Young Munster qualified for an AIB Cup semi-final for the first time in their history as four penalty strikes from Matthew Costelloe helped them overcome UCC at Tom Clifford Park.
AIB CUP QUARTER-FINAL: Saturday, February 14
YOUNG MUNSTER 12 UCC 10, Tom Clifford Park
Scorers: Young Munster: Pens: Matthew Costelloe 4
UCC: Try: Peter Shallow; Con: Gavin Dunne; Pen: Gavin Dunne
With their AIB League Division Two challenge in mind, UCC made seven changes to their starting line-up for what was a repeat of last year’s Division Two play-off final.
Young Munster lost that game 18-8 but had already gained promotion. However, Mike Lynch’s men are currently struggling at second-from-bottom in the Division One table.
If anything, this cup run has given them hope after a string of defeats in the league.
UCC engineered the first scoring chance when out-half Gavin Dunne faced up to a third-minute penalty – but he pulled his effort away to the right of the posts.
With team captain Sam Cronin providing the link at scrum half, the Cork students enjoyed the bulk of possession.
However, the game remained scoreless until the 36th minute when UCC winger Peter Shallow danced his way over close to the posts. Dunne added the conversion and the visitors were 7-0 in front at half-time.
The second half saw try-scoring chances at a premium and it was left to place-kickers Costelloe and Dunne to slug it out.
Upping their work rate up front, Munsters created a series of kicking opportunities which Costelloe gleefully took.
He knocked over three penalties on the bounce, after 42, 46 and 57 minutes, to send Lynch’s charges in front for the first time.
His best kick of the day was the middle one which he thumped through the posts from 47 metres out.
In a tight and error-strewn final quarter, Dunne landed a 35-metre penalty in the 62nd minute to nudge UCC back in front.
But Costelloe denied the students right at the death when he held his nerve over an 80th-minute kick to put Munsters’ name in the semi-final draw drum.