13 Dec, 16:30
West Cork side Skibbereen RFC will travel to the Showgrounds tomorrow, 14th December (kick-off 2pm) to take on Clogher Valley in the semi-final of the All-Ireland Junior Cup
Clon Consolidate Improvement Curve
Clonakilty continued their New Year form improvement with a very hard-earned two points in The Vale last Saturday. Navan came to town looking for at least four points and indeed would have targeted five to get their title aspirations back on track. However they met a determined Clonakilty side in no mood to lie down and hungry for points themselves. In the end neither side will feel hard done by in sharing the spoils.
The last and only time Navan had played Clonakilty was at the end of that famous 2000/01 season when they were unlucky to come up against a star-studded Clon side that would go on to a hugely enjoyable decade of success. There were signs emerging that this current squad is also building into a formidable force. The Meath men had a significant and obvious advantage in the physical stakes. Their size and weight was very evident at the breakdown where they forced many turnovers and in the set pieces where they used their bulk and power to advantage. Clon on the other hand were not lacking in heart and purpose to make up the difference particularly in the front five.
Weather conditions were almost balmy in total contrast to the rest of the country and conducive to open rugby and indeed the attendance was never bored in an absorbing contest. Clon fell behind after 10 minutes when Navan power resulted in an unstoppable momentum which ended in a converted try. Clon narrowed the gap when a huge clearance kick from Joe Lee found touch five metres from the line. Courtney Canning pressured the clearance and forced the Navan defence to give Clon a lineout and from that a good back’s move was halted illegally and James Deasy slotted on 14 minutes. Good play from Clon with Tony Illston outstanding gave Deasy another chance and he goaled another penalty spectacularly from 42 metres to leave one point between the sides.
Lee’s kicking was superb and he used the tactic to gain field position time and again when Clon were under pressure. Batt Duggan was again outstanding in his work rate and prominent in the build up with Aidan Foley and David Lombard that led to Kieran Howlin finishing clinically for a try to give Clon the lead at 11 -6 on the half hour. They continued to pressure the visitors and Deasy again supplied the points just before half time from a penalty to leave Clon a useful 14 – 7 lead at the break.
The second half was in its infancy when Navan reduced that lead by three with a penalty. They started to use their power and only resolute defence from Clon kept them scoreless for another half hour but eventually they prevailed and regained the lead with a try which most observers would feel was deserved. However the reaction of the players behind the posts particularly Lombard, Harte and Duggan was clearly indicative that they did not share this feeling. There was clear anger and it showed from the restart as they took the game to the visitors.
Try as they might they could not break the defence until a great piece of play from Lombard gained parity. Clon were on the defence and soaking up pressure. A Navan line out ten metres from Clon’s line was contested robustly and Lombard capitalised on the error gathering the ball instantly and accelerated up field. He was eventually stopped inside the Navan 22 but the support was there and sustained pressure through a series of phases inevitably drew the penalty in front of the posts. It was the easiest of kicks that Deasy has had to take in any match but also the most pressurised. It would be so easy to scuff this and the crowd knew it as a Thomond Park like silence engulfed the ground. The trade mark low trajectory was unnerving but it was also unerring and a deserved draw and two valuable points were in the Clon bag.
Off to Drogheda now for Clonakilty this Saturday for the battle with Boyne. The Louth club is an amalgamation of Drogheda and Delvin and was founded in 1997. They had a very creditable mid-table finish in their first senior AIL season in 2011/12 but they have a string of impressive results behind them already this season. They have only lost two games, the most recent last Saturday against run away leaders Rainey Old Boys. They were in second place prior to that defeat and will be eager to bounce back immediately to get their promotion challenge back on track. However they will probably have to do so without their captain and ace kicker, Niall Kerbey, who saw red last weekend for dissent.
The squad was: James Deasy, Kieran O’Donovan, Alan Long, David Lombard, Kieran Howlin, Joe Lee, Mark Purcell, Derry O’Neill, Stephen Cotter, Aidan Foley, Tomas Keogh, Sean White, Batt Duggan (Capt), Tony Illston, Courtney Canning, Alfie Harte, Mike Keohane, Ger McCarthy, Ciaran Calnan, Luke O’Shea and Gary Shannon.
This weekend’s Fixtures
Pan Munster Under 17 League, Waterpark V Clonakilty, Waterford 7.30pm
South Munster Under 15 league, Clonakilty V Bantry Bay, The Vale 11.30am
All Ireland League: Boyne V Clonakilty, Drogheda, 2.30pm
Young Munster RFC – Courtesy of Olivia O’Sullivan, PRO
Under 21s win North Munster League Final
Congratulations to our Under 21 side who won the North Munster League Final defeating UL Bohemians by 18-13. Our tries by Jake Considine (Capt.) and Gavin Ryan with conversion and two drop goals by Shane O’Leary.
Bonus point win for Seconds
In the North Munster Seconds League, Young Munster defeated Shannon 28-9 securing a bonus point win in Coonagh to retain the top spot on the table. Tries by Declan Bannon, Daniel Montgomery, Mark Mulvaney, and Shane O’Leary. O’Leary also kicked 8 points with two penalties and a conversion.
Special 20-Year Anniversary Function
The spirit of ’93 lives on… On Friday February 15th a special dinner will take place in the Greenhills Hotel celebrating the AIL winning team of 1993. Tickets are €35 available from Fergal Deegan 086-2265692 or Michael O’Donoghue 087-7626163. Book immediately as places are limited.
Clubhouse open Sundays and available for functions
The clubhouse at Tom Clifford Park is open every Sunday with all pints just €3.50. To enquire about having functions in the clubhouse contact Frank Corr 087-2901015.
Saturday January 26th
• AIL Div 1A: Dolphin v Young Munster 2.30pm Musgrave Park
• AIL U21 S.W. Conference: NUIG/Corinthians v Young Munster 2.30pm Dangan Galway
Sunday January 27th
• AIL Womens Cup: Young Munster v Tralee 1pm Derryknockane
• Munster Junior Cup: Young Munster v Galbally 2pm Tom Clifford Park