Garda 0 - C.I.T. 17
Finally, the CIT Firsts got their league campaign started. At our fourth attempt to field a team, we managed to travel to Templemore to play the Garda College. This should have been our first home fixture back in October, but that day, the playing pitches in CIT were all flooded, and we had to conceed our home advantage to the rearranged fixture (Garda college had travelled to CIT, before game was abandoned). Our second round was against U.L., and it too was postponed due to rain. Last week we were unable to field a team to travel to Tallaght, so to yesterday. It nearly happened again, that the rain had forced a postponement, but we were determined to play one game before Christmas, despite fielding without our U21 hopefuls. We want to take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to Batt Duggan, Darragh Hurley, Dave Ryan, Michael Essex and Duncan Williams in their pursuit of U-21 International honours.
Rain pelted down on us from start to finish, but worse was the strong icy-cold wind that blew into our faces for the first half. Not a day for the backs. CIT played well in the first twenty minutes, and repelled all attacks by the GC. We managed to put some good plays together, backs and forwards, but the wet conditions meant that handling errors were inevitable at we did not manage to cross the line the whole half. Jonathan Coughlan and Ollie McGlinchey went close, and at one stage we even were awarded a penalty, but this was narrowly missed, as Tom Barry had to kick into the very strong head wind. The GC regrouped, and they dominated the next 10-15 minutes. We were pinned down in our 22, but the GC indiscipline at the rucks and mauls let them down, and after repeated warnings from the referee, finally they were sanctioned, and within five minutes to the end of half, two Garda students were sin-binned. The half ended 0-0.
The second half was always going to be a different story, CIT had the wind behind them, had some "big-boots" in our backline, (Tom Barry - Cork Con U-20/Munster U-21, Colin Mahony - Highfield senior and Jeff Hitchmough - Midleton senior). The game plan was play in their 22. And with two Garda students still on the sideline, the CIT pack would dominate the first encounters. And so it happened, a lineout won in our half, a big hoof from Tom brought CIT into their 22, a stolen lineout, several rucks later, a penalty under the posts, a quick-tap from Ollie, through the hands and prop Jim Mackessy goes over in the corner for our first points. Jeff Hitchmough, who is the regular kicker for Midleton, tried his luck with the conversion, but the wind took it across the posts, 5-0 to CIT. Minutes later, Tom again kicked the ball long, this time infield, into the corner, the Garda fullback went back to recover, but a fantastic follow up run by Peter Downey saw him charge down the clearance kick for a well-deserved try. Kicker number three, Colin Mahony, tried the conversion, again from the touchline, this time shaving the posts, but wide, CIT 10-0. The return of the two binned Garda students resulted in a resurgence, and the next 10 minutes were stalemated. CIT got second wind, and after a thirty yard maul, the ball was worked left, and eventually after a few attempts, Ollie McGlinchey, off the back of the ruck, goes in for a an excellent try. Kicker number four, Ollie himself, who is the regular kicker for Cashel, stepped up, and where others had failed, he succeeded, and converted his own try. CIT 17-0. The game was won, but 10 minutes were left. CIT were now back in the dressing rooms, but the GC wanted points. The last plays were all in our 22, but our line was not going to be breached. The GC won several penalties, but elected to play them all. Big hits went in. John Harper, at backrow, had a massive game, but took one too many blows to the head, and went off. Joe O'Donovan, who had earlier been substituted, returned to the match to replace Jim Mackessy, who had cramp. And in five straight 5-yard penalties, Joe quashed three of them with huge hits. Each time he was down, sore ribs, shoulder, each time he got up, and hit again. It was a giant display of bravery, even when the match was won.
The GC never crossed our line, the final Score Garda College 0, CIT 17.
The A.I.B. Man of the Match award went to JOE O'DONOVAN.
Squad: 15: Jeff Hitchmough (Midleton), 14: Peter Downey (Highfield), 13: Peter Martin (Highfield), 12: Colin Mahony (Highfield), 11: Jonathan Coughlan (Sunday's Well), 10: Tom Barry (Cork Con), 9: Ollie McGlinchey (Cork/Con/Cashel), 1: Tim Ryan - Captain (UCC), 2: John Kerins (Highfield), 3: Jim Mackessy (UCC), 4: Joe O'Donovan (Sunday's Well), 5: Cian Walsh (Sunday's Well), 6: John Harper (Kilkenny), 7: Eoin Crean (Sunday's Well), 8: Maurice Power (Highfield).
Subs: 16: Shane Redfern (Kilfeacle) for J. O'Donovan (60min), Joe O'Donovan returned for J. Mackessy (65min), 17: Killian Casey() for J.Harper (70min), 18: Rory Carroll (Sunday's Well); 19: Colin Corkery (Douglas) for T. Barry (75min), 20: Colin Stanley (Kilkenny) for Jeff Hitchmough (75 min), 21: Dave Harmon ();
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