Crescent College winger Brandon Nash, brother of Munster star Calvin, scores his second try in their Munster Schools Junior Cup win over Bandon Grammar School at Thomond Park Picture: Dermot Lynch
CLINICAL Crescent College Comprehensive will face either Árdscoil Rís or Rockwell College in the quarter-finals of the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Junior Cup after recording a hard fought 27-12 victory over a gritty Bandon Grammar School side at Thomond Park on Friday.
Two first half tries from winger Brandon Nash, brother of Munster star Calvin, helped Crescent into a useful 12-7 half-time lead over their West Cork opponents.
The speedy Nash had the Dooradoyle side off to the best possible start when scoring a fine individual try after just three minutes.
The second try, scored on the stroke of half-time, was an excellent team score from Crescent as they dotted down from a move which began well inside their own half with hugely influential second-row Jack Somers and centre Anthony O'Connor playing role roles before Nash dotted down.
Out-half Ciaran Campbell, who controlled the game well along with lively scrum-half partner Joe McEnery, converted the second of those tries.
Both sides deserve great credit for their enterprising approach to the game, with the emphasis on keeping ball in hand and looking to create space, with the off-load out of the tactic helping continuity in the game.
WATCH: Terrific try just on half-time has @SjCrescent 12-7 ahead of Bandon Grammar School in @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Junior Cup tie at Thomond Park #LLSport @Limerick_Leader @LimkLeaderSport #MSJC pic.twitter.com/mdtcJ7eYHY— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) January 31, 2020
Bandon's opening half try came courtesy of an intercept from inside centre Peter Symington after 25 minutes, with out-half Dylan Kicks adding the conversion.
Crescent's five point half-time lead suddenly became 10 points when the Limerick side struck for their third try.
Nash was this time to provider as the Limerick side gathered possession from a line-out close to half-way. Talented footballer Nash beat a couple of tackles, before chipping the ball astutely in behind the Bandon cover.
WATCH: At Thomond Park it's now @SjCrescent 20 Bandon Grammar School 12 after 53 mins in @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Junior Cup #LLSport @Limerick_Leader @LimkLeaderSport #MSJC pic.twitter.com/juItizAuoi— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) January 31, 2020
Speedy outside centre Jed O'Dwyer foot the foot race to the ball, beating several retreating Bandon defenders in the process before touching down.
Just as Crescent appeared to have taken a firm grip on the game with that 10-point lead, back came Bandon and their alert centre Aaron O'Reilly seized on a turnover of possession before racing clear to score. At 17-12, it was very much a case of game on.
Crescent, who last won the Munster Schools Junior Cup in 2016 and who have won three titles at this level in the last decade, will be disappointed to have conceded two tries without making the opposition earn them.
To their credit, the composed Crescent side made it a two-score game when reliable out-half Campbell slotted a 53rd minute penalty to help the home side into an eight point lead, 20-12.
A fourth try for the Seaghan Gleeson-coached Crescent late on, this time scored by replacement Luke Ryan, following good work by several players, including Mark Fitzgerald.
Campbell slotted the conversion to give the home side a 15-point winning margin.
WATCH: Mutual respect from both sets of players following @SjCrescent 27-12 @ClaytonHotels Munster Schools Junior Cup win v @bandongrammar at Thomond Park #LLSport @Limerick_Leader @LimkLeaderSport #MSJC pic.twitter.com/MOiOyLArJm— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) January 31, 2020
The Limerick side may have been somewhat flattered by the size of their win, but there was no doubting their superiority on the day and the clinical edge the winners' displayed should serve them well in their upcoming quarter-final fixture.
CRESCENT COLLEGE COMPREHENSIVE: Ryan Godfrey; Henry Ezomo, Jed O'Dwyer, Anthony O'Connor, Brandon Nash; Ciaran Campbell, Joe McEnery; Fionn Casserly, Lee O'Grady, Andrew Condon; Jack Somers, Connor Benson; Conor Clery, Andrew Ahearne, Cillian Kelly. Replacements used: Mark Fitzgerald, Jordan Power, Mark Molloy, Luke Ryan. Not used: Rory Litherland, Cormac Quinn, Ben Gallagher, Michael Cleary, Oscar Davey, Sam Hogan.
BANDON GRAMMAR SCHOOL: Paddy Gaffney; Barry Spearman, Aaron O’Reilly, Peter Symington, Daniel Lynch; Dylan Hicks, Dylan O’Driscoll; Jack O’Regan, Mitchell Connolly, Mergen Laughlin McCann, Sean Coughlan, David Abat; Shadrach Nnamani, Ben Kingston, Conor Miskella. Replacements: Harry Forsey, Adam McCarthy, Eli Higgins, Rory O’Callaghan , John O’Brien, Guillermo O’Tuama-Pascual, Conor Ryan, Jack L'Estrange, Conal O Sullivan, Andrew Kevane.
REFEREE: Niall Kendall (MAR)