07 Feb 16
With just five games remaining in the First Division of the Munster Junior League, Clonmel took a big step towards retaining their title after two of their main challengers lost vital ground.
Bandon were second best to their old rivals Highfield, who they also met in the Munster Final, in terms of possession and territory for the vast majority of the first half.
The All Ireland Champions started the game without regular out half Jack Murphy and were to lose scrum half Richard Walsh to injury after twenty seven minutes. Walsh played a good portion of that time out of position on the wing in the hope that his injury would clear up but eventually had to go off, however his well struck penalty in the opening minutes was the only score at the interval. Bandon came more into the game after half time and went nine points clear with two penalties in the opening ten minutes by stand in out half Rob O'Sullivan.
At this point, despite soaking up more pressure, Bandon were looking reasonably comfortable and Christian Mulcahy, deputising for Walsh at scrum half put in a number of excellent relieving clearance kicks. After sixteen minutes the lead was extended to twelve when Bandon were awarded a penalty for a ruck offence after Kerry Desmond had intercepted. Desmond took over the long range kicking duties and struck the ball over smoothly from 38 metres.
Bandon were guilty of trying to force the game on a number of occasions and were not playing with their usual patience. Indeed one penalty that should have been kicked to touch was taken quickly and from the resulting turnover Highfied worked the ball upfield and were to eventually score an unconverted try to reduce the gap to seven.
Four minutes later they levelled with a try in the right hand corner that was superbly converted. The rules of this competition stipulated that Highfield would collect the trophy if the scores remained the same owing the 'tries scored' rule which at that stage saw them ahead by two to nothing.
Highfield had a couple of chances to kill the game off but again the Bandon defence kept them at bay. Bandon were now running the ball from deep inside their own territory and in the last minute, outside centre Kerrry Desmond made another scintillating break that brought play into the Highfield half. From the ensuing ruck the referee awarded Bandon a penalty and from roughly the same spot where he had struck his previous effort, Desmond once again put the ball straight between the posts. The final whistle went and Bandon capped off what was a remarkable season with a third trophy.
Outside centre Kerry Desmond takes the winning penalty for Bandon RFC
Bandon U19's - Winners of the South Munster U19 Cup