Saturday 21 October 2017

Outstanding PBC centre French leads the way for class of 2017

The Irish Independent Munster Schools Team of the Year. Photo: Sportsfile
The Irish Independent Munster Schools Team of the Year. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

PBC had to wait seven years to end their Senior Cup drought but when they managed to do so with a final win over Glenstal, they drew level with their Cork rivals CBC as being Munster's most successful school on 29 titles each.

Pres' outstanding centre Sean French scored all 11 of his side's points in the decider, and he takes his place in this year's Irish Independent team of the tournament.

Ard Scoil Rís’ Craig Casey receives his award from Munster Rugby domestic game committee chairman Bertie Smith and Tony Ward. Photo: Sportsfile
Ard Scoil Rís’ Craig Casey receives his award from Munster Rugby domestic game committee chairman Bertie Smith and Tony Ward. Photo: Sportsfile

French's brilliant individual try in the semi-final win over Bandon Grammar was arguably the stand out moment of the tournament.

Trailing 3-0 in the second half and facing the prospect of one of the biggest shocks in schools history, French grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

He ran a brilliant line and played an audacious chip over the defence before showing exquisite skill to control the ball and score in the corner.

No 8 Jack O'Sullivan, who played a central role in creating French's decisive try in the final at Thomond Park, is also included, as is tighthead prop Bryan O'Connor.

PBC centre Sean French. Photo: Sportsfile
PBC centre Sean French. Photo: Sportsfile

Glenstal managed to reach their first final in 47 years but that will come as little consolation to this year's crop who were narrowly edged out.

Luke Fitzgerald was a threat throughout and is named in midfield alongside French, while out-half Ben Healy, who pulled the strings brilliantly, is also recognised.

Bandon's rise in recent years has been remarkable and they proved again that they are a coming force.

Full-back Sean Hudson was lethal with ball in hand, with loosehead James French also earning a place in the team of the tournament after a series of powerful displays.

Ardscoil Ris' agonising wait for a first title goes on but in scrum-half Craig Casey they had a real livewire. Roy Whelan also gets the nod for his towering displays in the engine room alongside Paddy Kelly, who is St Munchin's College's sole representative.

Frustrating

It was a frustrating campaign for both CBC and Crescent Comp but Timmy Duggan's performances on the wing earns him the nod for the Limerick school, with flanker Sean Duffy doing the same for Christians. Castletroy's Muris Rowsome makes up the backline on the right wing.

St Clement's again made progress this season and their hooker Derry Gleeson was excellent. Rockwell's blindside flanker Ciaran Ryan showed plenty of promise as he completes the team of the tournament.

Munster Schools Top XV - Sean Hudson (Bandon Grammar); Muiris Rowsome (Castletroy), Sean French (PBC), Luke Fitzgerald (Glenstal), Timmy Duggan (Crescent); Ben Healy (Glenstal), Craig Casey (Ardscoil Ris); James French (Bandon Grammar), Derry Gleeson (St Clements), Bryan O'Connor (Pbc), Paddy Kelly (St Munchin's), Roy Whelan (Ard Scoil Ris); Ciaran Ryan (Rockwell), Sean Duffy (Cbc), Jack O'Sullivan (Pbc).

Irish Independent

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