Club News W/C 25/4
28th April 2009 By Munster Rugby
Club News from around the Province
Normal service resumed would seem to be the accepted phrase. The women’s team, having surrendered the All Ireland League title last season to Blackrock after a record six on the trot, reclaimed the prize in style with a decisive 33-7 victory over the reigning champions. This title, added to the Cup which they won just two weeks ago, makes this yet another fantastic season for the squad who have had to integrate younger players on a regular basis with the absence of over half the squad on interprovincial and international duty. On Saturday, in Dubarry Park, many of the familiar faces appeared and they ensured the trophy returned to Limerick once again. In the first half Jeanette Feighery touched down twice, with Nicole Fitzgerald putting over a convert for a 12-0 lead. Niamh Kavanagh, who was having her usual storming game, had to retire injured, but Sarah Jane Cody made the sort of impression expected of an impact player, when she touched down early in the second half. Blackrock raised their game and in their most dangerous spell, scored a converted try and looked for a way back into the game. Determined defence kept them at bay, and when Jeanette Feighery, Fiona Coghlan and Joy Neville combined to break from defence to set up a wonderful try for Patrique Kelly, the Blackrock resistance collapsed. At the final whistle the UL Bohs squad and supporters celebrated enthusiastically, none more so than Joy Neville, that great servant of Irish rugby, who won her first league medal, having moved to UL Bohs just two years ago. Lynn Cantwell scored her usual brilliant individual try at the end of the game, which will be a warm memory for her as she heads to New Zealand for further adventures in the near future. Scorers for UL Bohs were: tries, Jeanette Feighery (2), Sarah Jane Cody, Patrique Kelly, and Lynn Cantwell while Nicole Fitzgerald put over 4 conversions.
In the O’Carroll Plate final, a Luke Holmes try was not sufficient to overcome a strong Richmond side who won this encounter by 11-5. However, the 3rds possess some seriously talented players and we are confident that they will bring trophies to the club before long.
During the season the club honoured the players who won cups and league for Bohs nearly 50 years ago in what was considered by many to be our glory days. However, this season must rank up there with the best and will be recalled during the dark days that every club must endure. The 1st XV finished solidly in the Top 8 to qualify for the 1st Division Section A next season. The Munster Junior and Transfield Cups were won by the 2nd XV while the women brought off the League and Cup double. The U-20s retained their All Ireland title, beating strong Leinster opposition in UCD and Blackrock in the process.
The club’s wonderful achievements were recognised when UL Bohemians received the prestigious Munster Club of the Year award. In addition, Tommy O’Donnell, who has been influential in every game he played, won the Munster Academy Player of the Year, while Mick English, star of those Bohes teams of long ago, won the Hall of Fame Award.
As we are winding down on the rugby scene towards the end of the season, it’s time to remind you all that the Annual Bull N’ Booze Tag Rugby competition is coming around again. This season it kicks off on the weekend of the 15th of August and looks like being even bigger than last year’s event. This season sees even more teams coming to visit us from foreign shores so get your name in now. We are now in week four of the Twilight Tag league which has been a great success this season, many thanks to Gráinne , Seoirse and co. for their Great work to date in keeping this running ship shape.
On the rugby front last Monday evening saw the U13 squad complete a triple with their winning of the U13 North Munster Cup. After taking care of Young Munster courtesy of a 16 – 0 scoreline on Friday night last, Monday saw them pitted against Garryowen again in Kilballyowen. After a fabulously tight game with no scoring until the last fifteen minutes, we all felt that whoever scored first would probably come away with the cup. Garryowen kicked a penalty with less than eighteen minutes left on the clock but Fair play to Bruff they dug in their heels and displaying a courage that belied their tender years Ground away at the Garryowen defence until finally with less than two minutes left on the clock Graham Whelan broke away from a ruck with a lovely looping break to the outside left and ran in from thirty meters. Defence then became the order of the day and Bruff had to stiffen their ranks to grind out the last five minutes before erupting with joy on the final whistle from referee Noel Sexton. Final score: Bruff 5 – Garryowen 3. Well done to Captain Kevin Hosford and his squad and to all concerned including mentors and parents and especially to coaches Tommy O’ Dwyer, Liam Doherty , Joe McKenna & Ger Mac who have put in some tremendous work with this great squad of lads. This completed a triple of League, Cup and last week’s Tralee international competition for the season for this team.
