Dolphin 12-14 Midleton
Midleton clinched the Cork Charity Cup title in a thrilling game in Musgrave Park on Friday night, with new signing Tyrone Taipei at out half stealing the victory with a drop goal in injury time.
For the neutral observer, the game had all the elements of a classic Charity Cup tie, with two well matched and committed sides clashing in a hugely entertaining encounter.
For Dolphin, it was their second consecutive year losing out in the final, having been beaten by Cork Constitution last year. This time around, Midleton denied them the silverware, with the East Cork side coming into the final no doubt buoyed by the 27-16 win over the defending champions last week.
Tyrone Taipei has made an instant impression on the Midleton side, and again proved a key figure in their win on the night. An early try from Paul Whelton after a Taipei cross kick gave Midleton the better side, with a penalty from Jeff Hitchmough stretching their lead to 8-0 before an unconverted Dolphin try left the score at 8-5 at half time.
Taipei got on the score sheet with a drop goal to put Midleton 11-5 ahead, however Dolphin looked set to take the title after a converted try, with Gary Conway crossing the line. Taipei s dramatic drop goal in injury time put Midleton back in the lead, which they held onto for the remainder of the game to claim the title.
Shannon lose first final of the season and their first in 27 years!
Limerick Charity Cup Final
Shannon 10 UL Bohemians 18
(Shannon Club Notes)
OK, that is out of the system. Maybe it was becoming a burden to carry but it s over now. A very proud record of never having been beaten in a Senior final (and there have been quite a few) since 1989. Local neighbours and co-tenants of Thomond Park were the team to halt the roll, and, if truth be known, just about deserved it.
Five tries, 3-2 in favour of the reds, with none of them converted. The first successful kick of the day was a penalty inside the last 10 minutes of play and it proved to be the winner as it put an eight point gap between the sides and, while there was only 5 points in it Shannon were always capable of producing something to retrieve the game, this kick put paid to that, breaking any remaining resolve the mainly young Parishmen had.
It s early days yet and those youngsters are getting important game time at this level. However, some punters expressed the fear that the loss of players of such calibre as Dave Delaney, Eoin Cahill, Brian Touhy and Johnny O Connor may have holed this side below the water line, They would do well to remember that such was the talk at this same juncture last season. And we all know how it went on from there.
It was certainly encouraging to see Tony Mush Buckley back in harness, coming on as substitute in the second half and having an immediate impact. The quicker he gets back to full fitness the better.
As for the game itself, UL Bohs started well and inside the initial 10 minutes had Shannon pinned back on their own line. Twice they attempted the rolling maul from lineout takes, but twice they were thwarted. Shannon s proficiency at this particular defensive drill was evident throughout the game, as any attempt their opponents made to maul their way to the line was invariably broken up. Shannon themselves showed how it was done with a try of their own from a rolling maul setup from a 10 metre lineout in the second half which levelled the score at 10-all. Frankie Roche, who came on with Buckley, was the man who was accredited with the score. For a fleeting moment, it seemed like that might be the score to set Shannon on their way to victory, but UL Bohs had other ideas. In fact, they just continued doing what they had been doing up until then and carried on controlling possession and territory. That, allied with some unexpected errors by the Blue and Black ensured that it was the Red Red Robin that rang out after the final whistle.
UL Bohs were first to score with a try from 1st phase possession. The fact that all 3 UL Bohs tries came directly from 1st phase possession will be a source of concern to the Shannon think-tank. Missed tackles will be the subject of their discussion, one would imagine.
Shannon s other and first try came from Mossy Lawlor, who had a fine game - and a typical Lawlor try is was too. The move started deep in Shannon s own half, with the decisive break coming from Pat O Connor at centre. Mossy was involved again after a number of drives but was hauled down 8 metres short. The resultant recycle was again fed to Mossy and this time his trade mark series of jinks in tight spaces allowed him to get over the line without a hand being laid on him. That was the twentieth minute of the game and slightly against the run of play. Bohs equalised six minutes later and were never behind after that.
It was this writer s first Shannon game of the season and although they were defeated, it was great to be back on the sixpenny terrace in the company of ballhopers, lollipop suckers, ref-beraters, eternal optimists/pessimists (take your pick), traitors etc
Hail the 2006-07 season!
Match report: Des O Dea