Well drilled Rockwell side sweep Cup holders St. Munchins aside in an enthralling Munster Junior Cup final
Rockwell had to wait 22 years to claim the Junior Cup but they did so in style and with such a disciplined and error free performance. This team tackled ferociously, showed great line speed and just did not allow the Munchins side to settle into their more direct style of play. In truth the result might have been more comprehensive if not for the dogged defence offered by St. Munchins. Rockwell elected to play into the breeze, and, from the kick off the Rockwell no.8, Brian Gleeson, tackled his opposing number, while Tom Downey stole from the ensuing ruck to set the tone for the remainder of the match. Rory Collins tactical kicking played a key role in keeping the St. Munchins side at bay. Rockwell had forged 12-7 ahead in a thrilling opening 15 minutes courtesy of Brian Gleeson’s barging over the line and then Hooker, Cian Meaney, tunnelling his way through under the posts. Gleeson, Downey and prop, Liam Shine, returning from injury hammered the Munchins defence time and time again. St. Munchins scored a converted try in between to show the threat they presented. Just before halftime Darius Achimugu showed a lightening turn of pace to blaze his way over the line near the touchline to leave the half time score 17-7 in favour of Rockwell.
Rockwell started the second half where they had left off by taking the game to St. Munchins. Rory Collins made an excellent break to the line, weaving through several tackles, only to be held up on the line. 10 minutes later they were duly rewarded with a penalty half way through the second half which Collins slotted over. Time and time again, flanker, Shane Neville, belied his diminutive frame, controlling the game with his clever kicking and winning three penalties. St. Munchins responded, and, through a number of phases near the Rockwell line, tight head prop, Gus Harrington went over the line. Munchins, however, missed the conversion from a difficult position. Rockwell played cleverly and Rory Collins continually put the ball down behind the Munchins backline to make it difficult for them to establish a foothold. Rory Collins went in under the posts for a try in added time but the score was disallowed but moments later the final whistle sounded to the unrestrained joy of the large Rockwell support.
Rockwell never looked like losing this contest at any stage and the nerves present in the Pres. and Crescent matches weren’t to be seen. Brian Gleeson at no. 8 was outstanding, ably supported by Tom Downey Remi Ediale and Liam Shine in carrying the ball. Hooker, Cian Meaney was ferocious in the tackle and cleverly took his score. Darius Achimugu was a thorn in the Munchins side with the ball in hand, while Captain, Henry Buttimer, Robert Wall and Tom Ross defended stoutly when danger confronted them. Make no mistake but this was very much a team performance with all players contributing to this famous success for the Tipperary side.
Coach, Danny Lambe, complimented the commitment of his team and the superb work done by Owen Cleary over the summer in preparing the side in terms of fitness and also his assistant coach. He also thanked the coaches of the previous two years who had laid the foundation to this historic success.
St Munchin’s College: James O’Brien; Oisin Pepper, Joshua Costello, Liam Angermann, Ryan Naughton; Cillian O’Connor, Kieran Tracey (C); Mikolaj Imbierowski, Harry Bennis, Gus Harrington, Shane Hannan, Stephen Hayes, Shane Griffin, Kevin Rea, Konrad Jazierski. Replacements: Conor O’Brien, Rhys Costello, Benjamin Dillan, Michael Kelly, Dean McNamara, Evan Moore, Gordon Wood, James Madden, Jonathan Fitzgerald, Niall McCarthy.
Rockwell College: Conor Hogan; Darius Achimugu, Robert Wall, Henry Buttimer (C), Peter McGarry; Rory Collins, Tom Ross; Liam Shine, Cian Meaney, Jamie Browne, Osereimen Ediale, Edmond Dunphy, Tom Downey, Shane Neville, Brian Gleeson. Replacements: Joseph Lawrence, Dean Moroney, Tarcisio Chanda, Lorcan Cummins, Niall Maher, Casy Jay Coleman, Ben Farrelly, Toby Collier, David Clarke, Zac Lynch. Reserves: Hugh Fitzgerald, James Cronin, Tadhg Carey.
By Michael Doyle