroy #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport #MSSC pic.twitter.com/wURN77MXIu— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 23, 2019
Each of the Castletroy forwards contributed handsomely to this win, rolling their sleeves up and showing a huge appetite for work. A high workrate up front was always going to be crucial in the wet conditions and given the physical size of the visiting forwards.
It was always going to be an arm wrestle of a contest given the unfavourable weather conditions which made good handling and any decent continuity play extremely difficult.
Second rows John Moloney and John Toland worked hard in Castletroy's engine room, while flanker Paul O'Shea carried superbly in tough conditions.
Remains @CastletroyC 0 @pbcrugby 0 at half-time in @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Senior Cup Group A fixture at Castletroy. Although scoreless, huge amount of industry & endeavour from both sides in very wet conditions #LLSport @LimkLeaderSport #MSSC pic.twitter.com/mU5bU9tbSW— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) October 23, 2019
The Castletroy forward effort was all the more impressive given that the home side suffered two unfortunate injuries in the pack over the course of the game.
Centre Sam Hanrahan was also highly influential for the home side, both with ball in hand and defensively.
Under the new format of the competition, the competing teams in this season's Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup are divided into two groups of five teams each.
Group A also includes the Munster Club Select Player (CSP) amalgamation side.
Each competing school will play four round robin fixtures before Christmas in the new-look Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup 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 competition.
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.
Castletroy College now have two fixtures remaining in Group A of the Senior Cup.
Next up for the Limerick school is a November 13 date with amalgamation side Munster CSP at UL 4G rugby pitch at 6.30pm, while the round robin phase is completed with a November 26 meeting with local rivals Ardscoil Ris.
CASTLETROY COLLEGE: Evan O'Halloran; Louis Cunneen, Aiden Walter, Sam Hanrahan, Mark Lyons; Michael O'Hanrahan, Jack Oliver; Jason McCormack, Dean McGinn, Robert Magill; John Toland, John Moloney; Jamie McNamara, Paul O'Shea, Dylan McMahon. Replacements: Declan Aylward, Nesta Nyamakazi, Oisin O'Shea, Sean Quirke, Lee Bennett, Brian Murphy, Luke Heuston, Jason Aylward.
Coaching Team: Bernard King; Darragh Frawley; Niall O'Shea; Nathan Randles; Hillary Cleary S&C; Paul Harmon S&C.
PBC, CORK: Adam O'Brien; David McCarthy, Daniel Squires, Peter Hyland, James Keohane; Darragh French, Liam Ormond; Ciaran O'Connor, Billy Kingston, Darragh McSweeney; David O'Halloran, Sam O'Sullivan; Jack Kelleher, John Forde, Alex Kendellan. Replacements: Ben Comiskey, James McCarthy, Keelan Cronin, Mark Deane, Jacob O'Brien, Tom Gough, Billy Kiernan, Niall Smith.
REFEREE: Peter Roche (IRFU)