12 Dec, 17:21
Munster Rugby recently held a Clare Schools U16 blitz at Ennis in Lees Road, Co. Clare.
By: Olivia O'Sullivan, Young Munster PRO
Going into our second league game of the season, with AIL champions St Marys College visiting Clifford Park, there weren’t many predicting a victory for the home side. Despite a bonus point win in our first match v Shannon, this was going to be a different game altogether, and a real test to see how well Mike Prendergast’s side has gelled with many new players this season.
From the off however, Young Munster took control in the scrums and earned two early penalties to take a 6-0 lead at the boot of Brian Haugh. These were the only scores of the half, with both sides having a penalty kick each go wide before the break.
If the first half had been hard-fought yet relatively uneventful, the second half was quite the opposite. Referee Richard Kerr produced six yellow cards during the half as both coaches looked on incredulous.
Mary’s centre Marcus O’Driscoll landed a drop goal for the visitors after the restart bringing the score to 6-3. After repeated infringements their loosehead Colm McMahon was the first to see yellow.
Young Munster continued to dominate in the scrum, and after winning one against the head, Gareth Quinn-McDonagh took the ball to the corner with a giant kick to bring play to the Mary’s 5m. On attack and looking like this was surely going to be our try, we had an overlap on the left wing but as the ball was passing out, Arthur Lyons deliberately knocked on for Mary’s earning himself a yellow card and leaving the ref with little choice, after discussion with his assistant, to declare a penalty try. Brian Haugh converted and we were up 13-3.
Moments later it was 13-6 as Ray Crotty landed a penalty in front of the posts at the Clubhouse end for St Mary’s.
Our back row Luke Russell was next to see yellow for repeated infringements at the breakdown, Mary’s first sin-binned player was back on at this stage so both sides now had 14 players on the pitch.
Hooker Ger Slattery was next on the card list for a professional foul in our 5m, and in the same minute the ref was calling the St Mary’s hooker Richard Sweeney and our no8 Neville Melbourne also giving them yellow cards for what most in attendance agreed were the unlikeliest cards of the day.
We were now down to 12 players, Mary’s had 14 with the earlier carded players back on the pitch. The score was 13-9 now with a penalty scored for Mary’s by Ray Crotty.
With three of the Young Munster forwards in the bin (2,7 & 8), it wasn’t surprising that St Mary’s capitalized at this point, their no8 Kevin Sheehan getting in for a try. They crucially failed to convert the try however, with the kick going right of the posts.
Somehow, despite the numbers game, Young Munster held on. Players worked even harder to cover, and soon Luke Russell was back on the field so at least we were 13 playing 14.
On attack in their 22, we were awarded a penalty 30m out, to the right of the posts, and Brian Haugh curled in over to regain the lead for Munsters, 16-14.
It was tense stuff till the final whistle but Young Munster held out for a very hard-fought home victory over the 2011/12 AIL champs.
A drama-filled second half had seen six yellow cards, a converted penalty try, a try, a drop goal and three penalties. Despite one national newspaper headline declaring ‘Young Munster win bad-tempered encounter <http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/young-munster-win-bad-tempered-encounter-569633.html> ’ in fact there hadn’t been a punch thrown, so the encounter was unfairly judged a brawl as a result of the number of cards which were in fact for professional fouls for the most part.
Speaking to press afterwards, Mike Prendergast commented, “It’s on days like these that you can see who stands up best and while we made a few mistakes, I am very proud of our players. We were down to 12 men at one stage as the yellow cards flew about but our defence was great, particularly in the second half. The new guys in our squad have really bought into what we are trying to do here.”
Forwards coach John ‘Paco’ Fitzgerald told the Limerick Leader, “Our defence was awesome today, Luke Russell and Colin Liston were outstanding.”
Final score: Young Munster 16 – 14 St Mary’s College
SCORERS - Young Munster: penalty try, Brian Haugh three penalties, one conversion. St Mary’s: Kevin Sheehan try, drop goal Marcus O’Driscoll drop goal, Ray Crotty two penalties. Yellow Cards:, G Slattery, L Russell, N Melbourne (YM), C McMahon, R Sweeney, A Lyons (SMC).
YOUNG MUNSTER - Craig O’Hanlon; Dom Lespierre, Mark Doyle, Lucas Kuntz, Dara O’Neill; Gareth Quinn-McDonagh, Brian Haugh; Ger O’Flaherty, Ger Slattery, Daragh Cantillon; Sean Duggan, Darren Gallagher; Colin Liston, Luke Russell, Neville Melbourne. Replacements: Mike Madden, Ger Bourke, Hugh McGrath, Pat Fitzgerald (all used), Mike Prendergast.
