The Young Munster senior team were playing Dolphin in the Ulster Bank League on the same day and, as a result, the Under 21 team were missing four players from the squad: Jake Considine (Capt.), Shane O’Leary, Harry Mc Nulty and Daniel Montgomery.
Young Munster U21s had won their previous 10 matches in the AIL SW Conference competition and succeeded in winning all 11 matches this season. This win has followed on from them winning the Under 21 North Munster League in what has been an outstanding season for this squad.
UCC provided a very stern test for the side with many players re-acquainting themselves from last year’s Senior Cup Schools campaigns. UCC started the brighter and were difficult to contain as they had a very physical set of forwards and a lively backline.
Young Munster were first to strike though in the 15th minute when, after a series of rucks on the UCC line, Brendan McSweeney burrowed over the line to go 5-0 ahead. UCC responded quickly and after stretching the Young Munster defence they scored and converted a try after 25 minutes.
Both sides were playing an expansive game and some excellent defending from Evan Mulcahy, Eamonn Carr and Darren Shannon stopped a certain UCC try.
It remained 7-5 to UCC at half-time and upon the resumption, Young Munster, with a slight breeze at our backs, started to dominate the forward exchanges. This was helped by Darren Ryan, Cillian Mc Donagh and Evan fitzgerald.
After 58 minutes Young Munster went ahead when Pat Ryan noticed an opening in the UCC midfield, he used his quick feet to evade the UCC centre and raced in under the posts. This was converted by Greg Barry who was having a fine game at outhalf.
The rain started to come down for the rest of the proceedings and both sides were still willing to move the ball. UCC were running the ball from deep in their own half at times and were making large inroads in the Young Munster defence. A series of lineouts and scrums were halted by Young Munster with ten minutes to go and this was due to the tremendous work of Gavin Ryan, Eoghan Bedford and Gary Hoban.
In the 74th minute Young Munster worked their way back into UCC territory and excellent work from Eamonn Carr set up Greg Barry to cross for another try. The final few minutes were played out in the UCC half and on the final whistle the Young Munster players celebrated undefeated, after winning all eleven matches in the competition. John Noonan from the Munster Branch presented the trophy to the Vice Captains Brian Danagher and Evan Mulcahy.
Young Munster will now play Old Belvedere in the All Ireland Quarter-Final on Saturday March 23 at 2.30pm and will also try and go one step further than last year in the U21 North Munster Cup (they were beaten by UL Bohs in the final last year.)
Final score: Young Munster 17 – UCC 5
Under 21 Squad: Gavin Ryan, Paddy Marks, Evan Ryan, James Reeves, Daniel Montgomery, Eoghan Bedford, Evan Fitzgerald, Brendan McSweeney, Ritchie McNamara, Gary Hoban, Cillian McDonagh, Brian Danagher, Cian Ryan, Jake Considine, Darren Ryan, Evan Mulcahy, Gavin Heuston, Shane O’Leary, Greg Barry, Eamonn Carr, Harry Mc Nulty, Pat Ryan , Cormac Murphy, Darren Shannon, Sean Markham, Glenn Browne, Evan Bennett, John Madigan, Owen Tarrant
Management: John Keehan (Coach), Damian Gavin (Forwards Coach), Joe Arthur (Medical-First aid), Paul O'Byrne (Manager)