Cruel Blow For Clonakilty
Of all the losses this season, and maybe that should include all seasons, this was the most devastating. The stakes were high and yet Clon played a high risk game and paid the penalty. Arguably the better side on the day they controlled the play for long periods, held the lead on three occasions and going into the final lap were looking for a winning bonus point which would have kept their season on track. However, the problem which had plagued them all through the campaign was their undoing when they gave the Ulstermen possession at a vital moment and were unable to deal with the counter.
Derry were starved of possession for long periods but possessed a lethal back three that hungrily gobbled up all chances that came their way. At the excellent pre-match reception, courtesy of the O'Crowley family in An Súgán, both presidents made much of the statistical advantage that Clon enjoyed in the meetings to date. Four out of the five encounters had gone Clon's way and there was reason to believe that this trend would continue. Clon certainly started well and showed that they believed that this would be their day. A crunching tackle from Darragh Lynch, charges from Batt Duggan and Sean Dignan and a very lively opening from openside Paddy Ryan had Clon on the front foot and Matt Kirby opened the scoring with a penalty after 18 minutes.
City of Derry levelled the match two minutes later and Clon were dealt a serious blow when influential prop Aidan Foley had to retire injured. Derry started to exert pressure and had a strong period during which three magnificent tackles from Kirby kept them at bay, The pressure always tells though and they went ahead with a penalty on 29 minutes. Clon rallied and dogged work work from Tomás Keogh in loose play put the ball invitingly in front of Joe Crowley. The scrum half made a telling break but was unable to link with Noel O'Sullivan who surely would have scored a try had he received the ball.
Clon continued to pile on the pressure and Ryan Purcell scored a great try driving over following determined assaults in which Kieran Howlin, Ryan, Kirby and Duggan were outstanding to put Clon in the lead again 8 - 6 after 37 minutes. Another opportunity was lost when a great break from Dignan came to nothing when he was unable to connect with support. The big second row made 30 metres with a run that a back would have been delighted with as he stepped through the defence only to be isolated when stopped.
The second half started with a prolonged bout of aerial ping pong which Derry won when they gratefully accepted a loose kick from Clon and ran in from 80 metres for a converted try and an 8 - 13 lead. They went further ahead when their scrum, which had been on top throughout the game in the set piece, steamrolled Clon off their own ball and they moved the ball wide to score their second try. Clon struck back with a superb try from Howlin following good work from Mark Purcell to narrow the gap to 15 - 18 when Kirby converted after 55 minutes. Clon continued to set the pace from here and held on to possession with great effect.
A great break from Howlin and a sniping run from Joe Crowley set Gary Shannon up for a try which Kirby converted to put Clon back in the lead 22 - 18. With just ten minutes to go Clon conceded a penalty to face the final minutes just a point ahead. They took the game to Derry in those final minutes searching for the killer score and possibly a fourth try and the bonus point when disaster struck They had the lead, possession and momentum and were attacking just outside the Derry 22 when the decision to put the ball behind the northern defence backfired. It was pounced on by their mercurial full back and he broke to telling effect, linking well with his support, to fashion a try that broke Clonakilty hearts on and off the field.
It was cruel and this result leaves Clon needing a miracle to survive in division 2A. It was a performance that should have delivered a deserved win and the players could not be faulted for effort or determination. It will be a difficult job to rally for the trip to Galway this weekend to take on Corinthians but they have the character to do just that. The squad was: Matt Kirby, Kieran Howlin, Darragh Lynch, David Lombard, Noel O'Sullivan, Mark Purcell, Joe Crowley, Ryan Purcell, Batt Duggan, Aidan Foley, Seán Dignan, Mike Keohane, Tomás Keogh, Paddy Ryan, Ger McCarthy, Stephen Cotter, Gary Shannon, Fiachra Keane and Jake Ball.
Full Time Derry 26 Clonakilty 22
The Under Age sector continues to raise the spirits of the club. Clon U15s are back in the hunt for the league title. They had suffered their only defeat this season to league leaders Skibbereen a fortnight ago and a winning result last Saturday was what was needed to get their league title aspirations back on track and they delivered a hard earned victory over a rugged Ballincollig side to get back on track
Conditions were very soft underfoot and it was a credit to both sides that the quality of rugby that was displayed for the hour was of such a high standard. Clonakilty had the majority of the possession in the first half scoring three unconverted tries, one from blind side wing forward Shane Scannell and two from first centre Alex Moore. Ballincollig scored a converted try just on the stroke of half time to keep the pressure on Clon. 'Collig had exerted tremendous pressure, especially through their pack, to get a score and it was testament to the Clonakilty defence that they were able to keep them from crossing their line a second time.
