No matter how hard we try, we just can't put a gloss over our difficult predicament in the Ulster Bank league, and even if we could, it's only ourselves we'd be fooling. Sure, we can pick out a few good points and suggest that we are still masters of our own destiny, and as true as that is, it still doesn't make the next few weeks less nervy. We face one of the biggest challenges the club has had, on the pitch, in some time after our loss to fellow strugglers Old Belvedere last Saturday.
31-16 is a scoreline that tells the tale of woe. It was Belvo's only second win, and first bonus point one to boot. A team that couldn't muster a win for so long suddenly have seemed to have gained a newfound confidence and have edged their way closer to our own position. The simple fact is that we don't have a confidence that could have seen us come close to safety on Saturday and we suffered accordingly. Missed tackles and an inability to match the pace of Belvo accounted for many of our woes.
The opening salvos of the game were hugely positive from our perspective, but we were frustrated by refereeing decisions, which seemed to suspend our momentum on a number of occasions. Not wishing to lay blame anywhere but our own doorstep, it certainly was hugely disconcerting to see the lads being harshly treated, when our opposition seemed to infringe in exactly the same manner without castigation.
That was the story of the opening quarter, but as the game wore on, it was apparent that the man in the middle couldn't shoulder more than a tiny portion of our ultimate downfall. Tries will win games, in our case the lack of tries are costing us games. There was one point in the second half when this scribe felt we could kick on and win the game.
A 25-metre surge from the pack eventually saw us with a 5-metre lineout. If we managed to get a clean ball, than it looked almost certain we'd barge over, but alas neither was forthcoming and Belvo just opened up a once sturdy defence and get the bonus point win. It wasn't even a consolation when Stephen Keogh sprinted over the try line for a late score, it barley raised an eyebrow. Belvo had their job done and were just waiting for their official celebrations to begin.
Frustration is a recurring theme these days. The team is full of it, the management are full of it and the hardy souls that continue to show their undivided loyalty to the team are full of it.
There's little more to be said at the moment. We'll take stock and prepare for our showdown with Blackrock next week with a deep, deep sense of righting the wrongs of our season. It's tough at the top, and God knows we've been there on more occasions than most, but with darkness closing in around us ,all of us need to remember those days of seemingly eternal brightness that this team, that our club, has afforded a great many people over the years and remain faithful. If ever we need a proclamation of faith in our club, by everyone who has enjoyed the merest drop of joy and pleasure than its now, in our time of need. We'll see!
Elsewhere the U/19's began their open cup campaign with a great win over Bruff by 38-18
We were deeply proud of Shannon lads, Greg O'Shea and Cormac O'Donnell as they lined out (and continue to line out this week) for the Irish schools team in the U/18 European championships. It's always great to see players who started their rugby with the club prosper and continue to develop in their school environment with such distinction. We continue to revel in their success and look forward to the not so distant future when they'll line out in the club colours once more. We also congratulate fellow Limerick man Gearoid Lyons on his selection in the schools squad, another player with a bright future ahead.
We remind people about our President's sponsored walk takes place on April 15th and we encourage everyone to get behind Eddie Price's venture as we aim to raise much-needed funds for the upkeep of our clubhouse and Thomond Park. Full details can be seen on the website.
Friday 6th April
Under 14 Cup: Shannon V Presentation 7.30pm Coonagh New Pitch
Under 19 Cup: Shannon/St Mary's V Old Crescent 6.45pm Coonagh Main Pitch
Monday 9th April
Under 17 League Final: Bruff V Garryowen 12.00 Coonagh Main Pitch
Wednesday 11th April
Under 19 Open Cup: Shannon/St Mary's V St Senans 6.45pm Coonagh Main Pitch
Young Munster RFC
Third place target finish in Ulster Bank League
With two games left in the Ulster Bank League, it's fair to say Young Munster has finally given up hope of contending the title this year, and last weekend's performance against Lansdowne probably compounded that. Spectators felt we had all the signs of a team with not enough to play for, and so it was not to be our day. We were behind 25-13 going in at the break - Darragh O'Neill and Ger Flaherty getting tries for us with a penalty for Willie Staunton. In the second half we had a try from Neville Melbourne but this was the total tally as Lansdowne stormed to victory.
Final score: Lansdowne 44 - 18 Young Munster
We remain third in the table and the highest placed Munster team flanked by Dublin teams in first (Clontarf -59 points), second (St.Mary's -58 points), and fourth positions (Lansdowne overtook Cork Con to move to fourth) with only a three point lead over Lansdowne, we have 48 points and they have 45. Cork Con are sixth on 44 points.
In the final two games, Lansdowne play Old Belvedere away and Clontarf at home. Con play Garryowen away and Belvo at home. We take on Dolphin at home on April 14th and are away to Mary's for game 18 on April 21st. If we want to hold onto third position for the finish we need to make the game count against Dolphin on Saturday week, and reap revenge for the defeat we suffered when we met them in Cork earlier this season.
This season isn't over yet, we've had one hell of a rollercoaster year and a fantastic journey for the supporters, but it's up to the boys now to finish it out with our heads held high. We need huge support for our final home game against Dolphin. The team has given us some great moments during the league, let's show our appreciation by coming out in force for one last time in Tom Clifford Park on April 14th.
If you would like to make a day out of it, reserve your place at the Game 17 v Dolphin Pre-Match Lunch, contact Brendan Collopy at 086-6062606 or Fergal Deegan 086-2265692. €25 includes 2-course lunch with wine, match programme and admission.
Remaining league games :
YM UBL GAME 17 - Dolphin at home 14/04/12
* to reserve your place at this Pre-Match Lunch, contact Brendan Collopy at 086-6062606 or Fergal Deegan 086-2265692.
YM UBL GAME 18 -St. Mary's away 21/04/12
Underage Fixtures & Results
Monday 9th April
Under 15s Cup: Ballina/Killaloe V Young Munster 6.15pm
Tuesday 10th April
Under 13s Cup: Garryowen V Young Munster, Dooradoyle 7pm
Friday 13th April
Under 19s Open Cup: Young Munster V Garryowen, Derrknockane 7pm
Underage results from last weekend:
Under 13s Cup: Newcastlewest 0 - 35 Young Munster
Under 15s Cup: Young Munster 13 - 8 UL/Bohs
Under 16s Development League: St Mary's/Shannon 5 - 42 Young Munster