WATCH: Hat-trick hero Pepper too hot to handle as St Munchin's see off Ardscoil in Munster Schools Junior Cup

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, Thomond Park

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, Thomond Park

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Hat-trick hero Pepper too hot to handle as St Munchin's see off Ardscoil in Munster Schools Junior Cup

St Munchin’s full back, Oisin Pepper scores the second of his three tries in their Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Junior Cup semi-final win over Ardscoil Ris at Thomond Park. Picture: Dermot Lynch

A HAT-TRICK of tries from full-back Oisin Pepper guided clinical St Munchin’s College to an impressive 38-15 Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Junior Cup semi-final victory over local rivals Árdscoil Rís at Thomond Park on Wednesday afternoon.

St Munchin’s, who will face CBC, of Cork, in the final in Limerick later this month, outscored their Limerick rivals by six tries to two to reach the showpiece decider.

The Corbally side will be appearing in their third successive final at Junior Cup level and will be hoping to win the title for a second time in three years following their 2018 final success.

St Munchin's clost heavily to CBC in their previous meeting with the Cork side at Musgrave Park last month. However, their have been signs in their most recent fixtures that the Limerick side has improved significantly since that defeat to Christians'.

St Munchin’s fresh from their quarter-final win over a fancied PBC side at the Markets Field, raced into a 7-0 lead on five minutes.

After an excellent passage of patient, controlled play from their forwards deep inside the Ardscoil ‘22, flanker Harry Bennis dotted down. Cillian O’Connor added the extras.

However, resilient Ardscoil hit back immediately with 10 unanswered points thanks to a converted try, scored by Scott Gleeson, and a Harry Long conversion and penalty.

The see saw nature of the scoring continued however when St Munchin’s hit the front again as full-back Oisin Pepper collected a well-directed crossfield kick to score.

O’Connor’s excellent conversion made it 14-10.

St Munchin's might well have added to their lead soon after but an excellent tackle from Ardscoll out-half Brian O'Keeffe prevented their number eight Oisin Minogue from getting over in the left corner. 

St Munchin’s did increase their advantage on 23 minutes, however, when Pepper bagged his second try of the game, following neat play between out-half O’Connor and winger Josh McCarthy-Burbage.

The reliable O’Connor converted for 21-10.

St Munchin’s remained on top as the half wore on, thanks in no small way to their excellent back-row of Oisin Minogue, Bennis and Danny Williamson.

Half-backs O'Connor and scrum-half Gordon Wood, son of former Munster, Ireland and Lions hooker Keith Wood, controlled the derby fixture impressively.

Impressive flanker Bennis struck for St Munchin’s fourth try at the start of the second half, following an excellent break from centre Adam Cusack, to stretch their lead to 26-10.

Full-back Pepper completed his hat-trick of tries in the 38th minute when showing an excellent turn of pace down the right wing to increase his side's advantage to 31-10.

To their credit, Ardscoil Ris, with Harry Long impressing in the centre, hit back and full-back Andrew Lyons blitzed over for a fine individual try to reduce the gap between the sides to 16 points, 31-15.

However, St Munchin’s had the final say as number eight Minogue, son of former Ireland women's number eight Rosie Foley, dotted down late on with O’Connor converting to complete the scoring.

SCORERS: St Munchin's College: Oisin Pepper three tries, Harry Bennis two tries, Oisin Minogue try. Cillian O'Connor four cons. Ardscoil Ris: Andrew Lyons, Scott Gleeson try each, Harry Long pen, con.

St Munchin's college: Oisin Pepper; Josh McCarthy Burbage, Adam Cusack, Conor McCarthy, Eoin Walsh; Cillian O'Connor, Gordon Wood; Eoin Sarsfield, Sean Rice, Conor Ward; Mark Walsh, Alex Finn; Danny Williamson, Harry Bennis, Oisin Minogue. Replacements: Ben McCarthy, Charlie Deedigan, Peter Dougan, Anthony Foley, Rian Burke, Ben Quane, Joseph Noonan, Azad Mohamad, Eoin McGurian, Rory McDermott.

Árdscoil Rís: Andrew Lyons; Harry Cowton, Sam Brown, Harry Long, Alan Fitzgerald; Brian O'Keefe, Evin Crowe; Emmet Calvey, Killian McNamara, James O'Mara; Darragh Custy, Adam Shawyer; Scott Gleeson, Jamie O'Mahony, Thomas Collins. Replacements: Joe Costelloe, Adam McMahon, Sam Higgins, Jake Higgins, Luke Murphy, Matthew Danaher, Alex Kennedy, Adam Jordan, Aaron Byrnes, Aaron Rush, Aaron McNamara.

Referee: Joy Neville (MAR)