24 May, 10:30
This week's Club Notes come from Cashel and Shannon Rugby Clubs.
The Dolphin J2 team will travel to Iveragh on Sunday 1st April in the Semi Final of the J2 Plate. Dolphin had a strong run in up til now having won the O'Sullivan Cup in September and topping that with the J2 League with a very lucky win over Carrigaline at Musgrave Park.
With a bye in the first round of the Cup, Dolphin faced Ballincollig and so faced Bandon last weekend. A comprehensive 33-5 victory over the homeside now brings Dolphin to the Semi Final this weekend in Valencia Island at 2.30pm.
Having won the Dolphin J2 League Dolphin must now prepare for the Munster Semi Final againt Garryowen. While a date is yet to be set, preparation is well underway. The other semi final see's Carrigaline travel to Thomond on Good Friday night at 6pm.
A very special Thank you to the team sponsors Tim Cotter of TC Developments Ltd, Pat Aherne of T&A Building Supplies Blackpool, Billy Black of Spic N Span Glanmire, and Steve Grimston of Grimston Electrical who have supported the J2 team this season. Without their support there is no question but the already achieved success would not have been possible.
Dolphin RFC will host a Tag Tounament on Good Friday from 6pm onwards. Teams of 10 (Mixed) cost €120 to enter (€12per person) with €20 of each entry fee going to L'Arche Charity. L'Arche is a charity who specialise in helping and supporting those with Special Needs. There will be a BBQ and Spot Prizes and the Clubhouse Bar will open from 7pm. To enter your team, simply register by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Continues Every Tuesday and Thursday Night at 7pm for anyone interested in joining or trying out rugby. For more information please find us on Facebook "Dolphin Minors" or email email@example.com
In a weekend where we experienced exhilarating highs and demoralising lows, it’s easy to know where we can begin our notes this week.
Rewards in rugby as in any aspect of life, are gained through hard work, dedication, commitment and an abundance of other categories which must all align in near perfection. Just because one might deserve something, that fact doesn’t always merit the prize. When it happens though, there’s always a sense of justification, as well as relief.
Last Saturday in CIT in Cork the amalgam of Shannon and St Mary’s at U/19 level were rewarded for their tumultuous efforts, not only on the day, but over the course of two seasons since they joined forces.
To be crowned as Munster Champions was the culmination of an enormous effort to mould players from a multitude of clubs so they could get the opportunity to play at this level, under the banner of one team.
What this disparate group of young men achieved was the vision that Brendan McNamara had in his mind when his novel approach to gathering sufficient playing numbers manifested itself last season. Denied the opportunity last season to play in a final by a decision in a committee room, they put the past behind them and ensured that their disappointment was turned to positive action.
In Cork in Saturday they came up against an excellent Bandon side who, had they come up a slightly less determined team, could just as easily have been celebrating that night.
The game was lively from the start and few could choose between the sides. The wind was in our favour and possession became plentiful as the half wore on, but unfortunately the scores weren’t as forthcoming. Bandon were strong defensively and penetration beyond the gain line was at a premium. The boot of Conor Burns landed the opening points in the 27th minute, but it wasn’t a lead that was held for long. Bandon responded with a penalty just before the break and the sides remained level heading into the second half.
There were occasions in that first half that we came close to scoring a try ,but on more than one occasion the lads were pinged for one offence or another when they were in close. The struggle they faced in the second half was immense, given the windy conditions and it was made that bit more difficult when Bandon took the lead with another penalty. That was something; however that spurred the lads into intensifying their pace. The backs were diligent throughout the game, but in difficult conditions it was the forwards that lead the way. Simon Gallagher was sprung from the bench and his controlled aggression and unyielding power made an immediate impact. The defining score came once again from Conor Burns when he dived over for a try, but it was the forwards that created the blindside space. Time was still in Bandon’s favour and they mustered and admirable response, but they were faced with a pack for forwards who were relentless in their commitment to the cause and a backline that created a defensive line so tight that not even a wisp of grass could penetrate. The whistle seemed a long time in coming, but when it did, the relief was palpable and the immediate sense of pride at what that these fine young men achieved.
