Denis Hayes reports from Thomond Park
Glenstal immediately asked questions of the Ardscoil defence in the opening exchanges and after just two minutes a well worked play released full back Jack O’Mahony into space. O’Mahony evidently took little time to grow into the game as he pulled off a bit of magic with a chip over the full back before outpacing the defence to touchdown for the opening score. Ben Healy made the conversion.
Moments later Ardscoil took a blow when flanker Ian Brown went off injured and Glenstal were in again soon after. After a couple of phases, Glenstal forced an Ardscoil knock on and took full advantage of the turnover with hooker George Downing crossing the whitewash after receiving an offload from winger Ronan Quinn; Healy again added the extras.
Ardscoil tried to get back into it but Glenstal, lead by captain Rory Clarke, were making the big hits to prevent any sincere danger to their try line. Indeed, Glenstal then extended their lead with their third try inside 20 minutes as Ben Healy set off Ronan Quinn from a scrum set-play who offloaded it to Luke Fitzgerald who did brilliantly to keep hold of the ball under pressure to dive over. 21-0.
To their credit Ardscoil hit back ten minutes later when loosehead prop Alex O’Callaghan piled over from a quick tap penalty by captain Craig Casey. Casey himself, made the conversion from a tight angle to give his side some much needed hope.
Minutes later Ardscoil 10 Evan Cusack nailed a drop goal to push Ardscoil even further into the contest at half time. Half time score: Glenstal 21-10 Ardscoil Rís
In the early minutes of the second half Glenstal’s captain Rory Clarke was sin binned for a tackle in the air and it allowed Ardscoil a chance to exert pressure. The consequent Casey penalty made it an 8 point game. They then however suffered a blow captain as captain Casey was sin binned for a no arms tackle.
However, Ardscoil got a lifeline when hooker Colin Slater blocked down a Luke Fitzgerald clearance kick to score under the posts – now making it a one point game at 21-20. And it could have been more for ASR. Craig Casey returned from the bin to line up a drop goal, but it was only to be blocked down before the Glenstal defence held firm in the closing moments to secure the win.
Full Time Score: Glenstal 21-20 Ardscoil Rís
PSA Academies MOTM: Jack O’Mahony