22 May, 10:29
Munster Rugby recently attended Rockwell College to host a skills session for their Junior Cup players.
Congratulations to the Nenagh CBS u16 squad pictured above who recently won the north munster schools cup.
Last week we made the statement that, it was only a question time before our seniors would claim a coveted win in the Ulster Bank league. Our general play has been Ok; our training was going well so it was only a question of time and perhaps a rub of the green. Thankfully, last Saturday all the checks and balances aligned, and a hugely satisfying win ensued in Dublin. Our last trip to the pitch under the shadows of national headquarters saw us play on a traditional surface, but on Saturday we had our first experience of playing a full game on the IRFU approved artificial surface and it was a bit of a strange one to say the least. We had prepared well for it on local facilities, but when it comes to full on contact, it's a different matter. We managed, in the main to acclimatise to the surface, but to play on it week in week out, well that would be a different matter. Anyway, the bumps and bruises, moans and groans after the game were softened in a big way with the 22-17 result in our favour.
To say that we deserved the win would be fair and accurate, although we did conceded three tries in a 20 minute period which straddled each half which left us in a precarious position we a should not really have found ourselves in. Concentration levels had dropped from their heightened state and loose and free play was once again detrimental to our overall plan. However, what made last Saturday a bit different was what went prior to and after Lansdowne scored their tries and that was enough to see us clear in the end. A display of tenacity and commitment probably best describes how the lads played and even when we lost the highly influential Mossy Lawler early in the game, we managed to punch holes and create space. The pressure applied by the lads forced Lansdowne's concession of numerous penalties and Tadgh duly obliged by tapping them over. Stephen then crossed for a try, which was set up by a great break from Rob Guerin and even at that early stage of the game, we dared think of a win. But if it was only that simple. Lansdowne came back at us, but after the home side took the lead, we reverted to the plan that had served well previously and harassed and harried Lansdowne and forced them to concede more penalties. Our two props , Les Hogan and Kevin Griffin were magnificent throughout and could be relied upon at all times to get us going forward, as well as a putting in a shift with a high tackle count. The threat though was always there especially when leading by a mere score heading into the closing stages. To say we were a little anxious in those closing stages would be understating the situation just a little. Lansdowne needed to be marshalled with extreme caution in final few minutes. They lead a few charges into our 22, but heroic defending was the protocol for the lads and final whistle was greeted with great relief and no shortage of whoops and hollers.
It was a great to get the win after so many months of disappointments, and hopefully the confidence gained will stand to the lads as we head into the closing stages of the league. There's no point in getting carried away though, and no one knows that more than the players and, management. We won, great, but there's so much from the game that can be improved upon. The games come thick and fast and get no easier. The local flag bears in this seasons league , Young Munster will come to Thomond Park on Friday night no doubt with confidence that they can achieve the double over us in the league. They will be a very tough assignment and the lads will need to maintain the standard that saw us through in Dublin, and have a bit more besides.
Back in Limerick, our U/21's were in action against Young Munster in the Southwestern conference and we ended up with a rather unusual result of 0-0. The scoreline might suggest a game of poor quality, but to the contrary, it was a hugely entertaining affair with both sides giving it hell for leather. The game was moved to St Munchin's college, as Derryknockane was deemed unplayable, but even that pitch ended up as a bit of a quagmire and the lads ended up covered in head to toe in muck. Some may have the illusion that the draw was a bit disappointing, but when one considers that seven U/21 players were on senior duty it was a superb result against a strong Young Munster unit. The scoring chances were rare, and the game remained on a knife-edge throughout. There was a few instances where we could have broken the dead lock, but in fairness, so too could have Young Munster especially in the dying embers of the game when a drop goal drifted wide. The result still leaves the competition very much in our own hands with two games to go.
