Ronan Calvert reports from Thomond Park
A last gasp try from captain Kealan McMahon has given Munchin’s a win that will last long in the memory for all involved.
Munchin’s were the side with the better of the chances early on and made their dominance count when they went over for a try in the corner. Jason Kiely stepped up for the conversion and added to his previous penalty to make it 10-0 within the opening quarter.
Minutes later, Castletroy hit back. A well worked maul drove all the way to the Munchin’s try line and some favorable field position allowed flanker Conor Bermingham to score the second try of the game. Stephen Atkinson added the extras to close the gap to three points. 10-7.
The end-to-end pattern repeated itself as the match approached the break. Munchin’s extended their lead when Tyrone O’Halloran skipped over for his second try in as many games, but only for Castletory to hit back at the other end of the field through hooker Kieran O’Shea. The tries left it Munchins 17-12 Castletroy at half-time.
With both teams having gaged a better understanding of their opponents following the opening forty and their half time words of wisdom, the second turned out to be a classic Munster Schools arm-wrestle. Despite an extended period of scoreless play, the match never failed to disappoint and it was Castletroy who eventually began to turn the screw. Munchin’s showed superb defence to win back the ball and repetitively clear their lines, but the pressure from the resulting lineouts inevitably proved too much to handle. Indeed, winger Muiris Rowsome looked to be the hero of the hour when he found himself in space to turn a period of dominance to points, putting the teams level on 17-17 and granting kicker Stephen Atkinson the opportunity to nudge his side in front. He duly obliged.
As the Newtown school seemed all but certain to have the victory in the bag, Munchin’s plotted a late comeback. A lineout deep into ‘Troy territory found a red hand and the Corbally men pounded the line from there, sapping their opponent’s energy with every last carry. Any one player that helped in those closing phases was deserved, but it would be captain Kealan McMahon, who fittingly found his way over the whitewash to secure a memorable victory.
FT: Munchins 24-19 Castletroy
Munster Haka MOTM: Kealan McMahon