Seconds Out… Round 2.. Ding, Ding, ….. Well, it's really Round 18 of the Ulster Bank league, but in our quest for survival in Division 1 A, last Saturday's stirring victory over Blackrock represents the first bout of the two match programme that will decide our ultimate fate.
In boxing parlance, we're winning on points and only a late knockout will cause untold damage to our aspirations.
There have been times before, in other years when our senior side were on the ropes so to speak, but more often than not a fighting spirit transcends the players that takes over, and results in a resolve that is near impenetrable. But in fairness to the lads, there was a resolve all season to perform, but application sometimes was our downfall. Last Saturday in Coonagh we had both, a rare unification of forces that Blackrock simply had no answer for. Ok, for sure we could pick holes and certain deficiencies on occasion, but on a day when the performance was of secondary importance to the result we were treated to a vintage Shannon display of commitment,skill and above all,determination to ensure our destiny remains very much within our own remit.
The encouragement we applied last week to our supporters certainly worked, and we had a rousing gallery who at every turn were willing to get involved. We said last week that every shout and cheer was unique and more than anything, appreciated, and there was no better way for the lads to show their appreciation than to produce a quality 21-3 victory. The general theme amongst all the players in the aftermath was that the multitude of voices, urging and willing them on throughout the game was a major influencing factor. It began with the roar of encouragement as they entered the pitch and continued until they left it and for that we thank everyone that made the effort to get to Coonagh.
Right from the start the evidence of desire was witnessed as the lads set their stall out early. The strong breeze in our faces proved little in the way of an obstacle as the lads pounded and harassed their way around the park. One report of the proceedings implied that the game was error strewn and while we may have had occasional misdirection on a few occasions, any accumulation of errors were displaced with the abundance of desire that was demonstrated. Indeed had we had a bit more clinical accuracy we may have headed in the dressing rooms with a healthier score line than the 5-0 return we had. It was birthday boy Connor Cunnane that dealt us the lead with a typical finish for the winner who breezed into the corner after a 5m Scrum. And speaking of the scrums, we again must pay credit to the pack for their general ascendency throughout the game. The path was certainly laid by the eight forwards who were in no mood to be bossed around throughout the game.
There were a few minutes where Blackrock threatened, but it was only that, a few minutes and a strong will in defence put paid to any tricky situations. We managed to get a few penalties which allowed Tadgh to increase the lead, and they were hared earned penalties at that. For long periods it seemed that the ref could only blow his whistle and raise his hand in one direction and they ironic cheer when we did get the first kickable penalty told its own story. In short we were comfortable throughout the game. The score line flattered us not one iota. To be retrospective and a little greedy, had a few things went our way than we could well have gained an extra point, but as I said at the start, all we aimed for was a win. By the time Rob Guerin stretched out his hand to score our second try late on, we were already checking in for the result that would have a consequence on our week ahead. The news that Belvo won wasn't greeted with universal approval, but nonetheless, we are where we are, with our fate very much in our own hands.
We once again meet Dolphin on the final day of the league, and again there is something at stake, for us anyway. It's been like this for what seems to be forever, but despite Dolphin seemingly with little to play for, I've no doubt it would boast their season if they had a hand in our relegation. We simply have to win first and foremost. We'll get it out there now however, but mention it no more; a winning bonus point would see us clear and uncatchable without the reliance on results elsewhere. That's it we've said it, but we have no expectation of anything other than a whole hearted performance of honest endeavour such as the one which served us well last Saturday. We can ask no more of this honest bunch of players. They'll look after what needs looking after on the pitch, others will look elsewhere for the permutations. We look again though, for the support and encouragement of everyone involved, past and present in the club. This game now takes on a significance of even greater importance than last Saturday and again we all have a role to play. A subsidised supporters coach will leave Thomond Park at 11pm on Saturday. It's cost only €10 and Des McInerney is the man to take your bookings, 086 8558522.
We wish Stephen and the lads the very best of luck and we'll be hoping that it's the last we see of our senior team for this season.
The result on Saturday certainly boosted the general feeling around the club, and on Sunday Morning the inaugural Presidents Walk turned out to be a great success with over 200 people taking to the streets of Limerick. Eddie Price lead the crew who were bathed in wonderful sunshine throughout the walk. It was a great sight to see half of the Shelbourne footpath taken up with the walking hoards made up mainly of our underage boys and girls and parents. The meandering path lead back to Thomond park where Maire and her crew were on hand to feed the masses. Jerry Flannery and Marcus Horan were floating around, happy to stand for a multitude of pictures, but the main focus in the aftermath of the Walk was the announcement of our club person of the year.