Also on Monday, four Bruff lads helped Charleville CBS take home the Munster U15 Cup again in Kilballyowen. Three of the four Bruff players scored all of Charleville’s 26 points in their 26 – 12 win over De Villiers. Two tries from No. 7 Gary Boyce, another from Darren Sheehy in the centre and the Charleville No. 10 David Reidy kicked three penalties and a conversion to bring it home for their school. The fourth Bruffian, Conor Barry, son of famed former Bruff player Dónal from Kilmallock was also instrumental in this victory although the four lads must have been having flashbacks to earlier in the season when due to a clash of jersey colours, the Charleville squad had to line out in a set of Bruff jerseys quickly scrounged before the kickoff. With three U16 Munster selectors present watching proceedings, this game may well have helped these young lads cause no end.
This weekend of course sees a return to Heineken Cup rugby and the usual scramble for tickets for the HC Semi against "The Auld Enemy". You have to feel for poor Tomás O’ Leary after his exit from the HC and Lions tour in Musgrave park at the weekend, although with both sides well fired up for this coming encounter, fingers crossed we all hope that the Lions squad does not get depleted any further at the weekend. Here’s looking forward to a good one again.
As next Monday is a bank holiday, Exec Committee meeting takes place on Tuesday night at 8:00 pm. Following week is the preliminary AGM, so all notices of motion and nominations etc. to be with the Hon. Sec prior to Monday week.
Kinsale v Skibereen – 26 April 2009 O’Neill Cup Final
In what was a very competitive game, Kinsale were unfortunate to loose their chance of silverware for Snugmore. They led 8 – 0 at end of first half with Fraser Hodgson getting a try which went unconverted followed by a penalty.
In the second half Skibereen were awarded a penalty bringing the score to 8 – 3. Kinsale were also awarded a penalty, thus increasing the gap to 11 – 3 however late in the second half skibb got a try directly under the posts which they converted bringing the score up close 11 – 10. with only a couple of minutes left Skibb got a penalty leaving them victorious at 13 – 11
Well done to all the players, they gave it everything on the night with very strong defence.
Season ends on a high note!
Sundays Well 20pts Cashel 3 pts
After struggling to maintain consistency all season the seniors crushed a valiant Cashel side by playing a very good basic game that allowed the Well to almost attack at will. Right from the kick off the seniors went about their work with a Munster like efficiency. They devoured every attack at source and counter attacked from every possession and totally outclassed the opposition. Declan Coppinger led from the front and with forward domination started applying serious pressure on the much vaunted Cashel three quarters who looked under serious pressure all game.
"The Lethal" Dave Twohig was having the game of his season where everything he did came off and well deserved his two tries that were taken off a fast moving back line superbly controlled by Chris Burnett who scored all the Wells other points from his classy kicking.
At half time the well were twenty points to nil up and looked like cruising home. After half time the wind became an issue for a while in so much as it allowed Cashel to kick high long balls back at us and the first few caused a problems but the Well soon settled back into their game plan and were attacking again.
The forwards from 1 through 8 totally controlled the game and for all the pre game about the Cashel back three, our lads owned the ball.
Tumalie again was having an outstanding game along side Alan Hickey and Declan Coppinger who took short balls all game offloading to Karl (Rocky) Rothwell and he was able to bring our back line into the game. Michael Moynihan and Shane Walsh along with Ray Coppinger completely controlled the front row and with Ian Carroll and Eamonn Murphy cleaning up in the line outs our set pieces were very solid.
Our Backs controlled most of the open play and closed down Cashel immediately so they had no space to move. And with Jay Martin-O Sullivan on the wing defence was always good and Barry Hanrahan was again his usual classy best and Colm Corkery at full back was solid until he went off injured, but we were not noticeably weakened when Sean Carlin came on to the wing and Neil Horgan moved to full back where he was comfortable under high balls and fast on the break.
John Quill, Fintan Whelan Richard Lane and Francis Moynihan who came on as second half subs did not weaken our side at all in fact they invigorated the attack so much we nearly had two more tries near the end of the match.
Scorers for Sunday’s Well: D Twohig (2) tries, C Burnett 2 pens, 2 cons.
Sunday’s Well: C Corkery; J Martin-O’Sullivan, D Twohig, B Hanrahan, N Horgan; C Burnett, K Rothwell; M Moynihan, R Coppinger, S Walsh; E Murphy, I Carroll; D Coppinger (c), A Hickey, T Tasola.
