NENAGH WIN PROMOTION TO THE AIL
Nenagh Ormond 18 Rainey Old Boys 17
Jubilation. That is the only word to describe the emotional scenes in Nenagh on Saturday afternoon when Nenagh Ormond catapulted themselves into the history books by defeating Rainey Old Boys, and earning themselves promotion to the AIL next season. In a heroic and spirited performance, Nenagh became the first Tipperary side to join the Senior ranks, and the seventh team from the Munster Junior League to join the AIL and become the 16th Munster team in the All Ireland League.
Coming back into the game from being down 17-3 in the second half, shows the character and heart of this squad, whose second half comebacks have characterised their performances in the Round Robin Series. They have certainly a gem of a player in the form of Liam Delaney, a kicking maestro, who has a huge influence on any game he plays in, with Saturday being no exception. He opened the scoring for Nenagh after 10 minutes with a penalty. Rainey made inroads into the Nenagh line out in particular, making it difficult for the home side to get clean possession. After a period of considerable pressure from the Rainey Old Boys forwards, the visitors crossed the line after being camped on the line for a long period of time. Scrumhalf Richard Paul fed centre Jerome McMurray who got the touch down, which was converted by out half Michael Glaney, to give them a 7-3 lead. After 28 minutes, Rainey were awarded a penalty for a crossing offence by Nenagh, with Michael Glaney slotting over the penalty to given them a 10-3 lead at the break.
In a carbon the first try, Rainey s winger James McBride crossed the line after huge pressure from the forwards in the 10th minute after the restart. Glaney added the extra two pints, leaving Nenagh trailing 17-3 with a half hour left in the game. At these times, a team looks to its leaders to lift the side, and stepping up to the mark in a magnificent effort was captain Robbie Powell, who crossed the line in the 17th minutes to bring Nenagh back into the game. Delaney converted to reduce the deficit to 17-10. In the 32nd minute Delaney added another three points from a penalty. There was some drama just 4 minutes later when captain Robbie Powell grounded the ball for what looked like his second try. The referee raised his arm, with the home crowd believing the try was awarded. However, they were disappointed to learn the raised arm was in fact to signify a penalty to Rainey Old Boys. With just minutes to go, it was all to play for with a tangible feeling of hope and excitement in the crowd. Trevor Connolly intercepted a pass to set up John Keehan who was held up short. However, the ball was spun to Fergus Austin who drew in the defence and set up none other than Liam Delaney for a try. It s the type of drama that legends are made from, and Delaney certainly was elevated to hero status after his match winning score. The clock counted down, with Nenagh holding out for a fantastic win.
In the club s 121 year history, they have never been scenes to rival those in Nenagh after the whistle signalled the end of the match.
Nenagh Ormond made a spectacular debut in the All Ireland Round Robin series with a 40-27 drubbing of Connaught champions Monivea. Although losing 27-3 at half time, they came back to score 37 points in the second half to win to win the game. They had a narrow 16-13 win over Naas in their second game of the series, but showed plenty of resilience. Having claimed the Munster Junior League Division One title in a 14-9 victory over Cobh Pirates, Nenagh Ormond were unable to go on and defend their Munster Junior Cup title after being knocked out by UCC on a score line of 28-21 in a thrilling Munster Junior Cup semi final.
However, the losses of the season now pale into insignificance when the magnitude of their achievement hits home. With a very much home grown squad, and a mixture of experienced players and a clutch of younger players brought on from the 2000 All Ireland U.18 team, the side has a winning formula of talent and determination, that will carry them through to the AIL next season.
Path to Promotion: Saturday 30th April 2005: Nenagh Ormond 18 Rainey Old Boys 17 Saturday 23rd April 2005: Nenagh Ormond 16 Naas 13 Saturday 16th April 2005: Monivea 27 Nenagh Ormond 40
Nenagh Ormond Squad: Liam Delaney, Fergus Austin, Trevor Pole, Trevor Connolly, Denis Slattery, John Keehan, Michael Fogarty, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Farrell, Michael Slattery, Johnny Moylan, Denis O Meara, Damien Glavin, Alan Feymour, Robbie Powell (captain), Ian Ryan, Richard Pole, Paudie Breen, Paddy Kinehan.