Tipperary's Rockwell College survived a late second half scare from Castletroy (Limerick) to advance to the quarter final of the Munster Senior Schools Rugby Cup, in a week when a former Rockwell captain was named on the Ireland U20s Six Nations panel.
Rockwell opened strongly with the wind at their backs and were rewarded with a well taken try by no. 11 Conor Pearson to the right of the posts. Jake Flannery narrowly kicked the conversion to the left of the posts.
Conall Kennedy made some terrific tackles in this period to deny Castletroy’s attempted advances, and Jake then added a further three points from a penalty 15 minutes into the game.
Three minutes later a brilliant break through by full back Ryan O’Sullivan saw him offload to Dylan Farrelly who neatly weaved through defenders to go over the line and touch down, while Jake Flannery added the extras.
Rockwell went for the jugular with their tails up - they pummelled the Castletroy backline for the next ten minutes and were rewarded with two penalties. They elected to kick to touch but infringed from both when the kick for posts might have been the wiser choice. Despite their territorial superiority, Rockwell went in at half time only 15-0 to the good.
Playing the second half with conditions in their favour, Castletroy tested Rockwell’s resolve but were met with resolute defending and were driven back any time they entered Rockwell’s 22. Sean Madden and Joseph Johnson were moving at speed into the line, creating all sorts of problems for the Rockwell defence. They were rewarded 12 minutes into the second half with a beautiful kick through by Michael O'Halloran and pick up by J. Johnson to score under the Rockwell posts - an excellent individual score which was converted by Sam Burns.
Jack Harney was an outstanding leader, Conall Kennedy and Robert Browne at second row excelled, Ryan O'Sullivan cleaned up at full back, while the Ryan brothers were a proverbial thorn in the Castletroy side with their pace and physique.
Rockwell displayed great guile throughout and were more physically dominant. However, they made too many handling errors and will need to improve greatly to get past Crescent in Thomond Park.
Coach, Kevin Leamy, stated that they were happy to get over the line and recognises that there is still work to be done.
Rockwell: Ryan O’Sullivan, Conor Pearson Jack Hunt, Andrew Daly, Dylan Farrelly, Jake Flannery, Oisin Mangan, Darragh Molloy, James O’Meara, Brendan Ryan, Stephen Grogan, Robert Browne, Conall Kennedy, Jack Harney, Ciaran Ryan.
Replacements: Tom Dowling, Tom Russell, Cathal Hayes, Niall O’Hanrahan (58 for S. Grogan), Harry Tobin, John O’Sullivan (65 for O. Mangan) , Maurice O’Sullivan ( 65 for J. Hunt), Sean Cotter (68 for D. Farrelly).