ST MARY’S COLLEGE - Conor Hogan; Ray Crotty, Marcus O’Driscoll, Ryan O’Loughlin, Darren Hudson; Andrew Burke, Matt D’Arcy; Colm McMahon, Richard Sweeney, Robert Sweeney; Kieran Ruddick, Gareth Logan; Darragh Kelleher, Gareth Austin, Kevin Sheehan. Replacements, Chris Lilly, Peter Starrett, Kurt Haupt, Arthur Lyons (all used), Fossett Dylann
Referee: Richard Kerr (IRFU)
League wins for Seconds, Thirds & bonus point for U21s
It was great news all round for the club this weekend with our Thirds beating Garryowen 17-9 in Dooradoyle on Saturday in the Gleeson League, and our U21s taking an away bonus point against Galweigans, winning 28-7. Our Second XV played Thomond in Fitzgerald Park on Sunday, in the Munster Seconds League, winning 22-15.
Second XV Final score: Thomond 22 – 15 Young Munster
Third XV Final score: Garryowen 9 – 17 Young Munster
U21 XV Final score: Galweigans 7 – 28 Young Munster
Friday 12th October
Munster Senior Cup: Shannon v Young Munster, 7.30pm Coonagh
Saturday 13th October
Gleeson League: Young Munster v Richmond, 1.00pm Derryknockane
U21 South West Conference: Young Munster v Cork Constitution. 2.30pm Tom Clifford Park
Monday 15th October
Munster Seconds League: Old Crescent v Young Munster, 7.30pm Rosbrien
Heineken Cup Match Tickets Available
Pool Matches x 3 Packages:
- Category A - Stand Tickets - €170
- Category B - Stand Tickets - €140
- Terrace Tickets - €110
For further information, please contact:
Ger O'Shaughnessy 086-8360787 or Brendan Collopy 086-6062606
Young Munster Under 15’s League v Bruff
Last Sunday, we travelled to Bruff for the third round of the Under 15 League, and for the second week in a row, we suffered an agonising defeat by a two point margin, going down by 15-13 to the home team.
We welcomed back David Benn after a long-term injury and he showed no ill effects of the long lay-off.
The opening exchanges were evenly contested and we struck early, with Dean Garvey slotting over a penalty after 10 minutes when Bruff were penalised in front of their own posts.
The physically bigger Bruff pack began to gain the upper hand in tight exchanges, and pressure eventually told after 25 minutes when Bruff crashed over for a try after several surges by their pack. A lapse of concentration by us saw Bruff cross for a further try on the stroke of half time, leaving the score at10-3 to Bruff at the break. Our opponents started the second half in determined mood and a well worked move off the base of a scrum close to our line saw them cross for their third try.
We gradually began to come to terms with the physicality of the bigger Bruff team, with Andrew McNamara a revelation at full back (his first outing in this position). Indeed several of our players featured in unfamiliar positions and did extremely well.
On 45 minutes, we managed to get a foothold in the Bruff 22, and second row Eoghan Carey crossed for a try from close range. Further sustained pressure saw us begin to dominate proceedings with Bruff lucky to avoid losing a player to the sin bin after being penalised for persistently infringing at the breakdown.
Calvin McDonagh had his first outing at No.8 and proved to be a constant thorn in Bruff’s side, ably assisted by Jack Finucane, Shane O’Connell and Jake Fitzgerald who gave a great display, particularly when switched to hooker. Our centres were really causing problems for the Bruff defence, with newcomer Enis Xiahiaj scoring a brilliant individual try on his debut for the Cookies. With the last kick of the game, Dean Garvey was agonisingly just wide with the conversion attempt, which would have given us a well deserved draw.
Although we were very disappointed to come away empty handed, the performance by the team is improving considerably with each passing week, and with some players due back from injuries and other commitments, the future bodes well.
Team: Andrew McInerney Tadhg Enright, Enis Xiahiaj, David Benn, Seamus Rainsford; Dean Garvey, Josh Fitzgerald; Jack Finucane, Emmett Connolly, Jake Bennis; Eoghan Carey, Shane O’Connell; Jake Fitzgerald, Calvin McDonagh, Brendan Kelly. Subs: Damien Benson, Anthony Shaw, Caylum O’Dwyer.