The Clonakilty forwards started to impose themselves on proceedings from the start of the second half with some find rucking and tackling. Their superiority in the scrum was a major source of good possession which gave Clon a platform to score two more converted tries through Alex Moore again, for his hat trick and open side wing forward Oige Scannell who also converted his own try. Ballincollig added a penalty to leave the final score 29 -10 in favour of Clon. Clon's second row Denis O'Driscoll gave a towering performance in defence, snuffing out Ballincollig's forward charges with some crunching tackling. He was ably assisted by his second row partner James O'Connor, the Scannell twins and the rest of the pack. It was not a day for the backs but they defended well with Liam O'Donovan at outhalf and Alex Moore at centre impressing.
Squad: Cathal O'Regan Eoin O'Leary Barry Downey, James O'Connor, Denis O'Driscoll Paul Creedon, Oige Scannell, Shane Scannell, David Walsh (Capt), Ryan Miller, Liam O'Donovan, Alex Moore, Cian McPeeke, Ciaran O'Sullivan Darragh O'Mahoney, PJ Coffey, Brian Sheehy, Sam Bates, Eoin Holland and Alex O'Donovan.
Next Saturday 4th February will see the U15s play Bantry at home at 10.30am. This is a crunch game as whoever wins will go through to the semi final of the league. Support would be very much appreciated.
The U19 squad and trainers were confident heading into this weeks game against Cork Con following on from the good win over Muskerry last week,. Cork Con started the game brightly and pressured the Clon line for the first few minutes, however strong defence ensured that Clon kept them out. Good attacking play resulted in a penalty award that Barry Hayes kicked with confidence. Clon continued to pressure the city boys and from an attacking move near the half way line, the ball was spun out to Sam Cronin, who showed great pace to sprint down the line and touch down between the posts. Hayes converted and this left the score at 10 -0 after 15 minutes of play. Con countered with some attacking play of their own, which resulted in a penalty kick being awarded to leave the score at 10 -3.
An increasingly confident Clonakilty continued to carry the game to Cork Con, with the forwards making good yards. A powerful forward drive finished with Donal Dignan reaching out to get the touch down and Hayes again adding the extra 2 points. Sam Cronin gathered a loose ball in broken play and scored his second try of the day with some strong and fast running. Hayes again added the points leaving the half time score at 24-3.
Clon allowed Cork Con back into the game early in the second half as their concentration dropped. Perhaps it was a touch of over confidence but it allowed Con's forward pack to come to the fore, making good ground and resulting in a converted try to narrow the gap to 24-10. This instilled urgency into Clonakilty's play with the forwards returning to the type of play that had proved so successful in the first half. Dean Hennessy powered over from close range to extend Clon's lead to 31- 10 and continuing his excellent kicking form Hayes again added the extra points. Another penalty kick from Hayes brought Clon to 34-10 but Cork Con refused to lie down and, with the clock ticking down, crossed for another converted try to leave the final score 34-17. On the day, the team performed from 1 to 15, with the subs making a contribution, James Keenan coming on, making a memorable try saving tackle.
The 19s have now turned a difficult season around and are now unbeaten in their last four games and will go into next weeks home game full of confidence. However, care must be taken to ensure that the qualities that fired this unbeaten run are carried on for the rest of the season. This improvement is down to the hard work of all the coaches and players.
Squad Andrew Flynn, Phil Hinchy, Dean Hennessy, Ryan Chalkley, Martin O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Mahony, Donal Dignan (capt), Greg O'Mahony, Shane Deasy, Barry Hayes, Sam Cronin, Shane Newman, Bill O Flaherty, Ruairc Courtney, Eoin O'Neill, Jack O'Driscoll, James Keenan and Josh Wilcox.
The Under 9s won in Ballincollig and this team is developing nicely. The Under 10s were in Crosshaven where the played both Cobh and Crosshaven. The Under 17s game against Bruff was called off due to a water logged pitch in the Co. Limerick venue
This weekend's fixtures - Saturday:
Under 15s V Bantry, The Vale, 10.30am South Munster League
Under 17s possible friendly TBC
Under 19s V Midleton, The Vale, 12 noon, League Phase 2
Seniors V Corinthians, Galway, 2.30pm, All Ireland League
Dolphin Junior 2s welcomed Munster's Coach Development Officer Ken O Connell and Munster and Dolphin Senior Prop Christy Condon to their session last week. The purpose of the session was to focus on defensive lineout and scrum technique. Despite the poor conditions, over 25 players were in attendance.
