23 May, 16:14
A Munster Under 17 combined selection of players from the Regional Development Squad and Munster 'B' Schools recently attended a 11 a-side blitz at Cork Institute of Technology grounds.
Highfield opened with alarming movement opening up the Clon defence on a number of occasions in the early stages before landing the first score from a superb penalty kick after five minutes. It seemed to wake up the West Cork side as they dominated the next fifteen minutes but it was Highfield that took the next score with a breakaway try from their own 22 when a Clon attack broke down. Five minutes later another excellent kick put Highfield out to 10 -0.
Although the city club were playing with the wind they surprisingly rarely used it preferring to run and this allowed Clon to contain them for most of that half. The visitors had some chances but the final execution let them down. Clon got on the scoreboard after 25 minutes when a flying Kieran Howlin was taken down short of the line after a good back line move. Dave Paurini slotted the penalty. Just on the stroke of half time Mike Keohane was sin-binned and Highfield finished the half 13 – 3 ahead.
The second half was all one way except on the scoreboard. With Clon camped in the Highfield half and inflicting a tremendous battering on the home defence which was up for the challenge and on the one occasion that they got into the red zone they scored between the posts to put yet another distorted look on Clons results this season. Clon had some good passages in the period and one excellent build up yielded a try for Mike O’Hea but it was too little too late and Clon will face into their meeting with mighty Ballymena on Saturday with little hope that that game will start the revival. They will also be without influential centre David Lombard who sustained a cheekbone injury the previous wek. However the corner has to be turned sometime and Saturday’s challenge against the Ulster super club, with many representative players including Ulster centre, Luke Marshall and tighthead Andrew Warwick, is just the incentive to which Clon have traditionally responded. Led by their president, the great Syd Millar the club that gave us the legendary Bill McBride will not get their points easily. The squad was Denis McCarthy, Darragh Lynch, Kieran Howlin, Paul Dillon, Noel O’Sullivan, Dave Paurini, Myles O’Riordan, Tom Ryan, Wayne Falvey, Joe Knowles, Mike Keohane, Mike O’Hea, Tomás Keogh, Mark Porpligia, Alfie Harte, Derry O’Neill, Paddy Ryan, Seán Young, Mark Purcell, Aidan Rees, James Deasy and Matt Mahon.
Elsewhere it was all good news.The Under 14s gained some revenge for the club when they beat Highfield by 32 points to 20. The Under 17s took out Bantry 32 – 5 while the 19s had an impressive 35 – 19 win over Dolphin. The J2s just get better and better. While the Senior side struggles to capture form the J2s have been going from strength to strength. A 100% record in their league section sees them virtually assured of the next stage. Last Sunday they accounted for Skibbereen by 37 points to 8 in Skibbereen. They went into an early lead when the excellent backline gave Gordon Brett the space to show his speed after a beautifully timed pass from Matt Mahon.
Five minutes later Skibb kicked a penalty but a great play by Matt Kirby found Seán Dignan in support and the big second row finished with a fine try which Kirby converted to increase Clon’s lead to 3 - 12. Cathal Kirby made a strong break carried on by Ryan O’Flynn and Matt Kirby saw Brett go in for his second, out flanking the cover to ground behind the posts. Matt Kirby converted and the game seemed won at 3 - 17. Clon now went looking for a fourth try and a bonus point which often gives opportunities to the other side. This was no exception and Skibb took full advantage of the change in focus as Clon’s attack-minded defence was flat-footed by a quick tap penalty which resulted in a try.
A Matt Kirby penalty gave them the assurance at 8 - 20 that a comeback was off the table and the ball was thrown around with abandon resulting in the best try of the afternoon when Ciaran O’Donovan dotted down in the corner despite the attention of defenders. Cathal Kirby made the opening break and featured in the move again with Seán Dignan, Mahon, O’Flynn and Brett combining well to send O’Donovan on his way. Veteran Gavin Moore might dispute that accolade as he scored the fifth try. The pack had been particularly dominant in the tight and a scrum in the Skibb 22, following more good work from O’Donovan and the backs, provided No. 8 Moore with the ideal platform to pick from the base and drive over from 15 metres.
Clon were not finished at 8 – 30 and a final flourish saw Matt Kirby with great determination touch down in a welter of Skibb defenders trying to hold him up following good work from little bro’ Cathal. The squad was Cathal Kirby John Summerfield Mike Murphy, Terry Phair, Sam Dignan, Seán Dignan, Cathal O’Regan, Gavin Moore, Eoin Ryan, Matt Kirby, Adrian Fleming, Matt Mahon, Eolan Hayes, Ryan O’Flynn, Gordon Brett, Brian McCarthy, Ciaran O’Donovan, Alan Harte, Tim Walsh, Eoin Crudge.
There was no winner of the weekly Lotto draw. The Lucky Dip winners were Micheal Sheehan, Josh Wilcox, Pamela Kingston, Rita Deasy and Kristian and Margert Jassen. This week’s draw will be in Scannell’s Bar at 10.00pm on Saturday for a Jackpot of €3,000. Congratulations to Clon’s Backs Coach, Paul Buckley and his wife, Hilary, on the birth of their baby girl Jennifer.
This week’s fixtures
Saturday 13th November
Under 19s V Bandon, Old Chapel, 11.30am
Under 15s V Highfield, Cork, 12.15pm
Seniors, All Ireland League V Ballymena, The Vale, 2.30pm