Report by Tom McGrath with pictures supplied by David Fogarty.
A composed Christian’s side progress to the Munster Senior Cup Semi-final after a fiery battle against Ard Scoil Rís. This game had all the make up for a real thriller and it did not disappoint. In all, six tries were scored in this sensational match.
Before the game had even kicked off we knew it was going to be a dramatic affair with both sets of supporters exchanging chants and lighting flares. A bout erupted between the two mascots on the field only ending with the Ard Scoil mascot flat on his back in the middle of the pitch!
Eventually the verbal sparring died down and the game began at a frantic pace with the backs making the most of the expansive 4G pitch. A line break from Liam Coombes looked sure to put the Cork school into an early lead but he was stopped short by an amazing tackle from Ard Scoil’s Nathan Randles.
The early pressure was mostly coming from the Cork school as the next opportunity came soon after as CBC scrumhalf Richard Cassidy broke through the defense with a superb shimmy and only for a lack of support meant he was taken down short of a try.
The momentum shifted, however, with 15 minutes on the clock, Ard Scoil star man Conor Fitzgerald sold the whole CBC back line with a well executed show-and-go 30 metres out witch set him up to score under the posts and set up an easy kick for the extra 2 points.
It only took CBC 2 minutes to reply. After winning their own ball from the kick-off, they spread it though the backs with Alex McHenry – finding Richard Cassidy with the offload to score in the corner. A rare miss from James Taylor left the try unconverted.
The game was still being played at a furious pace when Fitzgerald pointed for the posts after being awarded a penalty 45 metres from goal out on the right, he split the posts from the difficult position to make it 10-5.
Just before half CBC Captain Daire Feeney was sent to the bin for an infringement, giving Fitzgerald another go at the post but he missed left and wide to leave it 10-5 at half-time.
Both teams stuck to their expansive game plan at the beginning of the second-half, and on 45 minutes CBC should have taken the lead. Cassidy who had been electric all day opted for a quick tap penalty to bring the ball meters short from the try line, however, Feeney somehow managed to drop the ball just short from what was a certain score for the Cork side and the chance was gone.
Ard Scoil were able to kick it clear. Although this didn’t relieve pressure as from the resulting lineout CBC spread the ball to out-half James Taylor who cruised his way under the posts and converted to make it 10-12.
Ard Scoil’s response was spectacular and Peader Ryan was able to slip through the defense almost immediately after kick off, his offload looked to be knocked on by Darren Galvin before he grounded. This resulted in an angry CBC crowd who tried to make their point clear to the referee who then consulted with his touch judge, before awarding the try anyway. Fitzgerald who had been outstanding all day failed to convert the very difficult kick making the score 15-12
CBC rallied on, and when Ard Scoil were penalised 35 metres out, Taylor showed great composure to level the game at 15-15 with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The game looked certain to end in a draw with both sides in deadlock but the turning point in the game came when the CBC second row rose high, using all of his six foot 5in frame, to steal the ball from the Ard Scoil line-out on the half way line and from here CBC went through the phases and eventually Cassidy spread the ball to the backs and with a magical play McHenry off-loaded to winger, Ian Casey, who scored in the corner. Taylor’s conversion hit the post much to the delight of the Ard Scoil crowd who now knew they were still in with a chance with the game as the score was only 15-20 to CBC.
Ard Scoil lost their composure however,when CBC made two big tackles which left the backs scrambling to recover the ball and eventually the CBC replacement Declan Barry won a kickable penalty at the break down. Which Taylor converted to make it a two score game and from here CBC collected themselves and began to assert their dominance.
In the final moments of the game what can only be described as a cruel bounce of the on the artificial pitch just metres from the Ard Scoil line allowed JD O’Hea to recover the ball and run in for a try. James Taylor failed to convert meaning the Final Score was Ard Scoil 15-28 CBC
#MunsterHakaMOTM: Richard Cassidy.