Andrew McNamara PRO
After the disappointment of our trip to Dungannon last week, it was great to get back to winning ways in Coonagh last Saturday. Indeed it turned out to be a very satisfying weekend for our adult sides in competitive action with the seniors, seconds and U/20â00s recording very important victories in their respective competitions.
The priority for the seniors was to get the AIB league challenge back on track and despite Galwegians taking a first half lead, it always looked as if we had the capability to secure the all important win, Although the weather conditions on the day were an improvement on our previous outings in Coonagh, the almost constant rainfall for the last number of weeks ensured that the pitch would be heavy and not conducive to our style of play. It may have contributed to the fact that at times we struggled to convert possession into points and it took a big effort to secure the winning scores. The team showed several changes from our loss up North and although not lining out for the first time this season, Mushy and Donnacha Ryan were welcome additions along with Alan Quinlan, with all three contributing handsomely to the win. Captaining the seniors for the first time in place of the injured Birthday boy Dave Quinlan seemed to suit Seanie Cronin, and his excellent display rallied the troops. Colm Mc Mahon was barely on the pitch 30 seconds when his charge over the line resulted in our first try in the second half and then Stephen Kellyâ00s speed ensured we claimed the four points on offer. While there were a few contenders for AIB man of the match, the decision to award the accolade to Phil Oâ00Connor was absolutely correct. Never a flashy player, Phil gets on with whatever he has to do, and quite often his work rate isnâ00t appreciated by onlookers.
Two points behind Cork Con at this stage of the season isnâ00t all that bad.
Five games remaining in the league means that we are entering the most crucial stage of the campaign. Itâ00s only a pity that those five games will be over a protracted period of time, but the break in action this week is certainly welcome.
Prior to the senior game, the U/20â00s took to the Well field to resume their AIL crusade. Highfield provided the opposition and despite putting up a spirited display, the Cork side were no match for our lads. The lack of game time showed at times in the performance, but still there was enough on show to impress with Marcus Oâ00Driscoll on form crossing for three tries. The bonus point was secure before the break with Eamon Lane and Rory Oâ00Connor adding to Marcusâ00 two first half tries. He added to his tally in the second half and despite Highfields valiant efforts, another try came through Keith Quigley and thus victory was ensured.
Itâ00s a win that keeps the pressure on leaders UCC who travel to Coonagh on Saturday in their final game, but we will have one more game afterwards. A win would close the 7 point gap and a further win in the final game against UL/Bohs would ensure top spot, but for the moment all concentration focuses on UCC. Kick off in Coonagh this Saturday is at 2.30 and although in conflict with the international, we urge everyone to support the lads.
On Sunday the Seconds advanced to the next round of the junior cup with a merited win over Bruff. 19-8 was the final score with all our points coming in the first half. Our lack of scoring opportunities throughout the second period was probably a combination of things, but a high penalty count against us did contribute in no small measure. However, the first half saw display was enough to see off a plucky Bruff side who always poised a threat. Not content with arty for the seniors, Colm Mc Mahon scored our opener after Les Hogan created the space and when Mark Tuohy powered over to gibe us a comfortable 14 point margin after fifteen minute sit looked as if we would have a comfortable afternoon. Bruff though will never capitulate and they played their way right back into the game, but all they had to show for their efforts was a penalty. Diarmuid Sheridan stretched our lead on the stroke of half time with a fine individual effort and the early signs of an easy victory returned, but Bruffâ00s second half effort ensured we could rest easy until the final whistle. Given the second half circumstances it was a good first time cup outing for the lads and they will certainly improve as they hopefully progress in the competition.
The thirds had a friendly game against Bruff on Saturday and were unlucky to lose out, however the main positive was that there were 25 players given that they havenâ00t played for a while.
The U/18â00s were effectively knocked out of contention for the league with a very narrow loss away to Newcastlewest. Despite tries from Martin Casey and Rory Murphy it wasnâ00t enough to prevent the 15-13 loss. This Sunday they play UL/Bohs in Coonagh at 12.15.
