Rockwell College defeated Bandon Grammar School 26-8 in the Bowen Shield final.
A storming finish by Rockwell College’s u/18 A side saw them overcome Bandon Grammar School 26-8 in the Bowen Shield final at Clanwilliam Park recently.
Bandon, having defeated C.B.C. and Crescent in the earlier rounds, came into the final with high expectations of claiming their first Munster title.
Rockwell, who hadn’t won this competition since 2009, kicked off with the aid of a nice breeze. Bandon set out their stall by playing a number of phases which put Rockwell on the back foot. Bandon no. 8 Colin Deane made some great carries, but Bandon elected to take the ball through the centre when it might have been wiser to spread the ball wide.
On Rockwell’s first foray into Bandon’s territory they were awarded a penalty as a Bandon player failed to release in the tackle. Jake Flannery converted the resultant penalty neatly from a difficult angle on the thirty metre line.
Rockwell continued to defend for the next ten minutes. From a Bandon lineout, no. 2 Travis Coomey used his physique to bustle through on the wing and score an unconverted try near the sideline. But Rockwell responded well. This was further enhanced by a Jake Flannery penalty conversion. Rockwell led 6-5 at half time but were about to face into a stiff breeze.
From the Bandon kick off Conall Kennedy towered above all to catch. Rockwell set up a ruck and proceeded to attack wide. A handling error led to a turnover.
Shortly afterwards Jack Harney reacted quickly to a bouncing ball to sprint clear from the halfway line and touch down in the corner. But Ryan O’Sullivan failed to convert.
Five minutes later Bandon kicked a penalty to leave Rockwell 11-8 ahead. This was to be Bandon’s last score as Rockwell now moved the ball fluently from side to side and Sean Cotter was next to score a try.
Ryan O’Sullivan added the extras from a very difficult position and into the breeze.
As Bandon tried desperately to counter attack they were met by a resolute defence which caused them to knock on a number of occasions.
From one of these Conall Kennedy danced through to score under the post which was converted by O’Sullivan.
Conall Kennedy disrupted the Bandon line out on a number of occasions, Ciaran Ryan at 8 made some great carries, James O’Meara and Darragh Molloy defended well in the second half. Jack Harney showed a maturity beyond his years.
In defence Jake Flannery was masterful in marshalling his backline, ably abetted by Oisin Mangan and Andrew Daly.
Coach Kevin Leamy said “he was very proud of the way the team showed composure and discipline”.
Rockwell College: James O’Meara, Darragh Molloy, Brendan Ryan, Christopher Farrell, Conall Kennedy, Tom Russell, Jack Harney (c), Ciaran Ryan, Oisin Mangan, Jake Flannery, Sean Cotter, Andrew Daly, Fionn Kiely, Christopher Egan, Ryan O’ Sullivan. Subs: Conor Forrest, Niall O’Halloran, Harry Tobin, Michael Mc.Mahon (C. Farrell, 65), Paddy Murchan, Joseph O’Connor (J.O’Meara, 67), Cian Mullane, Alex Ryan.