Captain, Aidan Uniake spoke on behalf of the players saying "It is great to have Ken and Christy sharing their knowledge and experience with us having been involved at such high levels, it says a lot about the two lads to give up their time on a dirty Tuesday to help us out. It was a great boost for our squad and everyone really appreciated their input"
Dolphin J2s are now through to the Semi Final of the J2 League along with Cork Con, Carrigaline and Skibbereen which will take place on Sunday 12th.
Dolphin training continues every Tuesday and Thursday night at 7PM at Musgrave Park.
For more information on Dolphin Minors and their upcoming events follow them on Facebook "Dolphin RFC" or "Dolphin Minors" or email email@example.com
A mixed bag of results was our lot last weekend and while the highlight could be considered our progression in the Junior cup, we have to face up to another loss in the Ulster Bank league.
Our hopes of wining the league have been faded fro a while, but now our thoughts and attentions turn to maintaining our long held position at the top of the club rugby table.
Again the tone and manner of our defeat to Clontarf left us wondering would we ever get a bit of luck in this seasons league. By no means were Clontarf undeserving of their 22-14 victory, and to deny them the kudos for taking their opportunities would not reflect the game. There was an unquestionable turning point in the game when we trailed by 8 points and had the line at our mercy, but the opportunity didn't stick and instead of setting the doubts in the mindset of the visiting players, they cranked it up and took a 22 point lead into the break.
That was never a true reflection of the 40 minutes witnessed, but when you fail to take the chances and then, offer a team like Clontarf soft possession, the consequences are generally not to your betterment. It appeared that we would be in for a long and weary second half, but there's one thing that our lads will never lack is pride. We took the game right back to Clontarf in the second half ,and arguably were the better side, but quite often its easy to sit back and absorb pressure when holding a comfortable lead. They searched for a bonus; we looked to salvage at least something from the game. Neither was achieved. The late tries from Kevin Griffin and Davis Quinlan were no more than the work rate of the lads deserved. That they done nothing, to change the fact that we went into the dressing rooms with no points was possibly the ultimate disappointment. It could be argued that it was too little too late, but we could also argue that positive attitude on display right up to the end is something that can be built upon. Where to next? That elusive victory is just around the corner, I can almost guarantee that. Whether it will come in our next assignment on Saturday when we head to Lansdowne road remains to be seen, but it's going to come. The Thomond park game on Saturday also marked the debut in the AIL for four U/21 players which again is a testament to the work being done by Hicks and Frankie at that level. Willie O'Connor and Shane McNamara started the game, while John Sheerin and Aaron O'Brien saw action as replacements. In all we had 7 U/21's in the match day 20 with a further 3 players just a year ahead, so it is a young team.
Saturday's game in the capital against Lansdowne has an earlier 2pm start to facilitate another match later on in the day. The supporters coach has been resurrected and veterans of the facility will vouch that it's a great day out, win lose or draw. Des McInerny has come back on board so to speak as chief organiser, and he can be contacted for details and bookings on 0868558522 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There's always a deep sense of trepidation when it time to play the Munster Junior cup, especially when you're drawn against a junior side away from home. We've been caught out on more than one occasion when we were perceived to be the stronger team on paper, but you can never underestimate the sense of pride that teams have when they play in front of their own community. Newcastlewest certainly lived up to that preconceived notion last Sunday and we had to battle it all the way to get of west Limerick with a win. They had a big and powerful pack that caused difficulties throughout the game, and the 21-9 score line in our favour may be a tad flatter. We did outscore them with three tries, but with injury time on the horizon we had to endure on onslaught with the score at 14-9. It was definitely tense, but the lads were well organised in defence, as they were throughout the game, and managed to turn the ball over and launch an offensive at the other end. The result of that secured the outcome, as Aaron Spring took flight from close range and was virtually unstoppable. Despite the home side offering a tough encounter, we did take our chances well. We had a number of good displays from individuals including the remorseless tackle count from Leonard Mullane, or a Prop Brian Downey who excelled in the loose. He popped up in the extreme corner to get our second try after Connor Cunnane chased up a penalty that hit the upright. That was midway through the second half, and Ben Sargent's excellent conversion increased our lead to 14-6, we were always on constant vigil. Simply there was nothing easy right from the start, but once we did take the lead in the 21st minute when Killian O'Neill barged over, we kept it throughout the game. The players dug deep and done what was required and we can ask no more than that. A home draw against Thomond in the next round is the reward for a job well done from the lads. People may underestimate the effort it takes to ensure we have a competitive second's team and we are very fortunate that we have a man of the calibre of Martin Power working as diligently and relentlessly as he does and it was great to see him give The Isle a burst after the game.