On Sunday, we expected a tough game in the U/19 Pan Munster league in our final pool game against Kanturk. It was a game where the winner would secure home advantage in the quarterfinals, but there is no real way of taking the gloss of the result. We won and it was extremely comfortable. Kanturk looked a huge side in the warm up and the lads started cautiously but not long into the game the pattern emerged of how it would unfold. Simply the Shannon/St Mary side were far too skilful and powerful for the Co. Cork side. In no position on the field were we threatened in any way and although Kanturk demonstrated a very admirable attitude throughout the game, they had nothing to counteract the lads. The tries began at a trickle, but then came thick and fast which lead to the 50 points to 3 scoreline. It would be hard to pick out singular performances as everyone played their part, and the collective was far more than the individual was on Sunday. Dave Evans though, it has to be mentioned, played extremely well and out of position. The experiment of moving the scrumhalf to out half, on Sunday's performance seems to have worked and Dave's smooth skills saw him set the backline in motion on numerous occasions. The reward for claiming top spot in the group stages is a home quarterfinal this Sunday against Waterpark who are traditionally strong at this level.
The U/10's were out in force at a Young Munster Blitz on Sunday where we could line out with two teams. 34 players in total lined out, which is a great testament to the coaches and indeed their parents. Newcastlewest, St Senan's and the hosts Young Munster were the opposition in some great games of rugby. The progression of our lads was plain to see with all their hard work in training paying off. Ball handling was excellent and their rucking and mauling has improved immensely. In final tally of games, we claimed a couple of wins, a loss and a draw, but more than anything, it was a great morning of rugby. As usual, we rely heavily on parents to help with our minis and it was great to see we had five enthusiastic parents who took part in the Mini foundation course on Saturday, so welcome on board to Brian Kelly, Sean Purcell, Ger Maloney, Maurice Shanahan and Brendan Maher.
The U/12 Black side went out to Newcastlewest for a blitz and performed brilliantly to remain unbeaten. After a slow starts to our first game against Garryowen, we trailed by two tries at the break but strong revival saw, us come close to snatching the win, but in the end, the lads were content with a draw. A big change on personal for the next game against Richmond made little difference to the continuity and the lads and they ran out comfortable winners. The final game was without doubt the most difficult against the hosts, but again a great performance , including a display of considerable note from Newcastlewest native Jack Madden ensured a 4-2 win to cap off another productive morning for a Shannon side so well done to all the lads and keep up the hard work in training.
Off the field , we have some disappointing news for anyone wishing to attend this Saturday's Rock and Roll night in the clubhouse and do not have a ticket. All the tickets for this event have now been sold out and there will be none available at the door. It's great to see the popularity of the event has exceed expectations , but we know that many will be disappointed.
Friday Senior AIL V Young Munster Thomond Park 2.30pm
Saturday Thirds Fr V Young Munster Coonagh 1pm
Monday Seconds MSS.Lg V Old Crescent Rosbrien 7.30pm
U/14 Final V Ul/Bohs Dooradoyle 11am
U/17 League V Garryowen Coonagh 12.pm
U/19 Pan Munster Q/Final V Waterpark Coonagh 1.pm
Young Munster RFC
Young Munster claim second win over Cork Con this season
Young Munster claimed a hard fought victory at home last Saturday as we faced Cork Constitution in Clifford Park in game eleven of the Ulster Bank League.
We opened well and dominated play and possession in the first half. Two successful penalties from Willie Staunton in the first 25 minutes had us 6-0 up. Just before half time however, Con upped their attack and breached our 22 for what was possibly their first time all half. That didn’t matter to the Cork boys as they found a lapse in our defence and proceeded to get in for the only try of the game, Niall O’Driscoll getting the touchdown which Johnny Holland converted. The visitors were ahead by a point at the break, Young Munster 6-7 Cork Constitution.
It was a mucky, miserable wet day that had supporters shivering under umbrellas clasping their cups of tea for warmth as we faced into the second half, with heavy rain and the chances of this being a high scoring affair looking more and more unlikely.
Willie Staunton got a penalty opportunity early in the half which was to prove to be the winning point of the game. The second half may not have provided us with scores but it certainly wasn’t lacking in drama. There was plenty of physicality to this game and knocks were taken on both sides; we had Sean Duggan carried off in a stretcher in what looked like a serious incident but we were all relieved to learn the injury was not at all as bad as it looked on the field.
