Willie Staunton opened the scoreline with two unanswered penalties taking us to 0-6 up. A string of penalties against us followed, firstly in the lineout for an early lift and then Ger Slattery was sent to the sin bin for an offence in the red zone. The series of scrums that followed resulted in the controversial penalty try awarded by referee Michael Black and Clontarf's Richie Lane slotted over the conversion in front of the posts to make it 7-6 to the home side.
Willie Staunton took us ahead again shortly after with another great penalty effort with good work from Mark Rowley off the back of the scrum helping to keep the score at 7-9 going into the break.
We came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and Staunton landed a great penalty against the wind to take the score to 7-12. Clontarf kicked another penalty 15 minutes into the half taking the score to 10-12 and were buoyed by the strong wind behind them. 10 minutes later Staunton was to strike again, making it 10-15. On the restart, Slattery showed his class with a superb take from the air but was penalised after for not releasing and Richie Lane made it 13-15.
The last ten minutes saw powerful defensive work from our pack but it was not to be our day as we gave away a penalty 40 yards out, and, with the wind at his back, Richie Lane was never going to miss this one. The score read 16-15 to the home side as we entered injury time and our lads worked relentlessly trying to bring play back into the opposition half but we only made it as far as the half way line and, despite Staunton's best effort, the kick into the wind didn't have the legs to make the distance and we had to settle for the losing bonus point.
Full time: Clontarf 16 - 15 Young Munster
Team: Ray Moloney, Mark Doyle, Lucas Kunz, Andrew Burke, Craig O'Hanlon, Willie Staunton, Mike Prendergast. Donal Murphy, Ger Slattery [Capt.], Hugh McGrath, Darren Gallagher, Sean Duggan, James O'Neill, Mark Rowley, Shane Hassett.
Replacements: Ger Bourke, Alan Cotter, Neville Melbourne, Declan Bannon, Brian Haugh.
Next Saturday our First XV are back on the road to Dublin where they take on Blackrock College.
That same afternoon, our Thirds met Bruff in the Gleeson League at Tom Clifford Park. The home side fell short against a well drilled Bruff side in a fixture which resulted in a 13-8 victory to the visitors. We had an opportunity to open the scoring after seven minutes but a penalty effort from Conor O'Brien sailed wide. Bruff capitalised on an infringement from our back row to open the scoring after 15 minutes with a well struck penalty. The County Limerick side doubled their advantage after 25 minutes with another penalty in front of our posts.
The second half kicked off with us upping the pace of the game and our efforts were rewarded with a penalty from O'Brien on 55 minutes which had us right back in the game at 6-3 to Bruff, however a slight lapse in concentration from the kick-off resulted in us losing possession and Bruff capitalised to maximum effect with a converted try to leave us trailing by 10 points. Our lads responded well but good defence from the Bruff side kept us at bay until the last play of the game which saw Derek McNamara crossing for a try out wide. The conversion from O'Brien was the last kick of the game and fell short but the late rally from our lads saw us salvage a losing bonus point.
Full time: Young Munster 8 - 13 Bruff
It was great to see Dave Sheehan back in action after a lengthy Lay off and he carried the ball well. Thanks to the lads from the under 21's who came into the side to help out in the front row. The next fixture is away to Garryowen who always provide a tough test but our lads will be hoping to bounce back after the weekends disappointment.
On a final note, congratulations to James Reeves from our U19s who was selected to play for the Munster Youths against Connacht last weekend.