Many of the lads that played their part in that win will now revert back to the U/21's as they head into another South western conference game on Saturday against Young Munster. If you're not heading to Dublin, I would urge you to head out to Derryknockane at 12.30 and give the lads a shout on.
On Sunday the ladies took on a tough Highfield side in Coonagh but came out second best. They are coming up against far more experienced sides as of late which will of course help them in their progression.
Home advantage was conceded to the U/19's in the Pan Munster league by Young Munster and the lads took full advantage and ran out convincing winners by 48-5. Right from the start in was obvious that we would be to strong for the Cookies and at times we played a very exciting brand of rugby. The tendency to drift in and out of games seems to be ever present in this team, and one wonders if they played a full 70 minutes at maximum, what they could achieve. But that's something that can be worked on by Brendan Mc, for the moment they can be satisfied that they have qualified to the next round after their win. As to whether they will emerge as winners of the group and with it a home tie remains to be seen as the face the stern challenge of Kanturk this Sunday. Tries from Alex McNamara, Shane Ryan and a brace each from Graham Britchfield and Conor Burns secured the win last week, but an even better performance this Sunday will be required.
With many fixtures cancelled locally last weekend, it was a testament to our investment in Coonagh that we could play four games there, as well as host training for all our underage sides and another side to emerge with credit on a cold and blustery morning were our U/14's who progressed to the final of the league after a really tough semi final against Bruff. We began very well and used the speedy backline to make an impression, while the pack eked out the yards. Two tries to no score was the halftime score, but Bruff, as is their way came storming back. Their big pack was beginning to get on top and our lads had to be on high alert. Bruff managed two tries and it was going to take a huge effort from our lads to. The scarcity of attacks from our lads didn't really reflect on the final score as they took two try scoring chances when presented which saw them through to the final.
Try Scorers tries were Cathal Quinlan, Jordan Higgins, Tomas Connolly and Darragh Gibbons. Ronan Coffey 1 conversion.
The U/17's had to be tenacious as the managed to claim a very creditable draw with Richmond and despite being decimated player wise are competing very well in the league. On Sunday they're in action again as they host Garryowen.
Friday Thirds friendly V St Marys Coonagh 7.30pm
Saturday Seniors UBL V Lansdowne Lansdowne Rd 2pm
U/21 SWC V Young Munster Derrknockane 12.30 pm
Sunday 5th February
Under 13 League: Richmond V Shannon 11.30 Garryowen Green
Under 17 League: Shannon V Garryowen 11.30
Under 19 Pan Munster Shannon/St. Mary's V Kanturk
Young Munster RFC
Young Munster overcome Blackrock College in the UBL
Match report by Aidan Corr from limerickrugby.ie
ONE win from their last three Ulster Bank AIL division one A fixtures may not be the form of champions but Saturday's victory over Blackrock edges Young Munster into a challenging third position as the leading bunch moves into contention for the finishing straight.
It was, however, a result that pleased their player/coach Mike Prendergast: "It's good to get back to winning ways again. It was a strange kind of a game, stop and start and a lot of injuries, but we'll take the win. Hopefully when we get back on the training ground on Tuesday we can rectify some of the mistakes we made out there. In the first half we should have had a few more scores. In conditions like we had out there and the fact that Blackrock were so committed, the bonus point was always going to be difficult."
Prendy's confidence that they can still win the title will be well received by the black and amber fans: "Absolutely. I'm fully confident that we can. There are eight games to go, we have four away and four at home but the next three fixtures are going to be crucial for us and could mould our season with Constitution at home this coming week-end, then Shannon away and Garryowen at home."
12-3 up after 20 minutes courtesy of three penalties and a drop goal from Willie Staunton gave 'Munsters' the perfect platform in this game but failure to create try chances gave early indication that the bonus point could be out of their reach. Leading 6-0 'Rock had replied with a penalty on 13 minutes when a cheeky break by scrum-half Alan McGinty out-foxed Mike Prendergast and Liam Og Murphy to set up the penalty that reduced the home lead to three points, but that was as close as the visitors got to a surprise result.
