Report from Tom Clifford Park
Munchins came into this clash full of controlled confidence after a forty point thrashing the last time the two sides met. However, a lot of water had gone under the bridge since then and so it proved as Ardscoil fought out a tightly contested game, with fire in their bellies throughout as they eyed up an upset.
The match kicked off to a slow start as the two teams got to know each other up front, with big collisions around the ruck area going in. Indeed, some scramble defensive work to halt the respective runs of Mark Gaule and Cathal Hynes was the most that happened to get the crowd on their toes. That was soon to change though as eventually Munchin’s second row Evan Sheehan broke the ASR defense for a try after 20 minutes, making it 7-0 as outhalf Jazz Pendijito added a sweet conversion from the corner.
Despite Munchins’ early dominance though, it was now time for the underdogs to strike as Ardscoil looked solid and assured when securing ruck ball. The pressure therefore had an effect on Munchins as a penalty just outside the twenty two was slotted over by Adam McNamara
Munchins soon replied though, as when 7-3 up, they expanded the width of play, stretching the Ardscoil defense in the danger zone. Pendijito subsequently capitalized with a break through to the left of the post, sending the Shannon-siders into the break with a commanding lead.
The game then took a twist as beneath the sticks upon the Munchins try, Ardscoil’s Liam Barry saw yellow for what seemed to be for disrespect to the ref, handing SMC an extra cushion for the half ahead.
The second half kicked off and kicker Jazz Pendijito was in the spotlight again as a high tackle without any intention of wrapping earned a yellow card. A case could be made that the opponent was falling as the hit came in but referee Michael Doyle, saw it differently to the crowd and confidently granted the ten five minutes in the sin bin.
Impressively though, the leaders kept possession tight as the clock counted down to the return of their defensive leader. As a result, a rejuvenated Ardscoil with the return of Barry were denied any chance to capitalize in their best opportunity of the match.
Soon later, Pendijito returned to the fray, with the scoreline untouched -still 12-3
As in any other one moment of the game Munchins benefited from forward dominance, whether it was the drive of Cathal Hynes in the scrum, the dominance of Paddy Kelly in the lineout or the collective work at the breakdown from the pack. Likewise, when the impressive Conor Purcell had quick ball at his disposal five minutes from time it enabled Jazz Pendijito to strike through a gap, to swerve away from tackles of desperation before offloading to the onrushing winger Josh Neil to seal the deal. Munchins basics had dismantled Ard Scoil Ris’ heart and hunger and the result was now beyond doubt as Pendijito converted.
#MunsterHakaMOTM Jazz Pendijito
Ardscoil Rís Junior XV: Mark Gaule; David O’Byrne, Killian Dineen, Sean Long, Gearoid Hanrahan; Adam McNamara, Eoghain Sherlock; Eoin Healy, Stephen Cleary, Ferdia Lyons (Capt); Mark Daly, Liam Barry; Jack Hardaker, Rory Barry, Oscar Czyszczon. Replacements: Aaron Tobin, Darragh Dwane, Daniel Okeke, Gearoid Power, Gerard Higgins, Jack Ward Murphy, John Leahy, Philip Hyland.
St. Munchin’s College Junior XV: Callum Walters; David Woods, Tyrone O’Halloran, Bryan McLeish, Josh Neil; Jude Mario Pendejito, Conor Purcell; Cathal Hynes, Keith Hyland, Evan Sheehan O’Donnell; Paddy Kelly, Alex Casey; Mark Crowe (Capt), Luke Kelly, Jack Kingston. Replacements: Hiram Wood Hennessy, Evan Kelly, Conor Duggan, Jamie Hamilton, Zack Moloney, Donnacha O’Callaghan, Sean Doyle, David Ryan