Replacements for Sunday’s Well: S Carlin for Corkery 6, J Quill for Martin O’Sullivan HT, F Moynihan for M Moynihan 73, F Whelan for R Coppinger 75, R Lane for Hickey 79.
Match Reports "A Well Man"
Under 14s Cup Final
Sundays Well 19pts Bandon 0pts
The Under 14s produced a magnificent display that was certainly worthy of winning the Cup Final. From 1 to 15 and also including the replacements who came on, everyone put in a huge effort and bought even greater pleasure to all the ‘Well supporters in the crowd on a great day for the club.
The ‘Well knew that Bandon would a be a strong tough team and the final score-line does not reflect the competitive nature of the game, but the ‘Well players superb finishing ended up seeing them have a comfortable lead. Captain Luke Coughlan, Eoghan Greene and Conor Malone were the try scoring heroes for the ‘Well with Olan Hanly kicking two conversions but these are only a few of the players who deserve accolades.
The forwards were fired up from the start. Luke O’Reilly, Ciarán Fox and Brian McAuliffe were getting through a big workload at the breakdown while Stephen O’Sullivan and Conor Malone were making great ground with ball in hand and creating spaces for their colleagues.
Luke O’Leary was also hungry for the ball and never seemed to tire. He was running great lines to open up the Bandon defense and proved a very difficult player to take down for his opponents. Scrum-half Andrew Dorgan showed a wide array of skills needed for the position with some sniping runs coupled with quick slick passes. Eamon Kelliher was always looking for a gap to run through whilst also happy to put his body on the line in his defensive duties.
Rory Lucey and Dan Carroll were bursting down the wing at every opportunity while full-back Declan Malone looked to join the attacks when possible but also ensured that he covered back when necessary, particularly with the big kicks that the Bandon players had.
For the casual supporter it was the probably the centre partnership of Olan Hanly and Alex O’Neill that caught the eye. Their runs were of the highest quality and showed great intelligence in the lines that they were running. They combined power, space and spatial awareness and were also happy to find a team-mate when they were in a better position. The two sides were well matched for the opening twenty minutes but the ‘Well upped the ante for the closing stages. The forwards were applying pressure on the Bandon line-out and a turn-over from one such move saw the ‘Well move within five meters of the line before Luke Coughlan was found by Dorgan with the strong second row making his way over the line.
The ‘Well continued to press at the start of the second half and some great combination work between O’Neill, O’Leary and Hanly almost led to a try. The attack did set up a good position and having won back the ball Conor Malone managed to crash over. Back down into the Bandon Twenty Two is where the ‘Well went once again with O’Leary again providing a great run that set up Eoghan Greene who still had a lot of work to do before he could touch down.
The West Cork side came back in the final quarter of an hour but the ‘Well showed great pride in their defensive duties, making hit after hit to keep their opponents at bay and deservedly win the Under 14 Cup.
Scorers for Sunday’s Well: L Coughlan, E Greene, C Malone tries, O Hanly 2 cons.
Sunday’s Well: D Malone; D Carroll, O Hanly, A O’Neill, R Lucey; E Kelliher, A Dorgan; S O’Sullivan, E Greene, C Fox; L O’Reilly, L Coughlan; B McAuliffe, L O’Leary, C Malone.
Replacements for Sunday’s Well: A Flood, E O’Connell, P Sack, J Lane, C Crowley, B O’Brien, J Madden.
Match Reports "A Well Man"
Mini Rugby Players Awards
The names of players for this year’s mini awards:
Best Player: John Poland
Most Improved Player: Sean McCarthy
Most Improved Players: Graham Goulding, Evan Barrett
Most Attendances: Andrew O’Callaghan
Most Promising Player: Seamus Fox
Most Improved Players: Luke O’Callaghan, Robbie Mulhall, Paul Sexton
Most Improved Player: Peter Dunne
Squad Member of the Year: Sean Cashman
Most Improved Players: Patrick Carey, Raymond Hinds
The Season has now ended.Rest and begin again next season.
Heineken Cup Final
Should Munster beat Leinster and qualify for the Heineken Cup Final which is being played in Edinburgh on May 23rd.
At the final whistle of this game a ticket application list will be opened for email applicants only.
NO telephone applicants will be considered.