The heroes are throughout the team, but they also bow to their coaches, and what they have done for this team. Father and Son Brendan and Barry McNamara deserved this as much as the players. Munster Champions has a nice ring to it. Both Clubs individually have been there before when it was a U/18 competition, but as a collective it could very well be the start of many.
While that achievement can stand alone, it has opened up the door to the All Ireland series which will test further the mettle of this side. It’ll come about soon and the focus will be reassessed and diverted to excelling in that competition. Even a week after their glory the lads are back in action in the U/19 open cup where they welcome back the multitude of schools players who were on duty elsewhere this season. For a few days however, the lads can bask in their glory, and rightly so. Congratulations to all involved and a big thank you to all the dedicated supporters that went to Cork. As always it means so much to a team.
Many of us were denied the opportunity to witness the events in Cork at first hand as we had business in Coonagh to attend to as we welcomed Cork Con in the Ulster bank league. It wasn’t though as joyous occasion as had been relayed from Cork by phone. It could just as easily have been though. For almost 65 minutes of this encounter we looked the most likely winners with the pack bossing the Cons unit and the backs making admiral strides in attack and defence. We led by 9 points to 5, not a huge lead without doubt, but the manner in which the lads were playing suggested that we might build upon it. Quite how we ended up losing by 19-9 is one of those things that had us slightly bemused.
To analysis it in simple terms, we had possession, plenty of it and failed to maximise our return. Cons saw the need to up their pace for the last 15 minutes and did so, exploiting us in positions where we had players unfamiliar to their roles. Now that’s the simple version (and probably accurate), and there are other factors which could well have seen the game swing in our favour. A couple of key passages of play were ultimately detrimental to our ability to win. A penalty to enhance our lead hit the up right and bounced left of the posts and then, after driving Cons almost 40 metres from a lineout, we ended up conceding a penalty for holding , and immediately, in the same breath reduce our playing capacity by one.
Many people have commentated good humouredly, that these notes after many of our AIL defeats could simply be cut and pasted, changing just the name of the team we played. Regardless of the nature in which this comments were intended, it’s very true. For so long in many games we looked the better side, and but for the recurring inability to score at crucial times, we were positioned well to win games where defeat followed. Cons took control for those match winning tries and very quickly a losing bonus point slipped ever further beyond our grasp. Precarious is a word I’ve used a few times this season and in looking for a different phrase to sum up our position, the thesaurus just came up with, uncertain, shaky, and unstable. I find them a bit harsh to use, so I’ll stick with precarious.
We are still lingering, with absolutely no intent at the bottom end of the table. The biggest factor in our favour as we head into the last three games is that our fate lies entirely in our own hands with games against two sides in an even nor precarious position than us, Old Belvedere and Blackrock. Our final game against Dolphin could be rendered insignificant by the time it comes around and here’s hoping, for all the right reasons. Belvo await us on this Saturday no doubt buoyed by their first win of the season against a Garryowen side that may well have had other things on their mind. We know what the Dublin side are capable of, and their lowly position belies a certain quality that they have in their make up.
It’s a game that we need to win, to ease us into the season’s end, and this is where we send out an SOS to our supporters. We are running a coach to the game and it’ll cost you only €10 to get there. We’ve said it many times before that the players are always appreciative of the effort people make to support them, in the good times, (for which we have more than our fair share let me remind you) and the tough times we now find ourselves in. Please try and make the effort. Contact Des McInerny on 086 8558522. The bus is going with or without YOU, but we’d love you to come along.
