Wednesday 11 December 2019

Scott wary of physical Rockwell in heavyweight bout

Hugh Farrelly

TWO heavyweights go head-to-head this afternoon when PBC Cork take on Rockwell College in a Cork versus Tipperary Munster Schools Senior Cup final (3.0) which should draw a healthy attendance to Thomond Park.

'Pres' have the better record in this competition with 27 senior schools titles compared to 23 won by Rockwell, who were defeated by CBC Cork in last year's final.

PBC's most recent triumph was in 2007 while the Tipperary school have to go back to 2001. Much of the anticipation ahead of this clash stems from the fact that the teams have yet to meet this year and both sides impressed on their paths to final.

Pres had a facile 30-3 win over St Munchin's in the semi-final replay having been held to a 10-10 draw in the first installment at Tom Clifford Park. Rockwell had a thrilling semi-final victory over Castletroy when out-half JJ Hanrahan dropped the winning goal in injury-time in Clanwilliam.

Pres are coached by former Dolphin and Ireland U-21 No 8 Peter Scott and he has a healthy respect for the Tipperary school's back-row and for No 10 Hanrahan.

"They have a superb back-row, very skilful and very physical and Hanrahan is extremely talented at out-half," said Scott.

"We haven't played Rockwell this year which is unusual so there will be an element of working each other out in the final.

"Munchin's nearly caught us in the semi-final, they were physical and we were lucky to get out of Tom Clifford with a draw but the replay went a lot better last week," added Scott.

"It's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks but now it's just about getting heads and minds right for the final."

If Rockwell have a strong back-row, Pres can call on the talented Cathal O'Flaherty at No 8, who combines physical size with footballing ability in a manner that has been likened to Jamie Heaslip's.

Dave O'Mahony is a commanding presence in the air while prop Niall Scannell is a figurehead in the pack and one who Scott says should be ear-marked for senior development in a position where Ireland are short on depth. This has the makings of a very close contest with the place-kicking of PBC's Sean Og Murphy and Rockwell's Hanrahan certain to have a big say on the outcome.

However, the fact that Pres are battle-hardened having played twice against Munchin's since Rockwell won their semi-final on March 3, could give the Cork side a slight edge.

Verdict: PBC Cork

PBC CORK -- S Glynn; R Caplice, J Costigan, D Horgan, E Dennehy; S Óg Murphy, R Barry; C Keane, B Vaughan, N Scannell; R Herlihy, D O'Mahony; B Carroll, J Duffy, C O'Flaherty.

ROCKWELL (Probable) -- B O'Rahilly; S Horgan, H McNulty, D McGillicuddy, R Mullane; JJ Hanrahan, T Rafferty; T Doyle, R Moran, C O'Donnell; S McCarthy, S McGuire; S Buckley (capt), J Meagher, L Cahill.

Ref -- L Colgan.

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