Please contact email@example.com
Tommy Crowe runs the REBEL summer Rugby Camps in Musgrave Park every year with huge numbers and this year is no exception, the camp will be on from Monday the 29th June to Friday the 3th of July in Musgrave Park
Contact Tommy on Ph no 087 2367994
The cost is €60 for the week. Places are being filled very quickly so book early.
Our First team completed a very satisfactory season with an uncharacteristic loss to UCC in the top four play-offs in Division Two at the Mardyke last Saturday. Our long list of injuries finally caught up with us in what turned out to be a game too many for us. However, we can look back on one of the most successful seasons for the Club in Division Two for many years, a great turn-around from bare survival last year!
The game in the Mardyke was played in windy and wet conditions which made ball handling difficult. UCC opened the scoring with a penalty after five minutes, and Brian O’Shea levelled the scores five minutes later with a Crescent penalty. We conceded another penalty a few minutes later and UCC went in front again. Midway through the first half, Brian O’Shea levelled the scores again with another penalty for Crescent.
We lost full back Ray Moloney with an knee injury in an unfortunate clash with the UCC winger, which saw both players leave the field injured. Just before half time, UCC converted a third penalty and went into half time 9 points to 6 in front.
Old Crescent were still very much in the game at the start of the second half, however, UCC were first to score with another penalty to widen the gap to 6 points. Minutes later, we paid dearly for a missed clearance which allowed UCC to go on the attack and score in the corner. Their convert from wide out was successful, putting us 19 -6 behind and giving us a mountain to climb.
Midway through the second half, UCC had a forward sinbinned, and Crescent applied great pressure in his absence but were unable to score in this period. The game was effectively over when UCC collected a lucky bounce from a long kick to score again in the corner, which they converted to leave the score 26-6.
Crescent showed the fighting spirit that had stood to them all season when Aaron Carroll went over for one of his hallmark tries which was converted. The game was well and truly over when UCC scored a late try to make the final score 31-13. We wish UCC well in the Division Two final, and in the First Division next season.
In Under Age news, our Under 12s’ were on the competition trial last weekend, competing in the Brian Fitzgerald tournament hosted by St Mary’s RFC – it was a far cry from the balmy summer like conditions of our end of season tour to Kerry the previous weekend, as we encountered monsoon like conditions. This resulted in uncontested scrums and limited rucking for safety considerations. First up were Ennis who provided stern opposition but great commitment and intelligent use of the ball enabled us to secure victory. Second up were Shannon Blues, with the winners to top the group, which we did again by virtue of fantastic commitment and endeavour.
A semi final pairing, again with Shannon Blues, resulted in a very tight match with victory deservedly coming our way by one score, although we had more of the possession and territory and flashed the ball around despite the poor conditions.
And so to the final against the stronger Shannon Black side who were unbeaten and had not conceded a try in the tournament until then. Down a score early in the game, we leveled the match mid way through the first half and although having the better of both possession and territory for the remainder of the first half, we could not make it tell. Having played a match more than Shannon and against a physically bigger side, and perhaps with our bodies tiring a little, we leaked an early second half score but again had our chances to go level as we endeavoured to put Shannon under pressure and chase the game, but it was not to be as we conceded a further score just before the final whistle.
A runners up position in the main competition was not a bad result in the circumstances. Our thanks to St Mary’s RFC and the referees and well done to all of our squad. Our final game of the season is the Pat Lawlor tournament on Sunday, when hopefully we might go one step better – squad to be announced after training on Thursday evening – hopefully after a Munster victory in Dublin on Saturday.
Old Crescent Under 6/Under 7’s and Under 8’s hosted Munster at Rosbrien last Sunday. This was the final match of the season and every player tried their best to end the season on a high.
The Under 8’s were unlucky to concede a last minute try and draw with Young Munster after it appeared they had done enough to win the match. Superb tackling by all the players, particularly Joe and David Rickard, had given Old Crescent the majority of possession and this possession resulted in an early try for John Toland and three tries from star player, Eoin Murphy. Young Munster never gave up and eventually produced a late flourish to upset the home side.
The combined Under 6’s and Under 7’s were also disappointed on Sunday as Young Munster were decisive winners. The Old Crescent team was somewhat depleted as some key Under 7’s players had been promoted to the Under 8 team.
All Old Crescent players shouldn’t be too disappointed as they have had a great season and their skills have improved dramatically over the season and they will be formidable opponents next season. Key players to look out for next season include: Ben and Oscar Davey, Joshua Fitzgerald, Cian Kearney, Rory Murphy, Tony O’Sullivan, DJ O’Malley and Cillian Toland.
