Dooradoyle (file photo) Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

2008 champs Castletroy squeeze past Glenstal in Munster Senior Cup

Tries from Alan Fitzgerald and Sean English were crucial for the Limerick side.

Castletroy 18

Glenstal 16

2008 Munster Schools Senior Cup winners Castletroy are through to the quarter-finals after a ferociously tight encounter with Limerick rivals Glenstal.

Having come out on top of the same fixture in this season’s City Cup final, Castletroy were the slight favourites going into this game.

Playing under lights in front of a sizeable crowd in Dooradoyle, both sides were incredibly physical from the off. After Glenstal infringed at a ruck close to their line, influential out-half Jamie Hueston gave Castletroy a 3-0 lead in the third minute.

Both sides adopted a kicking game in the opening half, with Stephen Atkinson and Hueston opting for contestable kicks, and Glenstal out-half Ben Healy pinning Castletroy back with some very impressive tactical kicking.

When Castletroy were adjudged to have been offside in midfield, Healy landed his first penalty of the afternoon to level the tie. With ill discipline for both sides becoming the theme, penalties continued to mount.

Hueston was off target for Castletroy with his second penalty attempt, but when Glenstal were awarded a penalty 40 metres out on the right hand side, Healy superbly dissected the posts to give Glenstal a 6-3 lead after 20 minutes. Hueston made amends for his earlier miss with well-taken shot at goal soon after.

Glenstal then began to put phases together, and when second row Shane Downes made an excellent linebreak, he found teammate Mark Fleming, who went over in the corner for the opening try. Healy nailed a magnificent touchline conversion into a slight breeze, and Glenstal led 13-6.

Castletroy were dealt a blow when out-half Hueston was forced off with a shoulder injury on the half-hour mark, leading to a reshuffle that saw Atkinson move from scrum-half to out-half and Conor Lyons introduced off the bench.

When Castletroy were awarded a penalty 25 metres from goal, they opted against the posts and instead went to the corner. It proved to be the right call from captain Niall O’Shea, as their powerful maul got over the tryline with number eight Alan Fitzgerald scoring.

Atkinson – who had taken over the kicking duties – missed the conversion, leaving Castletroy trailing 13-11 at half time.

After the interval, the rain began to pour, which led to both teams keeping the game tight. Castletroy carried with serious intent as Fitzgerald and second row Sean English became particularly prominent with ball in hand.

Glenstal’s defence was answering the questions posed, but when English got the ball five metres out, the giant lock used every inch of his frame to dot down under the posts. Atkinson tapped over the conversion and Castletroy found themselves 18-13 in front.

From there, the game became more disjointed with Fitzgerald and English leaving the pitch through injury. Glenstal scrum half Rory Johnston was then sin binned for an off-the-ball incident, and Castletroy’s Darragh O’Neill followed him to the bin for repeated team infringements at the ruck.

Healy’s kicking from hand was keeping Glenstal in the right areas of the pitch, and after he hit the post with a penalty from long range, Castletroy were lucky to get away with a bouncing ball close to their try line.

Accidental offside in front of the posts was the right call from the referee with ten minutes remaining, and Healy made no mistake to leave the game at 18-16.

By now the conditions had deteriorated and both teams had used their benches to full effect. Try as they might, Glenstal couldn’t breach the Castletroy defence and the 2008 champions held on to win.

Castletroy will hope their injuries aren’t serious, and Glenstal will know that they can still make a mark on this year’s tournament.

Castletroy scorers:

Tries: Alan Fitzgerald, Sean English

Conversion: Stephen Atkinson (1)

Penalties: Jamie Hueston (2)

Glenstal scorers:

Try: Mark Fleming

Conversion: Ben Healy

Penalties: Ben Healy (3)

Castletroy: Shane Hogan; Shane Mullins, Ronan McDonnell, Paul Clancy, Muiris Rowsome; Jamie Heuston, Stephen Atkinson; Joey Conway, Darragh O’Neill, Conor Myers; Evan Slattery, Sean English; Dylan Reeves-Wasik, Niall O’Shea (captain), Alan Fitzgerald.

Replacements: Mike Ryan, Adam Myers, Sean Fitzpatrick, Eoin Hourigan, Conor Bermingham, Conor Lyons, Eoghan Carew, Gerard Clancy, Conor Cosgrove, Sean Mulkern.

Glenstal Abbey: Jamie Mawhinney; Ben Moloney, Luke Fitzgerald, Jack Stafford (captain), Gordon Daly; Ben Healy, Rory Johnston; Paddy Moloney, George Downing, Eoin Bergin; Theo Broderick, Shane Downes; Rory Clarke, Mark Fleming, Johnny Williams.

Replacements: Sean Scanlon Garry, Henry Downing, John McMahon, Conor Booth, Thanade McCoole, Declan Floyd, Conan O’Sullivan, Jack O’Mahony.

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