Prendergast slays Christians to put Glenstal in dreamland

Clinical Glenstal Abbey powered their way to a maiden Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup title when easing past heavyweights CBC at Irish Independent Park yesterday.

The Murroe school, featuring five starters and five replacements from the 2017 final defeat to PBC, turned in a terrific display of running rugby – particularly against the wind in the second half – to upset their Corkonian opponents, who were aiming for a record 30th title.

Wind-assisted Glenstal enjoyed the lions-share of possession and territory in the opening quarter. However, it was CBC who created the first try-scoring opportunity, only for exciting centre Eoghan Barrett to be stopped by an excellent cover tackle from Glen‘ full-back Aran Egan.

Christians took a 3-0 lead when full-back Robert Hedderman slotted a 27th-minute penalty, only for Glenstal captain Ben Healy to reply on the stroke of half-time for 3-3.

Backed by the breeze in the second half, CBC looked well placed. However, Glenstal played their best rugby into the elements.

Struck

Healy kicked a 43rd-minute penalty for a 6-3 lead before centre Caolan Dooley struck for a try, following a fine break by No 8 Mark Fleming.

The see-saw nature of the scoring continued with CBC hitting back immediately through replacement prop Robert Loftus. Hedderman‘s sublime conversion from the touchline cut the gap to 11-10.

Glenstal then showed the mettle of champions. Flying winger Ronan Quinn created the initial opening with a great break up the middle of the pitch on the hour mark.

After a period of concerted pressure deep inside the CBC ‘22‘, prop Patrick Prendergast burrowed his way over from close range. Healy landed a terrific conversion to make it 18-10.

Time was now on Glenstal‘s side. However, CBC showed admirable determination to hit back for a last-gasp consolation try through winger Matthew Bowen which Hedderman duly converted. The final whistle sounded immediately after, sparking a mass pitch invasion by delighted Glenstal supporters.

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Glenstal Abbey School – A Egan; A Hogan, H Benner, C Dooley, R Quinn; B Healy (capt), A Walsh; H Boland, G Downing, P Prendergast, D Kelly, J Fitzgerald, R Leahy, C Booth, M Fleming. Reps: B Leonard for Walsh (55), M Walsh for Fitzgerald (58), R Hanly for Hogan (injured, 64), S MacKeown for Benner (67).

CBC – R Hedderman; M Bowen, E Barrett, T Downes, A O‘Connor; E Monahan, J O‘Riordan; M Donnelly, D O‘Connor, L Masters, A Ryan, C Hurley, J Willis, R Barry, Ben Roche (capt). Reps: R Loftus for Masters (injured 38), S Buckley for Willis (39), L Kahn for O‘Riordan (49), D Good for O‘Connor, C Whooley for Kahn (both 66).

REF – S Kierans (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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