Schools Profile: Christian Brothers College Cork
Buoyed by a comprehensive quarter-final win over Glenstal Abbey, CBC Cork, or Christians, are well on course for what would be a whopping 29th Munster Senior Cup success.
Three years without winning the Munster Senior Cup wouldn’t seem like a lot to most schools, but it’s almost a mini-drought as far as CBC Cork, or Christians as they are commonly known, are concerned such is the tradition of success in a school renowned as a rugby nursery in the People’s Republic.
With the likes of Donncha O'Callaghan, Tomás O'Leary, Darragh Hurley and Donal Lenihan as past pupils, Christians have won the title 28 times to date, a total matched only by city rivals Pres Cork.
Pres are out of the picture this year after defeat to Crescent College in the quarter-finals, however, which presents Christians with the opportunity to gain the upper hand in the rivalry between the two schools, who have claimed 11 of the last 18 Munster Senior Cup titles between them.
Not only do Christians have tradition on their side, they also have a coaching team that includes former Munster centre Jason Holland and squad featuring eleven players who were involved in last year’s campaign, which ended in a disappointing 11-0 defeat to eventual winners Rockwell in the semi-finals.
Now that they’ve reached the same stage again, Christians will be determined to give a better account of themselves this time around, and their performances in the competition to date suggests that they will give it a right good rattle indeed.
The Christians’ coaching set-up wouldn’t have learned a lot from a 58-3 hammering of Midleton College in the preliminary round, but there have been plenty of positive signs since.
A battling victory over Castletroy – which included a 30 man brawl and a handful of cards of both colours – was followed by a facile victory over Glenstal Abbey in the quarter-finals, a game in which the hosts crossed for six tries, scored by Gerry Ryan, Shane McAuliffe (2), Liam O’Connor, Joe Dowling and Adam McCarthy on their way to racking up 41 points in a 33-point victory.
O’Connor is one of three players in the side involved with the Munster under-18s, while three more - Darragh Moloney, Rory Burke and Ryan Foley - have represented Munster under-19. The current crop also have a more direct link to the Munster senior side, flanker Alex Penney is the son of current Munster coach Rob, who no doubt has to listen to his young fella putting in a good word about his teammates at the dinner table.
With Pres Cork gone, Christians are now flying the flag for the Rebel County as they battle it out with two Limerick colleges and a Tipperary school for the title and next up for them is Crescent College, who eliminated Pres in a hard-fought quarter final earlier this month.
Ideally, after the disappointment of last year’s semi-final, Christians will get the chance to get one over on Rockwell in the final and derail their bid for three titles on the trot, but for now they won’t be looking past the Crescent in what should be a cracking last-four encounter next week.