Sunday saw a veritable hive of activity in Coonagh with games and training kicking off from 10am and going through ‘till 2pm. The U/17’s had an open cup competition against Killaloe/Ballina and the return of our schools players was very welcome. The lads played a great style of play with interim coach Padraic O’Brien highly impressed with his lads as they ran out comfortable 50-12 winners. A few of the schools boys seem to have shot vertically up and horizontally wide in the time they spent away from us and were well equipped to rejoin the black and blue ranks. An immediate turnaround sees them play Garryowen in Coonagh on Sunday.
The U/15’s enjoyed another great outing when they followed the 19’s on the new pitch. Ennis provided the opposition and for a while provided a tough challenge, but as the game progressed they were no match for the pace of our lads. In the end the comfort zone was stretched to 29 points to 12.
In fact, the summer like sunshine ensured we were all comfortable in a resplendent Coonagh which also filtered down to the U/14’s who were also in action against Ennis. This was a great game from the start (delayed as it was) and both sides gave it everything. An early lead from Ennis ensured any complacency was set aside and Ian Brown turned in a stellar performance and managed to score two great tries. Along the way to a 20-5 win, Cathal Quinlan charged 40 metres for a breakaway try and then prior to Ian’s second try, second row Ronan Coffey landed a stunning penalty from the half way line that would put men many years his senior to shame.
So all in all it was a good weekend for the underage as the cup season is well underway.
Tadgh Crowe has asked me to remind people that this week, 30th March is the cut off date for anyone wishing to purchase 2012/13 Munster Season ticket packages. Details on the website under the CLUB section.
Finally, we wish all of our Ard Scoil Ris junior players all the very best in the Munster cup final tomorrow (Wednesday 28th)
Seniors AIL V Old Belvedere Anglsea Rd 2.30pm
U/19 Open Cup V Bruff Bruff, 12pm
U/17 Open Cup V Garryowen Coonagh, 12 pm
Young Munster RFC
Young Munster suffer defeat at home to Clontarf in Ulster Bank League
Young Munster are slowly getting over last weekend’s defeat to Clontarf which put a serious dent in our chances at contesting the league title. The black and amber faithful will rue last week’s missed opportunity yet we must now shake it off and face this weekend’s third last game in the Ulster Bank League.
There are times when you have to wonder who would choose to be a place kicker? “Always the hero or the villain” as the saying goes, but it goes a lot deeper than that. Willie Staunton has been a stalwart for Young Munster RFC this season, lest we forget: the clinical drop goal he scored five minutes from time at Old Belvedere, his crucial role in the second half comeback v Shannon in Thomond Park; his vital points in the mucky day we entertained Cork Con at home to claim the double over them this season; his injury time winning penalty against Lansdowne at home; the list goes on and on. He has filled the hero boots on that many occasions we will never allow him to be labelled the villain. What we must remember is, it is his quality and consistency in the league thus far that has got us to where we are, with the help of a squad of players of course, that all play their own part equally as competently. “We probably wouldn’t have been in this position at all without Willie," Mike Prendergast told Charlie Mulqueen last Saturday, “he has scored something like 170 points this season and is by the far the league’s leading scorer.”
The game v Clontarf opened with drama from the off as Darragh O’Neill almost got his name on the score sheet immediately however the ball crossed the dead ball line before he could touch it down. An early penalty chance for us just outside the 22 and left of the posts drifted right and wide and it wasn’t long before Willie had another opportunity in the same position on the other side of the pitch. This went wide also and was a worrying sign for the home side as both were kicks Staunton can usually knock over in his sleep.
Clontarf were first to get points on the board as Richie Lane sent one over after 17 minutes. Moments later from the restart, Clontarf’s openside flanker Barry O’Mahony ran in under the posts for a breakaway try. "It just opened up for me, there was no defence around the ruck, no pillars, and there was nothing in front of me," he told Mulqueen. This was certainly worrying for Young Munster and a very soft try to concede with less than 20 minutes gone. Lane knocked over the conversion and we were 10-0 down with hands on heads wondering how on earth we had let that happen.