The U/14â00s scored a big win over Ennis to keep up their impressive league form while the U/16â00s lost out to Old Crescent.
Other underage fixtures this Sunday sees the U/8â00s host a blitz and the U/9â00s travelling to play Ballina Killaloe. The U/14â00s host Newcastlewest in a friendly and the U/13s play Bruff at 11.30 also in Coonagh.
UL Bohemian RFC
Denis Ryan PRO
It was pleasant to have a game in good weather, but the final result was heartbreaking as Clontarf got in for a try deep in added time to snatch victory by 10-8. The home supporters admitted luck was on their side, and suggested the team should buy Lotto tickets while the fates smiled on them so benevolently.
With the aid of a gusting wind UL Bohs made most of the play in the first half, and while the only score was an excellent try from Ian Hanley, a number of missed kicks were probably decisive as 5-0 looked insufficient at the break. An intercept by Chris Delooze also looked promising but the chance was lost when the final pass went to ground.
The visitors maintained possession after the resumption, and with David Foley once again snatching some opposition lineout ball, it looked as if UL Bohs might come back from Clontarf with a victory. However, a missed touch gave the home side a chance to run back at the UL Bohs defence and having got an overlap, the centre slid in at the right corner.
UL Bohs kept attacking and were rewarded when Paul Warwick put over a penalty, having seen an earlier attempt drop just under the bar, held up by the wind. It seemed as if UL Bohs had done the business as they attacked the Clontarf line deep into injury time. However, a crucial penalty award brought relief and when Clontarf got to the visitors '22', were rewarded with another penalty. This was in a very kickable position, but with no time left on the clock they opted to run the ball, and their heavily built winger forced his way over in the left corner for the winning score. The visiting players and supporters were heartbroken, while the home side celebrated winning deep in extra time for at least the third time this season. The next AIL game is against Terenure in Dublin, and victory in our remaining games is now critical if we are to have a realistic chance of making the play offs.
In the Munster Junior Cup game UL Bohs won by 30-3 although the final scoreline did not reflect the strong battle St Senan's put up, as the superior fitness of the UL Bohs side just told in the end. UL Bohs had lost home advantage due to two previous attempts to play this game being called off because of the flooded pitches.
In perfect conditions UL Bohs had the slight wind advantage in the first half, but it was the home side who struck early on, putting over a penalty when the visitors had a player yellow carded. Indeed, this was one of three handed out in what was a very clean and sporting game, the infringements all being for technical offences. Despite being a man down, UL Bohs struck back immediately with a well taken try, touched down by Jamie English. Aidan McNulty's conversion attempt came back from an upright, but the outhalf made no mistake when putting over a penalty in front of the post when a home player was deemed to have played the ball illegally as UL Bohs were camped on the line. This offence also earned a yellow card. Another penalty soon after gave UL Bohs a bit more breathing space.
The half time scoreline of 11-3 just about reflected the UL Bohs superiority, but the game was still in the balance until midway through the half. A couple of missed penalty opportunities for the home side proved costly, when the fitness of the UL Bohs side began to pay off.
Mark Butler first ran in for an excellent try, followed by another from Aidan McNulty, and then in the final play of the game, David Moloney broke through strongly to complete the scoring. Aidan McNulty put over 2 conversions in what was a competent performance against a team which had a large competitive pack and some dangerous runners in the backs. The next round will be played on Sunday when Garryowen supply the opposition for what should be a very exciting contest.
The U-20s travelled to Athlone and returned well satisfied after a 43-7 victory in the League. The pitch was barely playable, with deep muddy patches of particular concern to the referee, but UL Bohs made light of the morass and crossed for seven well worked tries. Next Saturday it s another away trip, this time to Cork where Highfield await.
The 3rd XV were well beaten by Garryowen in the McInerney Cup, and will now focus on having a successful run in the Webb Cup.