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Club News Weekending 6th May 2007
5 May 2007, 8:17 am
All the latest club news, views and reviews

MUSKERRY RFC NEWS

Muskerry Rugby Club are holding our annual dinnerdance next Friday athe the Silversprings Hotel at 8pm. This year is very special as our President of 28 years, Con o' Sullivan is retiring.

Con is the longest serving president not only in Ireland, but in Britain as well.

CLONAKILTY RFC
Loosehead PRO

Clonakilty Finish On A High Note
Clonakilty 35 Castleisland 7

The 2006/2007 rugby season drew to a close for Clonakilty with their Under 20s contesting the South Munster B Cup against Castleisland in Muskerry last Saturday. Although Clon were worthy of the favourites tag from the start it was a lacklustre performance in the first half. Plenty of possession came to nothing as passes were given and received by players slowing to perform these simple basics. Nevertheless there were some moments to savour. Early turnovers in lineout and scrum to Clon gave good field position and then good work from the impressive winger, Eoin O'Driscoll, provided the spark which ignited JD O'Mahony who finished the move by jinking through the defence for the first score. Scrumhalf Eric Murphy capitalised on a dominant scrum to score Clon's second try darting over from 10 metres. Danny Collins, a revelation at tight head, scrummaged impressively and fittingly scored the third after a series of driving scrums to leave the half time score at 15 - 0

The second half opened with a try from Castleisland. Poor Clon defence gave the Kerry side good field position and then the concession of a penalty from a Clon lineout was quickly taken and a well-worked try resulted. The excellent conversion narrowed the gap to eight points. It was the slap that Clon needed and raising their game they dominated from that point for the entire half. Tim O'Regan was excellent in the lineout. Stephen Lowney and Danny Collins were magnificent up front and it wasn't long before the pressure was rewarded with a Ciaran Calnan penalty. James Deasy with a great angled entry into the line made it 23 - 7 with a fine try and Calnan's conversion put it beyond doubt at 25 - 7 with ten minutes remaining. Clon could now throw it about and they entertained in Barbarian tradition with Calnan dropping a goal and Hooker Hugh O'Neill adding Clon's fifth and final try. Calnan again converted to leave the score at the whistle 35 - 7.

Only the Kinsale Sevens remain before the curtain is finally drawn on a remarkable season. It will be celebrated in style in The Fernhill Hotel on Sunday of this bank holiday weekend when the annual Dinner, Dance and Awards Night will also mark 30 years of achievement with a massive birthday party for the club. It will be a formal event and a reception at 8.30pm will be followed by Dinner at 9.30pm SHARP. Spot Prizes, Surprise Guests and music by The Starlight Wranglers and Disco Joe Stapletune will ensure a great night of celebration. Tickets are only €40 each to mark the occasion and are strictly limited to 200. Don't miss out contact Pat Hogan, Andrew Bradley, Maria Dillon, Barry McAdams, Rosie Murphy, Kevin Dillon, Deirdre Scannell, Emmet O'Donovan, Anna Quirke, Mike Murphy or Roy Maguire. Info 086 60 111 11

OLD CRESCENT RFC
Pat Rickard PRO

The season took another step towards its conclusion last weekend with the defeat of our final underage team in cup competition and the wind up of the mini rugby season with a party at the club.
The under 16s played UL Bohs in the semi final of the under 16 cup on Sunday morning and despite being competitive for long stretches of the game were unable to break down the well organised UL Bohs defence and were eventually defeated by 21 points to nil.
The mini section closed their season with the now traditional end of season party. This year for the first time we had a magician perform for the children and a most entertaining time was had by all. Our thanks to Peter Mac Namara, Tom Browne and Shane Gleeson for their hard work in organising such a successful event.
We also bade a fond farewell to one of our under age coaches, Mike Dawson who is returning to New Zealand with his family. The club wishes to thank Mike for his many years of coaching at Old Crescent and a safe journey home.
The final competitive game of the season for the club will take place on Friday at 7pm where our under 15s will play Newcastle West in the first Bill Mardell Memorial Cup game. Bill coached at under age level for a number of years and also acted as Chairman of under age rugby at the club before his untimely death last year. We ask as many members as possible to come to the game on Friday.
Our under 14s travelled to the Narbonne area of France last weekend for their end of season tour which included a game against a local side and the French league game between Narbonne and Toulouse. A most enjoyable trip was had by both players and parents.