A third missed penalty from Staunton was followed by some great dancing feet from centre Andrew Burke down the right touchline which resulted in a try in the right corner in front of the clubhouse to shrieks of delight from the home crowd. Staunton landed this difficult conversion from touch, with the assistance of the upright and crossbar, to bring the score to 10-7 to Clontarf with 25 minutes gone.
We may have had something else to cheer about should the assistant referee on the left touchline have spotted Darragh O’Neill being taken out off the ball while chasing a lovely kick through, but no, his flag stayed down, and the home support was furious at what might have been a crucial missed call.
Our scrum was really finding its footing now, and Liam Og Murphy’s pressure won us a great turnover in their 22. Clontarf’s penalty count was creeping up as they gave away another penalty shortly after, which we kicked to the corner on this occasion.
Some little errors were cropping up in our game at this point that we couldn’t put down to the almost perfect weather conditions in Tom Clifford Park. Some silly knock-ons, and a miscommunication between Mike Prendergast and Darragh O’Neill on a high ball which saw the ball spill and us penalized. The set pieces were performing well however, with lineouts taking clean ball, and our scrum putting in a great performance once again which saw us turnover their scrum more than once on the day.
It was a very physical day and on the sidelines, supporters winced while relishing the big hits going in on the field. Just before half time, Clontarf had a prop, Kenny Dorian, sin-binned. Staunton missed his fourth penalty just before the break for half-time with the score remaining 10-7 in favour of the visitors.
We started the second half with an extra man and trailing by just one score. Within minutes Willie Staunton had brought the scores level with a drop goal, 10-10. Andrew Burke attempted his own drop a few minutes later but it was too far out to stay on target and despite Mark Doyle’s attempt to chase as it drifted cross-field, a ‘Tarf player got his hands to it first and touched down to safety. Staunton missed his fifth penalty kick minutes later.
Our scrum was still proving a force to be reckoned with and Hugh McGrath saw off Ben Barclay’s challenge as the Clontarf loosehead couldn’t keep his bind on McGrath and we won the penalty as Barclay collapsed the scrum. Andrew Burke lined up this optimistic kick on the halfway line but, while it had the legs, it drifted wide of the posts. This brought our tally to six missed penalties.
Approaching the hour mark, Clontarf got in for their second try. This time scored by prop Niall Treston. Lane converted to bring the score to 17-10. Then five minutes later, disaster for us and the proverbial nail on the coffin as ‘Tarf centre Killian Lett gets over the line, and Lane converts, to bring the score to 24-10 against us.
We continued to battle on and Ger Burke put in some great work at the breakdown to turn over the ball as the countdown was on in the last ten. On 75 minutes Mark Doyle got in for us at the right corner for a great individual try, not too unlike Andrew Burke’s in the first half. It was Burkey who converted Doyler’s try and going into the last five minutes with seven points down we always had a chance.
On another day, we could have created some magic in that last five minutes. There wasn’t going to be any magic dust to make miracles happen today however, we were all out of supplies. When we won the ball as the ref penalised them for being off their feet at the ruck, it felt like we had a decent attacking chance, but Willie’s kick failed to find touch to take us into their red zone and Clontarf took the bull by the horns at this point (pun intended) and denied us any valuable possession as they kept play in our half right up to the final whistle.
Final score: Young Munster 10 – 24 Clontarf
YOUNG MUNSTER: R Moloney; M Doyle, A Burke, A Carroll, D O’Neill; W Staunton, M Prendergast; A Cotter, G Slattery, H McGrath, D Gallagher, S O’Neill (capt), L Óg Murphy, J O’Neill, N Melbourne. Replacements used: G Burke, G Flaherty, J Moroney, M Rowley.
CLONTARF: R Lane; M McGrath, K Lett, C O’Shea, T McCoy; E Ryan, D O’Meara; B Barclay, A Dundon, N Treston, B Riley, J Chipman, A Darcy, B O’Mahony (capt), F Cogan. Replacements used: K Dorian, C O’Keeffe, S Cronin, J Larbey.
