Sunday 18 March 2018

Junior near-misses fuel CBC drive for senior glory

CBC captain Daire Feeney. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
CBC captain Daire Feeney. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Tony Ward

Tony Ward

After a seven-year gap CBC can move one ahead of great city rivals PBC in the overall roll of honour when they take on Crescent College in the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup final at Irish Independent Park tomorrow (2.0).

Pres and Christians lead the way on 28 titles apiece, with Rockwell next in line on 26 outright wins.

For Crescent spent a long time in the wilderness at senior level after their 1994 success, but the last four years has represented a real purple patch with back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014 and now this chance to make it three in four and 11 in total.

As with Blackrock and St Michael's in Leinster, the groundwork being laid at Junior level - six final appearances in the last seven years, embracing wins in 2010 and 2011 - is certainly paying dividends.

The nucleus of this senior group lost out in the 2013 and 2014 finals at U16 level - to Castletroy and PBC - so they have had their share of disappointment to appreciate success and what it takes to earn that winning feeling.

CBC and Crescent were drawn together in the first preliminary round of this year's competition and the double chance system saw Crescent bounce back from a 17-5 defeat to Christians at Thomond Park in an upward spiral ever since.

In Round 2 for the losers from Round 1 (a new system) they comprehensively outplayed Glenstal, who had beaten them 39-17 last year. With that win, this year's challenge was up and running.

In the quarter-final they dispatched holders Rockwell 17-5 before again raising the bar when beating highly fancied Castletroy 33-12 in the penultimate game.

For CBC a bye into Round 3 saw them dispatch the runners up from the last two years Ard Scoil 28-15 on the magnificent UL 4G pitch.

Of course the sweetest win in the run to this year's decider came against cross-city rivals PBC, 13-12 in the semi-final thereby setting up this finale on Leeside now.

Having already beaten Crescent so convincingly, CBC captain Daire Feeney will be fancied to make his way up the steps for cup No 29.

Behind him he has some outstanding operators, particularly in full-back Liam Coombes and centre Alex McHenry, while James Taylor drives a measured course at out-half.

Against that is a nicely balanced Crescent side also led by an outstanding No 8 in Bailey Faloon, while in Daniel Hurley, Billy O'Hora and the classy Calvin Nash they possess pace and innovation in abundance.

Christians will start as favourites but this is a game that could so easily go either way.

CBC (probable) - L Coombes; B Galvin, J Harrington, A McHenry, I Casey; J Taylor, R Cassidy; P Kelleher, G Good, C Leahy; R Thompson, S Duffy; R O'Neill, R Hyde and D Freeney (capt).

Crescent CC (probable) - D Hurley; J Fehilly, C Nash, B O'Hora, C Phillips; M Hanly, J Lyons; J Henchy, J Barry, T Connolly; J Blake, F Coleman; N Mulcahy, D Feasey and B Faloon (capt).

CBC v Crescent CC, Live, Setanta Ire, tomorrow, 2.0

Irish Independent

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