There was great celebration in Dooradoyle last Friday night as Young Munster were crowned Limerick Charity Cup winners for the third year in succession. Already table-toppers in the Ulster Bank League going into the Christmas break, the 'Munsters' boys had to hold their focus knowing Shannon would provide deft competition and do everything in their power to disrupt the three-in-a-row target.
Mike Prendergast's men beat Shannon 25-13 in a game that saw both sides field some youthful faces among the more experienced players on each team.
The game started out well for Shannon as they opened the scoring with a try by Emmet McLoughlin in the seventh minute, which Tadhg Bennett converted. Ten minutes later, Willie Staunton got Young Munster's first score from a penalty to make it 7-3. It wasn't long before the black and amber faithful were cheering again as the pack showed their dominance by driving over the line with the touchdown awarded to Sean Duggan on his 21st birthday. Staunton dutifully converted.
Before the break, winger Aaron Carroll got in for 'Munsters' second try in a move off the scrum bringing the score to 15-7 at half-time.
Mike Prendergast hadn't named himself in the squad for this fixture and instead started last year's School's Cup star, 18 year-old Brian Haugh in the number nine jersey. Haugh impressed in his debut start for Young Munster's Senior 1st XV.
Into the second half of the game, Young Munster got the first score in a penalty from Willie Staunton. Shannon scored two penalties within the next ten minutes making it 18-13 but, if there was any fear that the scoreline would reduce further, this was soon quelled. The pack again showed their dominance in an impressive drive which led to Darragh Payne getting in for try number three with a stretch over the line from the bottom of a ruck after a great carry from Ger Flaherty off the maul. Willie converted to make the score 25-13 and this is how the score would remain for the final twenty minutes.
Our squad showed great resolve to hold out for the remainder of the game as all the subs made their way off the bench to play their part in the '3-in-a-row' victory.
Scorers for Young Munster:
Tries: S Duggan, A Carroll, D Payne. Pens: W Staunton (2). Cons: W Staunton (2).
Team: Matthew Costello; Craig O'Hanlon, Mark Doyle, Andrew Burke, Aaron Carroll; Willian Staunton, Brian Haugh; Ger Flaherty, Ger Burke, Hugh McGrath; Shane O'Neill (capt), Sean Duggan; John Moroney, James O'Neill, Neville Melbourne.
Replacements used: Ger Slattery, Donal Murphy, Darragh Payne, Shane Hassett, Darragh O'Neill, Declan Bannon.
Fixtures over the festive season:
Old Crescent v Young Munster
Young Munster V U.L. Bohemians
12.30pm Tom Clifford Park
U.L. Bohemians V Young Munster
Ulster Bank League AIL Div.1A
Young Munster V St.Marys
2.30pm Tom Clifford Park
St.Senans V Young Munster
2.30pm Jim Slattery Park, Shannon
Young Munster Women's Calendar
The Women's team fundraising calendar is proving a very popular Christmas gift. The calendar is made up of a selection of photos shot by photographer Owen South with the girls on location at Young Munster RFC, Tom Clifford Park, Greenfields, plus other contributions.
The calendar also features underage players, and senior players from the men's teams including a great action photo of Paul O'Connell in the club's black and amber strip, shot by photographer Eoin McCarthy in O'Connell's return game for Young Munster last year.
Calendars can be purchased from the Club Shop or from Goldmine Jewellers, Catherine Street, Limerick tel. 061-408503.