Christians turn screw to settle score with Ardscoil
CBS 28 Ardscoil Ris 15
Revenge was sweet for CBC as the Cork school made up for defeat at the same stage to the same opposition a year ago. But they were made to fight all the way in an entertaining quarter-final at the beautifully appointed synthetic pitch on UL's north campus.
Despite playing into a light wind in the first half, it was Christians who looked much the slicker early on as Ardscoil slowly came to terms with the high tempo set by Liam Coombes, Barry Galvin and Alex McHenry in particular.
Three times CBC threatened to break the deadlock in the opening quarter with Nathan Randles putting in a try-saving tackle on the impressive Coombes. Yet for all that early pressure it was last year's beaten finalists who posted the opening score from the free-running Conor Fitzgerald. The out-half danced his way in on 18 minutes before adding the extras.
The Cork response was immediate when Richard Cassidy scampered over. Fitzgerald then responded with a penalty for a 10-5 lead at the break to the Limerick school.
Backed by the strengthening wind in the second half, and with the CBC pack beginning to assert its physicality, it took another try-saving tackle this time from No 8 Odhran Ring to prevent a certain score from Daire Feeney. It was a short remission as James Taylor replicated Fitzgerald's first-half scoring act before adding the simple conversion for a 12-10 lead.
Amazingly, right on the restart left wing Darren Gavin raced clear to put Ardscoil 15-12 in front. Taylor levelled it up with a penalty and with the same player using the wind to telling effect, Christians took control. They took the lead in the 55th minute when the classy McHenry produced a sublime offload to send Ian Casey in.
Another Taylor penalty stretched it to 23-15 before an opportunist try from Robert Hedderman completed the scoring for a CBC side that will take stopping now.
CBC - L Coombes; B Galvin, J Harrington (R Hedderman), A McHenry, I Casey; J Taylor, R Cassidy; J Humphries (D Barry), G Good (S Bushe), C Leahy; R Thompson, S Duffy; R O'Neill (C McHugh), R Hyde (F Hennessy), D Feeney.
ARDSCOIL - E Cusack (M McMenamy); N Randles, P Ryan, P Collins, D Gavin; C Fitzgerald, C Casey; M Scallon, C Slater, J McCarthy (R Whelan), C Cannon, D O'Grady; O Bernard, L Clohessy, O Ring.
Ref - G Clancy (Munster Referees)