ST. MARY'S RFC OPEN NEW FACILITY

Sunday last provided another historic occasion in the history of St. Mary's with the official opening of the new all-weather pitch at our grounds in Corbally. The proceedings got under way when Mr. Brian McCarthy, Club Secretary, who acted as M.C. for the occasion welcomed all present.

Mr. Christy Mullins, Club President, then addressed the guests, members, families and friends. He thanked the National Lottery, The Rapid Programme and especially the club lotto sellers who have, over the years, worked very hard to raise funds for the club. He said that the amenity would prove a great asset to our members as well as to the local clubs and schools in the area. He thanked Mr. Joe Murphy of Punch & Partners, Engineers and Mr. Noel Kerley & Associates, Architects for the project.

Mr. Willie O'Dea, T.D., Minister for Defence then addressed the gathering and said that great credit was due to the members and committees, both past and present, and all the people who gave their time voluntarily to provide what was now one of the best pavilions and sporting facilities in the Limerick area. He wished the club well in the future and was sure that it will not be long before St. Mary's are back at the top of Junior Rugby in Munster.

The Parish Priest of St. Mary's, Rev. Fr. Donough O'Malley, blessed the facility and the Minister then cut the tape to officially open the pitch. Other guests who attended included Jan O'Sullivan, T.D., Peter Power, T.D., local Councillors, Gerry McLoughlin, John Gilligan and Kieran O'Hanlon, Mr John Noonan and Mr. Gerry Moore, Munster Branch IRFU. There then followed an exhibition match on the new pitch by St. Mary's U-12 team, recent winners of the Brian Fitzgerald Plate.

All then adjourned to the clubhouse for a Reception.


UL BOHEMIAN RFC
Denis Ryan PRO

The season for UL Bohs drew to a close just a week earlier than hoped, as Cork Con proved victorious in the semi-final of the AIL. While many supporters will suggest that a top four finish is a fine achievement, the management and squad know that they were just minutes away from contesting a first-ever final. This was a game UL Bohs should have won in Temple Hill. While Con drew the first blood with a couple of penalties, Martin McPhail touched down for his usual classy try, with Ben Martin and Fergal Lawler adding a penalty and drop goal to leave the visitors in the lead 11-6 at the break. Con came back with a penalty and try, but a Tommy O'Donnell try, converted by Ben Martin, took UL Bohs into an 18-14 lead, which they held until just a couple of minutes were left on the clock. However, some loose play, at a time when the focus should have been on seeing out the full time whistle, resulted in the home team getting the intercept and touching down between the posts, with the conversion giving Con victory by 21-18. A desperately disappointing finish, for what was a very encouraging campaign; however, with many of the squad fresh from U20 duty, we can now start to plan for next season.
Coleman Finn, captain of the 1st XV, had to put the rigours of the Saturday behind him quickly as he put on his other hat-coaching the Women's team for the All Ireland League Final. Highfield, who this year became the first team to beat UL Bohs in the league over many seasons, proved to be sturdy competitors in the game in Portlaoise and UL Bohs were lucky to hold on for a stressful victory by 10-8.
While the season is now concluded for the club, we must once again congratulate Ken Rennison and his 2nd team squad who lost just one game, winning The Transfield Cup and Munster Senior Seconds trophy, and suffering a narrow defeat in the Munster Junior Cup final. Sean O'Gorman and his vice captain, Pat Fitzgerald, led from the front all year and are anxious to add the missing component of the Triple Crown next time around.
The 3rds had an excellent season, even if trophies eluded them. Unfortunately, they had to give best to Shannon in the Gleeson Cup and Webb Cup, but both games were not decided until the final whistle, and with exciting skills on show by players on each side, the large crowds were treated to thrilling contests. Now, how will we spend the summer? Roll on September!

