McMahon try gives lucky Rockwell a narrow win

Avonmore Munster Schools Senior Cup

Avonmore Munster Schools Senior Cup

Rockwell College 5

Glenstal Abbey 3

Holders Rockwell College were a shade fortunate to advance to the Quarter Finals of the Avonmore Munster Schools Senior cup in a low scoring encounter with Glenstal Abbey from County Limerick at Clanwilliam FC on Wednesday afternoon last. Leading 5-3 with just four minutes left, Rockwell conceded a penalty ten metres in from the touch line outside their own 22 after centre Killian Kiely was caught offside. Glenstal out half Luke Bradley narrowly failed to land the kick, which would have given his side an unlikely first round victory over the Tipperary men.

The game started on a nostalgic note with a minute’s silence for the late Glenstal manager Fr Matthew Corkery who passed away suddenly last week. Glenstal settled quicker and after Bradley’s missed penalty attempt just outside the Rockwell 22 after five minutes, Rockwell finally got going with outhalf Aidan Moynihan unlucky with a similar penalty attempt at the clubhouse end.

Rockwell’s dominance and territorial advantage was beginning to pay dividends and after centre Rob Jermyn made a great run forward and handoff on his opposite number, outhalf Aidan Moynihan executed a superb cross field kick into the corner which winger Stephen McMahon brilliantly gathered ahead of his opposite number Eoin Hurley to score the game’s only try.

Moynihan failed to add the extra and Glenstal put Rockwell under pressure straight from the kick off when the rearguard spilled the ball and were caught offside. Bradley exacted full retribution from the resultant penalty to leave the score at 5-3 at the interval.

Both sides played an instantly forgettable second half with Rockwell superior in the lineouts mainly due to the jumping of second row and captain Sean McCarthy and last year’s final hero backrow Sonny O’Dwyer with senior cup newcomer James Feehan putting in a huge workrate at the breakdown.

However time and time again, with possibly the very wet conditions a factor, possession was turned over by Rockwell. Indeed with just 15 minutes to go they felt they had scored with second row Darragh Foley appearing to ground the ball after Rockwell worked through the phases but referee Shay Kerrins penalised backrow Aidan Butler for being off his feet.

However Rockwell were unable to build on this momentum and even with Glenstal backrow Rossa Dooley sent to the bin, Rockwell failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage. This was almost to cost dearly in the final minutes when Kiely was penalised for offside. However with the heavy wind having died down for the second half Bradley’s kick dropped just inches under the bar and into the hands of the grateful Kiely for the restart. Rockwell played out the remaining minutes but know that they will have to improve on this performance if they are to retain their Munster crown. Victory however means Rockwell remain at home for their quarter final tie with Castletroy, again at Clanwilliam on February 22 next while Glenstal must travel to Cork city to take on last year’s beaten finalists Presentation Brothers College.

Rockwell: D Johnston (Clonmel), A Lynch (Dublin), R Jermyn (Cloyne), C Kiely (Dungravan), S McMahon (Dungarvan), A Moynihan (Coachford), D McGagh (Waterford City), J McCormack (Camross), R Lyons (Castlelyons) 60mins), D Mulcahy (Hospital) (S McNulty (Clonmel) 40mins), J Maxwell (New Inn), S McCarthy (Castleisland)(Capt), D Foley (Clonmel), J Feehan (Laffansbridge) (C Ryan (Clonoulty 60 mins) S O’Dwyer (Thurles), A Butler (Cashel).

Glenstal : S Glesson (C), E Hurley ( C McDonagh 38mins), A Bolan, I Kenny, R Shanahan, L Bradley, A Devereux, D Higgins, C McCarthy, K Grennan, K Lynch, M O’Riordan, I MCCarthy, R Dooley , T Ryan.