This year we once again had a very worthy winner and Frankie Conway's recognition as one of our clubs hardest workers was greeted with unanimous support. We always say that Coonagh is our greatest asset, but it takes and enormous amount of work and commitment to ensure it remains that way. Frankie is one of those whose tireless efforts ensure that is the case and everyone who using the facilities owe Frankie and his Coonagh co-workers, John Galvin and Tadgh Crowe an enormous debt of gratitude. Hail, rain or shine Frankie is in Coonagh almost every day volunteering his services. Frankie Conway is a Shannon man to the core and was a very talented player in his day. A lifelong, player and member of Shannon he is one of those unsung heroes that all sporting organisations rely heavily upon. We are very fortunate that we can rely on Frankie and his selfless acts to ensure we all enjoy our most prized possession. On behalf of all the players and members, we thank and salute you Frankie.
Back to the action on the pitch and our ladies put in a huge performance to completely overwhelm Thurles in the AIL by a virtual cricket score. The tries came thick and fast in the 48-0 win and the Tipp side were no match for our women. We don't have the try scorers to hand, but I've been told that Katie McCloskey scored all the points, although it was her boyfriend that informed us, so it might be a tad unreliable. Either way it was a great team performance and they girls now head out to Galbally this Sunday.
The U/21's went to Garryowen for the North Munster cup with a severely depleted squad, but as they have proven many times this season, they have a strength within them to absorb such difficulties and produce good performances. This time however, the performance wasn't enough and the light blues just about squeezed through. Victims of some difficult referring decisions the lads had a rather frustrating morning, but some things you just have no control over.
At underage we had yet another successful Shannon/St Marys merger, this time at U/16 level and we got the follow report from Des Farrell on Sundays success.
" Shannon/St Marys combined 16s team finished off their season on Sunday in style by winning the annual" Stuart O Connell" shield with a convincing victory over a strong St Senans team in Shannon town. It was great to see the boys lift a bit of silverware at the end of a mixed but invaluable league campaign. Although through injury we only had half of our regular Shannon boys available on the day they stamped their mark on the game from start to finish, in particular Niall Hardiman (hooker) with an outstanding hat-trick of tries. Other powerful ball carrying and defensive displays from Cian O Shaughnessy and Ryan O'Sullivan Glynn in the pack and an impressive sniping performance from scrum half Shea Farrell topped off a memorable day. The coaching team at Shannon RFC would like to thank the St Marys boys in making this such a successful venture. The boys follow in the footsteps of the hugely successful under 19s team, and by making the move ensured the lads got to continue to play at a high competitive level for their clubs to the end of season."
We echo Des's sentiments and congratulate all involved in this merger.
Talk of the U/19's and they are gearing up for yet another huge game this weekend. Its ALL Ireland semi final time on Saturday and Monivea stand between them and the coveted All, Ireland final place. Once again we find ourselves torn between fixtures and the 19's will certainly suffer support due to the senior game, but again we will be with them in spirit, however, fortunately the game is on locally in Tom Clifford park and we urge anyone that can't make the senior game to make the effort to head out and support Brendan and the lads. They deserve every bit of support we can muster and we only hope that we will get to see them in a Final in a few weeks time. We wish them the very best of luck.
Finally we wish to inform all our members that the AGM has been set for Wednesday 23rd of May in the clubhouse. As per our club rules, all elected positions on the executive committee can be contested by any paid up member. There will be positions which will not be contested by sitting executive committee members. Any nominations or notice of motions must be submitted in writing, as per the club rules, to the Hon. Secretary, Tadgh Crowe 14 days prior to the date of the AGM which means that any paper work for submission must be with Tadgh on or before Tuesday 8th of May.
Finally, Finally LETS GET TO CORK ON SATURDAY, YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU.
Seniors AIL V Dolphin Musgrave Pk 2.35pm
Women's' AIL V Galbally Galbally 1.30pm
Thursday 19th April
Under 17 Open Cup: Shannon V Garryowen 7 pm Coonagh
Saturday 21st April
Under 19 All Ireland Semi Final: Shannon/St Mary's V Monivea 12 noon Tom Clifford Park
Sunday 22nd April
Under 14 Cup Semi Final: Old Crescent V Shannon 10.30 am Rosbrien
Under 15 Cup Semi Final: Garryowen V Shannon 11 am Dooradoyle
Under 19 Open Cup Semi Final: UL Bohs V Shannon 12 noon Annacotty
Waterpark advance to J2 Cup Final
Waterpark 65- Tralee 5.