SHANNON RFC
Andrew McNamara PRO

If last weeks notes had an air of despondency , than thankfully the final notes of the season bring positive tidings , though not entirely with two wins from three finals . The Thirds completed their magnificent season with possibly the best performance from any side in the club this season last Sunday in Musgrave Park. It was stirring stuff and not one for the faint hearted as they held on bravely and courageously in the Munster final against an equally plucky Cork Constitution side. Locky's men were truly magnificent as defended a 19-11 lead heading into the final stages of the game .What preceded the drama was a game full of commitment from two sides intent on giving it their all. After going behind to a penalty, a Wes Daly try saw us take the lead, but we again found ourselves in arrears coming close to the break. However, our forwards were gaining the upper hand and it was from an opposition scrum that we were subsequently awarded a penalty try after some excellent disruption. The lead was cut to a single point after another Con penalty and it was at this point that the strength of character of our thirds became evident. This was epitomised by the performance of Mark O'Brien who was relentless in his efforts, but he certainly wasn't a solitary force. It was he who scored the crucial try in the 58th minute and thus began the nail biting finale. On several occasions it appeared the Con had barged their way to within a whisker of scoring, but the tenacity of our defence was truly magnificent and every turn over was greeted with a sigh of relief. It seemed to those on the sideline that the referees watch had stopped as the minutes clocked up in injury time, but eventually, in the 9th minute he blew, and Locky's men could justifiably be called Munster Champions. It was a day of heroes, and in saying that, everyone of that thirds side can be categorised as such. This has been an outstanding season for the lads who added this title to the Mc Inerny cup and the Gleeson league, and but for a slender loss in the Webb Cup final could have claimed the grand slam. Whist it was the lads on the pitch that won these trophies no one will dispute the fact that it was the drive and enthusiasm of Pat Mc Loughlin, along with his management colleagues of Danny Keehan, and Jimmy Doran which was the catalyst for the tremendous season.

The U/14's completed the League and cup double when they beat Ennis on Monday evening by 29-17, but only after they were put to the pin of their collar in the second half. The 14's are a tremendous side who have been very well coached and managed, the evidence of which was demonstrated in the final. Their skills and handling were was a joy to watch and their 24-0 half time lead was well deserved. Raymond Barron was first to cross and as Ennis' resistance was eroded the scores came fast. Keith White, Shane Stanley and Conor Barry all contributed to the half time lead and the manner in which our lads played in the opening half a rout looked on the cards. Ennis, however had other ideas and scored a quick try after the restart but that was cancelled out when Paul Curtis crossed the line. It was to be our last score as Ennis reduced the lead with a try and penalty and kept pressing until the final whistle, but our lads had done more than enough to celebrate once again this season. Coach Kieran Ryan led the chorus of the Isle which was sung with great gusto, a fitting end to a great season. Well done to all the coaches and parents for their contribution throughout the season. Indeed an enormous debt of gratitude must go to the Coaches of all of our underage teams. Whether trophies are won or not, the commitment is the same and without the dedication of our excellent coaches Shannon could not continue to be to the fore of Irish rugby.

The entire underage season was wrapped up last Sunday with another hugely successful Alan Oakley day during which almost 300 players too part.

On a disappointing note our U/20's lost out to Young Munster in the final of the North Munster league on Tuesday evening by 8 points to 3. It was a bitter way to finish a season, but it wasn't for lack of effort. To a man the lads tried until the final whistle, but they came up against a Young Munster side whose determination was evident from the start of the game. Despite holding Young Munster scoreless in the second half and almost completely dominating territorially, they just couldn't break down the well organised defence. For the U/20's it has been a mixed season , but bear in mind that almost all of the squad are underage again next season , than one can appreciate what they did actually achieve. They won the North Munster League and lost out narrowly in the AIL playoffs, so they can reflect, but more importantly look forward to what their potential can be.

We remind our members that our AGM will be held on Thursday, 24 May 2007, at 8.00 sharp in the Woodfield House Hotel, Ennis Road. Notice(s) of Motion to be submitted, in writing, to Tadhg Crowe, Hon Sec, by Thursday, 10 May 2007.

More good news arrived this week in the guise of the forthcoming International tours. Mushy 's selection on the senior tour top Argentina is his big chance to stake a claim for the future and he joins fellow club men Alan Quinlan, Trevor Hogan and Jerry Flannery in South America. The A side includes Sean Cronin and Stephen Keogh and again it's an opportunity for the lads to take a step towards bigger and better things. We wish them all the very best.

The disappointment of not making the AIB league playoffs is still fresh and raw, but we do extend our congratulations to Cork Con and Garryowen for making the final and hopefully they can produce a great final which will demonstrate all that's good about our league.

Finally as these are our last weekly notes of the season, I'll take this opportunity on behalf of the executive committee of Shannon to thank everyone who has supported us at every level. The coaches , the players the Parents , our sponsors and the workers of our club are all intricate to our endeavours and successes. It's been a another long , often arduous season , but one whose rewards far outweigh the disappointments. Roll on September.

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