Munster Schools U19 O’Brien Cup Final
Abbey CBS 15
High School CBS 10
The Abbey defeated Clonmel High School in this keenly contested O’Brien Cup final at Thurles on Friday. The game was tied at 10 points apiece four minutes from full time when the Abbey scored their all important second try in the corner following a period of sustained pressure. Despite the High School’s best efforts, the Abbey hung on to win the coveted Munster cup.
The game kicked off in blustery wet conditions. Abbey opened their account with a penalty from outhalf Ciaran Lowry after 6 minutes. High School were back on level terms minutes later when outhalf Darren Cass kicked a penalty for an infringement at the ruck. The game ebbed and flowed as both teams seemed well matched. Following a scrum on the High School 22, the Abbey worked a neat back row move and attacked wide. From the ensuing ruck second row Tom O’Dwyer scored the Abbey’s first try. Lowry added the conversion to put the Tipperary team 10-3 ahead at the break.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, the High School played for position putting the Abbey on the back foot early on. There was some strong running from Padraig Keating and Sean Twomey. From a lineout, the High School pack, led by Stephen Carey, mauled their way the Abbey try line only to be held up short. From the resulting ruck scrumhalf Jaco Oosthuysen scored a try for the High School. Cass kicked the conversion to level the game at 10 all.
It was nip and tuck as both sides showed a willingness to play some expansive attacking rugby. The Abbey used the pick and drive tactic quite well into the wind to keep possession, and from such move wing forward Oisin O’Meara just managed to breech a determined High School defence to score Abbey’s second try. The missed conversion gave them a 5 point lead.
And yet the High School came back looking for an equalising score. With a lineout on the Abbey’s 22, second row Joel O’Dwyer caught a great ball, only for it to be snatched by Abbey number 8 Cormac O’Donoghue who took off on a marauding run to relieve the pressure on his team. Once more, the Abbey were penalised at the ruck so the High School had one more chance with a kick to the corner. But the ball was not controlled at the ruck and it squirted into touch to be greeted by the full time whistle from the referee.
The O’Brien Cup was presented to the jubilant Abbey team by John Kelly, Secretary of Thurles RFC. He commended both schools for a terrific final. The Abbey and the High School should be congratulated for playing a very skilful and entertaining game of rugby. To have two Tipperary schools contest a Munster final illustrates the strength of rugby in the county and credit is due to the coaches and mentors of the respective schools for preparing their teams to such an impressive standard.
The Abbey will play Midleton College in the Senior Cup qualifier away to the Cork school on Wednesday, December 7, with the winner playing either Newtown School or Bandon Grammar School the following week. Both O’Brien Cup finalists have qualified for the Munster Schools Mungret Cup which will begin in January: the High School will play either Newtown School or Midleton College while the Abbey will play Bandon Grammar School.
High School: Dylan Cadogan, Ross Mulcahy, Chris Browne, Aiden Rea, Luke O’Neill, Darren Cass (C), Jaco Oosthuysen, Sean Twomey, Stephen Carey, Stuart McCleod, Ian Gibbs, Joel O’Dwyer, Zbigniew Lukasinski, David O’Callaghan, Padraig Keating. Subs used: Conor Tobin for O’Neill (35 min.), Alex Sheehan for Browne ( 65 min.)
Abbey: Emmet Fitzpatrick, Seamas Kinane, Luke Hoban, Cillian Ryan, Fintan O Murchu, Ciaran Lowry, Jake O’Halloran, Cormac O’Donoghue, Oisin O’Meara, John Richardson, Jack McLoughlin, Tom O’Dwyer, Brendan Quinlan, David Farrell, Patrick Corcoran.
Referee - Donal Duggan (M.A.R.).