Crescent progress to Munster Senior Cup final after barnstorming second half display

The Limerick school scored 33 unanswered points against Castletroy at Thomond Park.

Crescent's Conor Philips touches down for a try.
Crescent's Conor Philips touches down for a try.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Crescent 33

Castletroy 12

CRESCENT COLLEGE SCORED 33 unanswered points in the second half of today’s Munster Schools Senior Cup semi-final to claim a 33-12 victory over Castletroy College.

It was a tale of two halves played in near perfect conditions at Thomond Park, with sides playing it safe in the opening exchanges.

Contestable box kicks were a running theme to begin with, but it was Crescent who would impose themselves more prominently in the first period.

Castletroy’s defence remained resolute as Crescent varied their attacking approach through forward and back play, but when the outstanding Alan Fitzgerald turned over a ball on the deck, scrum half Stephen Atkinson’s attempted clearance was charged down.

Crescent’s Jack Henchy looked certain to score but a stunning defensive effort from Ronan McDonnell somehow held him up over the line.

Crescent again came close off the resulting five-metre scrum, but prop Joey Conway got a crucial turnover close to the line allowing Castletroy to clear their lines.

The Newtown school then began to find their feet in attack, but when outhalf Heuston had the opportunity to put Castetroy ahead after 15 minutes, he was off the mark from 40 metres out.

Off the resulting 22 drop out, Hueston was shoulder charged late by Crescent second row John Blake, who was sent to the bin as a result.

Castletroy turned down the points, and after a lineout saw their maul stopped just short, hooker Mark O’Mara and second row Sean English made the hard yards with carries before scrumhalf Atkinson darted over to the right of the posts.

Heuston converted and Castletroy led 7-0 after 24 minutes. Crescent again infringed at the ruck soon after and when Heuston’s penalty kick put them within 5 metres of the opposition line, an intricate lineout move saw prop Conor Myers barrel his way over for 12-0 in the corner.

Heuston was wide with the convert but Comp, who were still down to 14 men looked to be in serious trouble.

Castletroy dominated the remainder of the half, but Crescent’s defence held firm and the score remained the same at the break.

Dejected Castletroy players after the game Dejected Castletroy players at the final whistle. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

After the interval, Crescent were a different animal. Full back Hurley should have registered his side’s first score from the tee, put pulled his penalty attempt left and wide five minutes into the second half.

Castletroy were struggling to cope with the pace of the game, and when Comp began to find holes in the defence they got over the line, only to be somehow held up by Fitzgerald.

They did eventually get over moments later when a hard line from replacement Peter Ian Hickey saw him get enough of the ball on the whitewash to be awarded the try.

Hurley added the extras and it was back to a one score game.

Almost instantaneously, Comp were in again. From a scrum, outhalf Hanly hit Calvin Nash on an ‘overs line’ which sent him careering through the defence.

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He then unselfishly found his fullback Hurley who ran in untouched from the 22.

Converting his own try, he put Crescent in the lead for the first time, and the game was on a knife-edge.

Castletroy regrouped, and when awarded a penalty on the 22 metre line to the left of the posts, they miraculously turned down the shot at goal.

They instead went to the corner, and when they were turned over short of the line it proved to be the wrong call.

With 20 minutes remaining, a miss-hit Garryowen from Crescent scrumhalf Jack Lyons was expertly gathered by Winger Conor Phillips who evaded several tackles to sprint 40 metres to the line.

Hurley was narrowly wide from the touchline but Comp were full value for their 19-12 lead. Castletroy were beginning to tire, but Crescent were growing as the game went on.

Relentless phases saw the impenetrable Castletroy defence slip off tackles, and when Captain Bailey Faloon got the ball 5 metres out there was no stopping him.

26-12 after Hurley’s convert and the game was slipping out of Castletroy’s reach.

They did rally late on, but when Crescent went through the phases near the 22, centre Billy O’Hora jinked his way through the defence to rubber stamp a 33-12 victory.

Crescent will meet Christian Brothers College in the final on Sunday March 13, in what is a repeat of the opening round fixture.

Scorers for Crescent: Billy O’Hora, Bailey Faloon, Daniel Hurley, Peter Ian Blake, Conor Phillips; 1 try each. Daniel Hurley, 4 conversions.

Scorers for Castletroy: Stephen Atkinson, Conor Myers 1 try each. Jamie Heuston, 1 conversion.

Crescent College: Daniel Hurley; Jake Fehilly, Calvin Nash, Billy O’Hora, Conor Phillips; Mathew Hanly, Jack Lyons, Jack Henchy, Jason Barry, Thomas Connolly; John Blake, Fintan Coleman; Niall Mulcahy, Daniel Feasey, Bailey Faloon (Captain).

Replacements: Michael Sheahen, Anson Thai, Scott Leahy, Peter Ian Hickey, Mark Edwards, Mark Shanahan, Aaron Cosgrove, Eoin O’Halloran.

Castletroy College: Shane Hogan; Shane Mullins, Ronan McDonnell, Paul Clancy, Muiris Rowsome; Jamie Heuston, Stephen Atkinson, Joey Conway, Mark O’Mara, Conor Myers; Sean Fitzpatrick, Sean English; Darragh O’Neill, Niall O’Shea (Captain), Dylan Reeves-Wasik.

Replacements: Adam Myers, Mark Bromell, Evan Slattery, Eoin Hourigan, Conor Bermingham, Conor Lyons, Conor Cosgrave, Eoghan Carew.

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Daragh Frawley

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