O'Shea double ends Crescent's long wait
TWO tries from full-back Greg O'Shea helped Crescent College secure the title for the first time since 1991 at Musgrave Park yesterday.
It was a good all-round team performance from the Limerick boys. They defended well in the face of pressure from Christian Brothers College, especially early in the second half, and displayed a greater cutting edge in attack, taking their chances with greater efficiency than their Cork rivals.
After an even opening, Christians took the lead in the 14th minute. From a line-out on the right, they worked the ball through a number of phases before out-half Sean Quill touched down, taking an off-load from scrum-half Ryan Foley just before the line.
Foley missed the conversion, however, and eight minutes later Crescent were level, O'Shea rounding off a good move involving Gearoid Lyons, Diarmuid Dee and Greg Barry as they moved the play swiftly across the field.
Captain Dee, playing as a flanker, converted to give his side the lead and then sent a penalty over on the stroke of half-time, after the Christians backs had been offside at a line-out, to leave it 10-5 at the interval.
Foley cut the deficit to two points within three minutes of the restart, but that was as close as the Cork boys would come, despite having the majority of the play.
Right winger Chris McAuliffe was almost in after replacement Joe Dowling made a good break but he was denied by a defiant David Culhane tackle.
Then, with 14 minutes left, Dowling was inches from crossing but solid defending by Crescent saw the ball turned over and the danger cleared.
Soon after, Crescent as good as clinched the game when O'Shea, after good passing, embarked on a weaving run from half-way before touching down under the posts and converting himself to leave it 17-8 with eight minutes remaining.
Christians attempted to exert pressure again after that and No 8 Pat Leahy did score a try in injury-time, but it was too little, too late.
CRESCENT COLLEGE -- G O'Shea; J Frawley, D Culhane, G Barry, M Mulvihill; G Lyons, G Fitzgerald; S McGee (J O'Connell 60), J Green, S Gleeson; C Blake, E Casserly; J Sheehan, D Dee, J Dinneen.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS COLLEGE -- C Monaghan; C McAuliffe (T Quinlan 53), A Finn, J Whooley, A McCarthy; S Quill, R Foley; J Corbett, C Slowey, R Burke; D O'Brien (J Dowling 33), D Moloney; T Arrigan, R O'Sullivan, P Leahy.
Ref -- D McCormack (MAR).