Waterpark will contest the final of the J2 Cup against Old Christians following this victory over holders Tralee.
A team built with a mix of youth and experience had too much power and pace for the visitors. The home side has the upper hand in all facets of the game. Right form the first scrum the tone of the game was set when Waterpark's front row of Paddy Queally, Ben Cross and PJ Kinsella had their opposite numbers in all kinds of trouble. By half time the game had moved to uncontested scrum such was the domination Waterpark had up front. At this stage Waterpark led by 22 points to nil with winger Dave Fitzgerald scoring two tries and full back Tom Keisery scoring one try. Out half and captain Richard Halley kicking 2 conversions and one penalty.
In the second half Waterpark continued to score tries, seven in total with the interplay between backs and forwards of a high standard. The coaches emptied the bench to give the entire squad some game time but this did not affect the Waterpark game plan.
Hooker Ben Cross, No 8 Damien O'Dwyer and replacement back row Dave Lattimer got one try apiece. Full back Tom Kiesery scored 3 tries with Dave Fitzgerald added another.
One of the unsung heroes of this team is Andrew Moore a player who has made his way through the youth system in the club. Andrew does his job on the pitch quietly and effectively whether it's wining lineout, making tackles or securing ruck ball.
Overall a very impressive performance from the team with a cup final next on the list. Coaches Sean Devaney, Andy Crowley and Nick Murphy with have some selection dilemmas ahead of the final with so many players playing well.
The Irish youths completed their season with a 38-10 loss to England.
Congratulations to Jack O'Donoghue on captaining the side for the season. This is a great honour for the player and the club.
Last week the following players lined out for Munster at underage levels
Tom Keisery and Damien ODwyer featured for the Munster under 20's against UCC on Wednesday night.
Adam Walsh, Darren Coady and Tom O'Hare played for the Munster under19's against Rockwell in Cashel on Friday night.
Waterpark Under 14 blitz's
12 teams completed in a cup, plate and bowl competition.
The teams how took part were Dungravan, Clonmel, Coolmine, Middelton, Young Munsters , Lansdowne , Caldy Crusaders , Caldy, Wicklow, Waterpark 1999 and Waterpark 1998. The games commenced at 11am and the finals we played at 4.30pm. The results from the Final were:
Caldy from Liverpool won the Cup
Young Munster beat Clonmel to win the Plate competition
Waterpark 1999 beat Coolmine 17-12 in the bowl final.
Player of the tournament based on the referee's options was Stephen Jones from Waterpark 1999
Thanks to all those who took part in the day, based on the feedback from the visiting teams this may be become an annual event.
Young Munster RFC
Will Young Munster deny St. Mary's the Ulster Bank League title?
Last weekend's bonus point win for Young Munster over Dolphin ensures drama to the very end of the All Ireland League with our fixture away to St. Mary's on Saturday a title decider. Clontarf must win their game with Lansdowne in the Aviva, and all eyes will be on Templeville Road with live TV coverage of our game there on RTE2 from 2.30pm to see if we can deny St.Mary's College the 2011/2012 league title.
Young Munster were 32-24 winners over Dolphin in what was described as an 'ill-tempered Munster derby' at Tom Clifford Park. After a fifth minute brawl, two red cards were handed out, one to each no.4 lock, Darren Gallagher and Chris Rowe, and the Dolphin no.5, David O'Mahony, was given a yellow while we received the penalty which Willie Staunton knocked over to open the scoring.
18 minutes into the half, Mark Doyle got the opening try for Munsters, a well worked team try that Doyle finished well down the left wing. Staunton converted to bring the score to 10-0. Dolphin began to edge back following this, landing a penalty after 24mins and, ten minutes later, Harry Flemming got a try which Barry Keeshan converted to level scores.
Just before half time, the ref reached to his pocket again for the yellow, this time for Munsters' Brian Haugh, who hadn't heard the whistle when he continued to clear out a ruck but Referee Stuart Gaffkin seemed to infer Haugh had lead with the head intentionally and penalized the young halfback.
Just before the break for half-time, Dolphin crossed the home tryline again with Keeshan converting to give Dolphin a 17-10 lead at half time.
After the break, Dolphin missed an early penalty attempt, and hooker Ger Burke got his name on the scoresheet on 49mins with a well worked try from the pack. Staunton converted to level scores at 17-17.