The Young Munster pack, mauling the ball 25 metres during one assault, was superior at the set-piece but it was a slice of good fortune that gifted the black and ambers their first try of the game. Referee John Carvill must have been the only one not to spot a blatant knock-on as Mark Doyle finished off a midfield move four minutes from the break but the home side had to wait for their second touchdown until nine minutes from the finish: replacement back-row Shane Hassett getting over following a fine drive off a lineout by the pack. Staunton missed both conversions and while Blackrock never gave up the fight, their penalty, try and conversion all coming from out-half Darragh Fitzpatrick, the Dublin visitors were well beaten at the finish.
"Darragh Gallagher and Mark Doyle were outstanding today," said the Young Munster coach, "and this win will give us renewed confidence." He could also have added centre Mike Kelliher as well as the performance of hooker Ger Slattery, whose absence from representative rugby remains a mystery.
Young Munster: Aaron Carroll; Craig O'Hanlon, Andrew Burke, Mike Kelliher, Mark Doyle; Willie Staunton, Mike Prendergast; Ger Flaherty (Hugh McGrath 51, Flaherty 60), Ger Slattery (Cathal O'Connor 77), Alan Cotter; Darragh Gallagher, Sean Duggan (Shane O'Neill 55); Liam Og Murphy, James O'Neill (Shane Hassett 55), Neville Melbourne (James O'Neill 74).
Blackrock College: Andrew Latham; David Rowan (Brett Thompson 69), Jan Simon Byrne, Rob Keogh, Mark Scott Lennon (Dylan Symonds 60); Darragh Fitzpatrick (David Boland 78), Alan McGinty; Sean Byrne, Ryan Fisher (Colin Coyle 69), Arthur Lyons; Peter McCague, Alex Dunlop; Tyrone Moran, Gavin Greene, Richard Marsh.
Scorers, Young Munster, tries Mark Doyle, Shane Hassett; four penalties, drop goal Willlie Staunton. Blackrock College, try, conversion, penalty Darragh Fitzpatrick.
Yellow card, Ger Flaherty, Young Munster.
Referee, John Carvill, IRFU.
Pre-Match Lunch for Cork Con game this Saturday
Young Munster take on Cork Constitution this Saturday in game 11 of the Ulster Bank League. Why not make a day out of it and come to the PRE-MATCH LUNCH from 1pm, €25 includes admission, 2-course lunch with wine and match programme. All are welcome. For bookings contact Brendan Collopy at 086-6062606 or Fergal Deegan 086-2265692.
Young Munster advance in Munster Junior Cup
Cobh Pirates 6 - 27 Young Munster 27
We advanced to the 5th round of the Munster Junior cup last Sunday, with a hard earned victory over Cobh Pirates on a scoreline of 27-6.
Cobh started very brightly and went 3 nil up after only 3 minutes with a fine penalty from their no.10. We came straight back at them and after a great driving maul by the pack from a line out, the ball was moved out to the back and Declan Brown took a great line to score under the posts. Brian Haugh added the extra to leave us 7-3 in front after 11 minutes.
The home side reduced the lead to one point after 18 minutes through another penalty from their outhalf. From this point on we got on top in the set piece and after 24 minutes we won a penalty from a scrum on their 10 metre line and Brian Haugh kicked a fine penalty to put us 10-6 ahead. Brian kicked his second penalty just on half time when again our front row of Donal Murphy, Cathal O'Connor and Hugh McGrath forced a penalty from a scrum. We went into the break leading 13-6.
We started the second half like we finished the first and scored our second try after 48 minutes when our scrum drove their scrum back over their own line with our number 8 Jake Considine getting the touch down. Brian Haugh added the easy two points to extend our lead to 14 points.
We were well on top at this stage and it came as no surprise when we scored our 3rd try on 65 minutes through Shane O'Leary after great interplay between the forwards and backs. Brian Haugh kicked the conversion to put us 21 points ahead.
Cobh came straight back at us and only for good defence by Declan Bannon, Owen Tarrant and co; Cobh would certainly have scored a try. We weathered the Cobh comeback and finished the game strong with the last play inside the Cobh 22.
A good start to the Junior Cup, with a very good mixture of youth and experience, with the likes of club captain Shane O' Neill and Darragh Payne using all of their experience in helping the six players who were starting their first junior cup game.