12 Dec, 17:21
Munster Rugby recently held a Clare Schools U16 blitz at Ennis in Lees Road, Co. Clare.
Clonakilty elected to play with the strong wind in the opening half and had to sustain some early pressure from the Richmond pack before a brilliant move involving Ciaran Calnan and Mark Purcell sent winger Chris Spearman scampering up the touch line to score in the corner after five minutes. James Deasy expertly converted from the touchline and the home side’s nerves were calmed by this early score.
Quick ball out the backs was posing all sorts of trouble for the Limerick side. Deasy extended the home side’s advantage with a penalty after sixteen minutes but two penalty misses, one came off the upright, in a three minute spell minutes shortly after, turned out to be costly for the home side.
Deasy made it 13-0 with his second successful penalty kick after twenty three minutes.
Richmond began to come more into the game with Mike Kelleher proving to be very dangerous with ball in hand.
Brian Mullins was off target with two penalty attempts for Richmond but just approaching half time, the game switched in the visitors favour when Kelleher cut through the home defence to score under the posts and Mullins converted for a 13-7 half time lead for Clonakilty.
Two minutes into the second half Mullins closed the gap to three with a penalty.
Clonakilty began to put the pressure on the Munster Junior League Champions and the turning point in the game came when a clearance by Mullins was blocked down by Mark Purcell but the Clonakilty scrum half failed to control the ball and knocked it on just short of the line.
Clonakilty kept up the pressure and a drive by their pack following a line out saw Tony Illston touch down but Deasy failed with the conversion to leave the score 18-10.
Sensing the game slipping from them, Richmond hit back immediately and Kelleher was on hand to score his side’s second try and Mullins converted to leave one between the sides.
Richmond hit the front with seventeen minutes remaining when Mullins kicked a penalty and added two more on 67 and 77 minutes to leave eight between the sides.
With the game entering injury time Clon’ threw everything at Richmond. Alfie Harte was held up on the line and from the resulting scrum; the ball was spread out to Kieran Howlin who touched down.
From the restart Clon’ gained possession deep in their own half and tried to work the ball up field in an effort to score a try to win the game or level with a penalty, but their efforts failed when the ball was knocked on and the large Limerick following began to celebrate a famous victory.
Scorers Clonakilty: Chris Spearman, Tony Illston, Kieran Howlin tries, James Deasy con, 2 pens.
Richmond: Mike Kelleher 2 tries, Brian Mullins 2 cons, 4 pens.
Clonakilty: James Deasy; Kieran Howlin, Jason Wycherley, David Lombard, Chris Spearman; Ciaran Calnan, Mark Purcell; Derry O’Neill, Batt Duggan (Capt), Aidan Foley; Tomas Keogh, Mike Keohane; Ger McCarthy, Tony Illston, Alfie Harte.
Replacements: Stephen Cotter, Gary Shannon, Sean White, Ciaran O’Donovan and Paddy Ryan.
Richmond: Gareth O'Hanlon; Emmett Harty, Mike Kelleher, Stephen Clancy, James Kelly; Brian Mullins, Thomas O'Brien; Barry McNamara, Pat Humphries, Pat McNamara; Johnathon Tully, James Hayes; John Deegan, Sean Bennett, David Sheehan.
Replacements: Thomas Aherne, Mackie O'Neill, Gearoid Phelan, Jeffrey McNamara, Finbarr Hogan.
Referee: Brian MacNeice (IRFU).