Dolphin got one back five minutes later with Eoin O'Shaughnessy touching down, they converted and led once more, score 24-17.
On the hour mark, Declan Bannon got in for a try but the conversion curled with the wind so we trailed 22-24 until 70mins when prop Ger Flaherty got Munsters' fourth try of the day and Staunton converted to bring us ahead 29-24. He had a penalty drift wide a few moments later but in the last play of the game, the referee produced the yellow card for Dolphin scrum-half Chris Bannon for shoeing, and Staunton made sure to land this one before the final whistle.
Final score: Young Munster 32 - 24 Dolphin
Scorers: Young Munster:
M Doyle, G Flaherty, G Burke, D Bannon Try each; W Staunton 2 Pens, 3 Cons
H Fleming, E Moloney, E O'Shaughnessy Try each; B Keeshan 3 Cons, Pen
Munster Seconds League semi-final
We are in the semi-final of the Munster Seconds League this weekend having finished second from top of the North Munster table, only pipped by Garryowen. We face Cork Constitution this Sunday in Temple Hill at 2.30pm while the light blues entertain Dolphin in Limerick to see who will contest the MSL final.
Support in Cork on Sunday will be greatly appreciated. This is a big game for our boys who were narrowly knocked out of the Junior Cup by Cork Con (who went on to win the trophy) and our coaches Gearoid Prendergast and Mark Hayes will relish the opportunity to make amends and return the favour in the league.
U17s win Tarragona Tournament Cup
Last weekend the Young Munster U17s competed on tour to Tarragona, Spain where they played 3 games and won the Tarragona Tournament Cup. Well done to all the squad and special thanks to Glen Blake, Eugene O'Connell, Anthony Considine, and all involved.
U14s successful at Waterpark Tournament
Last weekend the Young Munster U14s were invited to compete in the inaugural Waterpark Under 14 tournament, sponsored by Ellickson. We were one of 12 teams invited to compete, with other teams travelling from Caldy (Liverpool), Lansdowne, Kilkenny, Wicklow and other teams from Dublin and the south east.
Our first pool match was against a very strong and well-drilled team from Caldy near Liverpool. They are current Chesire county champions, and while we started strongly, eventually their class began to tell and they ran out convincing 30-7 winners, with David Benn scoring our only try, which was converted by Dean Garvey.
Our next match was against Waterford Barbarians, and we ran out 19-0 winners. Captain for the tournament, David Benn helped himself to a brace of tries, and Aaron McNamara added another, with two conversions from Dean Garvey. This game saw a marked improvement in our play, with our forwards in particular in much improved form.
After a break for lunch, we played the semi-final against Midleton. To say the least, this proved to be a bruising encounter, with two of our players (Dean Garvey and the impressive David Benn) requiring hospital treatment. With margins extremely tight, it was always likely that one score would probably decide the issue, and Aaron McNamara again duly obliged with a wonderful finish after some powerful surges by our pack. By this stage we also had lost Alex O'Callaghan and Caylum O'Dwyer and had to finish out the game with 14 players. To their credit, our lads defended our line heroically, and we had deservedly reached the plate final.
After the semi-final, the sideline resembled a field hospital with players receiving treatment for various knock and sprains. Our patched troops now faced Clonmel in the final. Andrew McInerney, in his first competitive start for the club, had deputised for the injured Dean Garvey at out-half, had an excellent outing, and controlled matters behind the scrum. Our pack was well on top throughout, but we just could not get the final pass to stick to score a try. Eventually, with five minutes remaining, we managed to put some phases together, and our patience was rewarded when Calvin McDonagh crashed over from close range. The final whistle was greeted with a mixture of relief, exhaustion and sheer delight, by our battered players.
The presentation of trophies took place shortly afterwards, and the plate was jointly presented to both David Benn, and Shane O'Connell who captained the team in the final in David's absence due to injury. We would like to wish a speedy recovery to David and Dean Garvey who both sustained fractured collarbones in the semi-final. Thanks also to all parents and those who travelled to support us. Finally a big thank you to Nick Molloy and all at Waterpark R.F.C. for their hospitality - we really enjoyed the tournament.
Panel: Shane O'Connell, Tadhg Enright, Aaron McNamara, Kelvin Brosnahan, Andrew McInerney, Dean Garvey, Alex O'Callaghan, Jack Finucane, Emmett Connolly, Jake Bennis, Caylum O'Dwyer, David Benn, Brendan Kelly, Calvin McDonagh, Jake Fitzgerald, Josh O'Donoghue and Jordan McKinght.