Heroic Haugh ends Rockwell drought
Munster Schools Senior Final
Brian Haugh was the toast of Cashel last night for kicking Rockwell to victory against PBC in the Avonmore-sponsored decider in Cork.
The 18-year-old scrum-half landed three penalties from three in a man-of-the-match display as the Tipperary school bridged a 10-year gap since their last title. This was far from a one-man show, however, and they needed to dig deep to prevent PBC winning late on.
Having fallen short in the last two finals, Rockwell seemed to be on course for more heartache when Pres hooker Will Foley broke free in the last minute of injury-time and seemed destined to score. He would have, too, had it not been for a wonderful, try-denying tackle by Sonny O'Dwyer who held him up inches from the line.
That tackle typified the resilience that Rockwell have shown all season. Not for the first time this year, No 8 Luke Cahill proved an inspirational figure, while out-half Conor Holland marshalled his backline superbly.
PBC, who defeated Rockwell in last season's final, can stand tall after a brave performance, but they failed to hit top gear for much of the match.
In fact, it was Rockwell who dictated the terms of the opening half, and their 6-0 half-time lead failed to reflect the dominance they had shown up to then.
Time after time they probed their opponents' defence, but all they had to show for their efforts were two sweetly struck penalties from Haugh.
Rockwell began the second half as they had ended the first, but PBC's defence proved equally unyielding and as the game wore on, the Cork side began to work their way back into it.
Steven Dinan got them off the mark with a penalty midway through the half and Rory Scannell might have levelled had his long-range attempt found the target. Instead, Rockwell restored their six-point lead when Haugh split the posts from 40 metres.
Cue a frantic endgame, during which Pres finally came alive and asked serious questions of a defence that had been reduced to 14 men after Rob Jermyn was sin-binned.
Rockwell stood firm, however, and captain Cian O'Donnell was at last presented with the cup which has eluded his grasp for two seasons.
PBC -- S Glynn; S Dinan, R Scannell, R Caplice, J Kiernan; E Mills, C Bannon (D Evans 68); B Scott, W Foley, K Kingston (D Horgan 57); P Derham, J Fitzgerald; A Hudson (B Fitzgerald 47), J Duffy, R Murphy (capt).
ROCKWELL -- D McGillycuddy; S Horgan, H McNulty, K Kiely (D Johnston 65), R Jermyn; C Holland, B Haugh (A Lynch 68); C O'Donnell (capt), D Mulcahy, MJ Murphy; N Flynn, A O'Sullivan; R Moran, S O'Dwyer, L Cahill.
Ref -- P Fitzgibbon.