Holland missed a penalty for Con in the final quarter that had the home support spontaneously cheer with relief as we watched it go wide. Further drama was to follow as referee David Wilkinson changed a penalty decision–which would have seen Con have a shot at goal–after having a discussion with his assistant official Seamus Flannery on the touchline.
That was two close calls and we were still ahead with minutes to the finish but Con were in possession and we had to try to wait this one out without letting them get the boot to the ball. Con knew exactly what to do however, and, as you would expect them to in the dying minutes, they recycled possession carefully, edging ever closer in our half with Gerry Hurley finding his position in the pocket to set up the drop goal. Eventually it came and if not for the great rush defence by our James O’Neill (Ham), Declan Bannon, Mark Doyle and Darren Gallagher the kick may well have found its way between the posts – it didn’t however, and the referee blew the final whistle to finish the game at 9-7.
Final score: Young Munster 7 - 9 Cork Constitution
Scorers: Young Munster: Willie Staunton 3 pens;
Cork Constitution: Niall O'Driscoll try, Johnny Holland con
Young Munster: Ray Moloney; Mark Doyle, Mike Kelliher, Andrew Burke, Craig O’Hanlon; Willie Staunton, Mike Prendergast; Alan Cotter, Ger Slattery, Hugh McGrath; Darren Gallagher, Sean Duggan; Liam Og Murphy, James O'Neill, Nevile Melbourne
Replacements: Ger Bourke, Ger Flaherty, Shane O'Neill, John Moroney, Declan Bannon
Cork Constitution: Sean Scanlon; Cathal Quinn, Niall O’Driscoll, Ivan Dineen, Robert Clune; Johnny Holland, Duncan Williams; Brian Cagney, Andrew Cudmore, John Ryan; Brian Hayes, Philip Donellan; Joe Mc Swiney, Brian O’Hara, James Ryan
Replacements: Kieran Stokes, Chris Corkery, Brendan Cuttris, Gerry Hurley, Daragh Lyons
GAME 12 - Shannon
We take on Shannon this Friday night under lights in Thomond Park in what should be a very interesting encounter given Shannon’s victory last weekend in Dublin. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.
GAME 13 - Garryowen
Young Munster take on Garryowen RFC at home in the Ulster Bank League on Saturday February 18th. Why not make a day out of it and come to the PRE-MATCH LUNCH from 1pm? €25 includes admission, 2-course lunch with wine and match programme. All are welcome. For bookings contact Brendan Collopy at 086-6062606 or Fergal Deegan 086-2265692.
U10’s Blitz in Tom Clifford Park, Greenfields
Our U10’s held a blitz in Greenfields on Sunday and played some fantastic rugby winning two matches and drawing one.
Young Munster 4 tries – 1 try Shannon
In our first match we played a very good Shannon team and won 4 tries to 1 try. We started this match playing great open rugby and took the lead when Darragh Long cut through the Shannon defence to score a great try. Shannon came back at us and only for some great tackling by Cayden Malone, Josh Crawford, Ben Murphy and Luke Moloney we would have conceded a try. We continued to play open rugby and our scrum half Scott Sheehan put in some super passing to get the back line moving. Out half Donnacha O Callaghan started a move, which went through the hands of Colm Mohally, Patrick O Donnell, Sean Farrell and Glen Carey for Donnacha to score in the corner. We added on another two tries before Shannon finally breached our defence to score.
Young Munster 1 try – 1 try Newcastle West
Our second match was against a very big NCW team and we very unlucky not win. We continued to play great rugby and time and time again the NCW defence kept us from not scoring. Liam Kelly made great runs and with Killian Higgins and CJ Carey supporting him, we were unlucky not to score.
Young Munster 3 tries – 1 try St Senans
In our last match we played St Senans and with everyone tackling everything that moved in a St Senans jersey we won this match comfortably. Darragh O Sullivan made some great attacking runs in this match and was well supported by Liam Kelly, Ben Dillon, Darragh Long and Scott Sheehan. St Senans made a break the length of the field and only for a brilliant tackle by Donnacha O Callaghan stopped a try from being scored.
A big thank you must go to the parents, Ann Marie Galvin and our underage committee who organised food and refreshments for everyone on the day.