Referee: D. Wilkinson
SO, now to the arithmetic of the next three games. Here’s one best-case scenario…
In Game 16 next weekend, Garryowen beat Clontarf in Dubin, and Cork Con beat St.Mary’s at home with no losing bonus points for either, and Young Munster win away to Lansdowne of course. ‘Tarf and Mary’s remain on 54 points, we climb to 52.
In Game 17, Clontarf and St. Mary’s play each other, so somebody won’t be taking points on this occasion. We take on Dolphin at home and must win. The winner of ‘Tarf/Mary’s will go to 58 points, a win from us will bring us to 56, overtaking the losing side of ‘Tarf/Mary’s and regaining second position on the table.
In Game 18, if St. Mary’s have proved the winner of ‘Tarf/Mary’s the previous week, this will be a final play-off of first and second position where either ourselves or Mary’s will take the points to be crowned league champions.
Wishful thinking? Of course it is, but hey that’s allowed. Stranger things have happened…
Remaining league games:
YM UBL GAME 16 –Lansdowne away 31/03/12
YM UBL GAME 17 – Dolphin at home 14/04/12
* to reserve your place at this Pre-Match Lunch, contact Brendan Collopy at 086-6062606 or Fergal Deegan 086-2265692.
YM UBL GAME 18 –St. Mary’s away 21/04/12
Membership of Young Munster RFC
Members who have not already paid their annual membership fee are reminded that the annual membership must be paid before March 31st. Members must be fully paid in order to be eligible to vote, or to be nominated for a position on the club committee.
Please send any outstanding fees to John Mc Loughlin, Assistant Treasurer, 20 Cherry Avenue, Caherdavin Lawn, Limerick. Membership is €80. New members always welcome.
U9 Blitz in Young Munster – 5 from 5 home wins
The Young Munster U9 squad hosted a blitz in Clifford Park last Sunday and all did our club proud by winning 5 matches from 5 played. We made up two teams, which we called Black team and Amber team.
First up was Estuary, and they gave us a very tough game. We started off full of running and scored an early try through Donnacha O’Callaghan. Our forwards came more into the match and won a lot of ball at ruck time through Josh Crawford, Sean Farrell and Ben Murphy, this in turn gave scrum-half Scott Sheehan quick ball and with Ben Dillon, Darragh O Sullivan, Conor Kerley and Lindsay O Dwyer running strong we won by 5 tries to 1.
St Senans were up first for our Amber team and put in a great performance. We worked hard all through with Darragh Long getting a few touchdowns. Cian Casey put in a great display of running rugby and Tarkan Pinarci using his strength when running. Great tackling by Luke Moloney, Michael Galvin,CJ Carey and Colm Mohally. Final score 6 tries to 0.
Our Black team played Ennis next and got the toughest match of the day. We were made work hard for everything but our handling was superb throughout and we just about got over the finish line. We had good displays by Thomas Gillick and Josh McCoy. Final score. 3 tries to 2.
The Amber team played UL/Bohs next and were far too strong for a smaller UL/Bohs team. In the first half we ran in a number of tries and at half time we made a lot changes but still managed to score another 2. Great tackling in this game by Patrick O’Donnell and Liam Kelly. Final score 7 tries to 1.
In our final match we mixed both teams and played a mixture of both Ennis teams. We played some great rugby here and were rewarded with a total of 5 tries scored. This was a great team effort by all players. Final score 5 tries to 1.
Underage Fixtures & Results
Friday 30th March
U15S Cup Replay
Young Munster Vs UL/Bohs Tom Clifford 6.30pm
Weekend Cup Results from Sunday 25th March
Under 19s Cup: Garryowen 24 Young Munster 3
Under 17s Open Cup: Young Munster 17 UL/Bohs 24
Under 15s Cup: UL/Bohs 3 Young Munster 3 (draw)
Under 14s Cup: UL/Bohs 29 Young Munster 7