Monday 20 November 2017

Star-studded PBC can sneak it

PBC v Rockwell, Musgrave Park, 3.0, P Fitzgibbon (MRR)

Rockwell are determined to avoid an unwanted hat-trick of final defeats as they face the team that beat them 22-10 in last year's decider.

Ireland U-18 lock Sean McCarthy has been lost to injury, but with six of last season's side returning, hopes are high that the Tipp school could land the trophy for the first time since 2001.

Munster Schools prop Cian O'Donnell captains a talented outfit in which Richard Moran, Luke Cahill and Brian Haugh are key figures. Centres Killian Kiely and Harry McNulty, wing Shaun Horgan and full-back Donagh McGillycuddy have also worn the Munster red.

Early success over Bandon was followed by an emphatic 33-13 victory over St Munchin's. But hard-fought slogs against Ard Scoil (8-3) and Christians (13-9) has Rockwell well prepared for the guaranteed physical onslaught this afternoon.

Pres, of course, are seeking back-to-back titles. The Cork side can call on five of last year's side, flanker Jack Duffy, centre Ross Caplice and full-back Seamus Glynn all started the final; prop Killian Kingston and Ryan Murphy -- who skippers the side from No 8 -- came off the bench.

Duffy will be completing a remarkable fourth cup campaign at this level. He is one of eight representative players in a star-studded side. Pres have been bolstered by the return of Cork minor hurler John Fitzgerald to their boiler house alongside Paul Derham.

In accounting for Crescent (23-12) in the semis, the champions completed a Limerick hat-trick, having earlier beaten Glenstal (21-3) and Munchin's (17-6).

So, the stage is set as Rockwell seek title No 24, while Pres chase their 29th, which would pull them one ahead of city rivals Christians.

Take Pres to retain their crown, but it could be close -- very, very close.

Verdict: PBC

PBC -- S Glynn; S Dinan, R Scannell, R Caplice, J Kiernan; E Mills, C Banon; B Scott, W Foley, K Kingston; P Derham, J Fitzgerald; A Hudson, J Duffy, R Murphy (capt). Reps: D Keohane, D Horgan, A Slattery, B Fitzgerald, I Silke, D Evans, I O'Donoghue.

Rockwell -- D McGillycuddy; S Horgan, H McNulty, K Kiely, R Jermyn; C Holland, B Haugh; C O'Donnell (capt), D Mulcahy, MJ Murphy; N Flynn, A O'Sullivan; R Moran, S Dwyer, L Cahill. Reps: A Sweeney, E Phelan, D Kennedy, C Ryan, L McGrane, A Lynch, D Johnston.

Tony Ward

Irish Independent

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