With the season drawing to a close, few fixtures remain with our Under 14s playing Newcastlewest away at 6.30pm on Thursday, and our Under 15s competing for the Bill Mardell Memorial Trophy again against Newcastlewest but at home in Rosbrien at 7.00pm on Friday.
Turning to off the field activities, the Club held a very successful fund raising Race Night in the Club House last Saturday Night. It was very well attended and enjoyed by all. Our thanks are due to Anna Murray and Anthony O’Dwyer for organising the event.
Old Crescent RFC in association with the Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA) will host the 7th annual Pig ‘n’ Porter Tag Rugby Festival at our grounds in Rosbrien, Limerick from Thursday, July 17th to Sunday, July 19th. Ireland’s largest and best Tag Rugby Festival, is being expanded into a three day event this July, and is expected to attract over 3,000 people to Rosbrien for the largest Tag Rugby event to be held in Ireland this year.
The Pig ‘n’ Porter has always had a partner charity on board throughout its existence and this year’s charity is the Brothers of Charity, Bawnmore, Limerick. Tickets for the event priced at €10 are available from the organising committee or from www.pignporter.com. Further information is also available from the same website.
Finally, the AGM of Old Crescent RFC will be held in the Clubhouse at 8.00pm on Tuesday, 26th May. All members are requested to attend.
Revenge is probably a bit too strong a word, for what happened in Coonagh last Saturday. Redemption a bit too dramatic but satisfaction is probably the most apt description. Difficult experiences make you stronger and what happened 12 months ago was something that dwelt in the mindset of the lads throughout the season. Back then we failed to do justice to the ability that was within the squad, and to get another crack at Garryowen was always going to be a motivating factor. It was a semi final pairing that at the start of the league campaign that looked unlikely, but it’s a testament to the attitude of both these great club’s that the set aside the dodgy beginnings and forged our places in the playoffs.
Look, we could have faced anyone on the semi final, but the fact that it was Garryowen probably brought certain symmetry to the last 12 months. While we will thankfully continue to meet the light blues next season, Saturday’s victory was one which put to bed a few uncertainties that existed, even within the squad. The game may not have been a spectacle of flowing rugby, the conditions put paid to that, but as usual this was a full blooded affair. Focus was paramount and the pre match mantra of no penalties unfortunately didn’t come to pass in the opening stages as the ever reliable Conor Kilroy slotted over the early chances for Garryowen. However, fortunately for us Stephen Kelly punctuated Kilroy’s penalties with a brilliantly executed try in the 4th minute. It was to prove invaluable as the game progressed.
Twice, in the space of a few minutes we can deemed ourselves fortunate that we weren’t gathered under the posts facing conversion attempts. Fionn Mc Loughlin’s try saving tackle was as perfect as it was dramatic. Had one of these chances accrued, it may well have been that bit more difficult pegging back the deficit.
Despite trailing at the break, there was no sense of panic, or even urgency for that matter. We had played reasonably well facing the elements and while not overly confident there was a comfortable feeling amongst the team. Our pack were dominant in set piece and the loose which is not something we can’t boast of too often when we play Garryowen. Mike Essex was superb throwing form the touchline Fergal Walsh and Donnacha Ryan equally superb in the air. The scores were slow enough coming in the second half, but they did eventually come through Tadgh Bennett. Had the referee not been unsighted for efforts by Stephen Kelly and Eoghan Grace, where photographic evidence proved successful five pointers, than the score line may well have been glossed up a little.
However, those "should have scores" weren’t needed and a sweet and deserved victory was achieved.
Its’ certainly a bitter pill to swallow, losing at the penultimate stage of any competition and as usual, Garryowen players and mentors were magnanimous in defeat. They’ve had two successive finals with a definite degree of success and without a doubt they will rise again from this disappointment, just as we have done.
News that Clontarf overcame Cork Con in the other semi final didn’t really surprise us. The Dublin side are a quality team with strength throughout. They won’t hold fond memories of our last final appearance where we were at our absolute best. No doubt that will be a motivation factor in Clontarf’s build up whilst our lads will find their own motivations to claim Shannon’s ninth AIB league crown.
It’s perhaps fitting that we both played in the last AIB league final in Lansdowne Road prior to redevelopment and we now play the first final in the new Thomond Park. The build up has well and truly begun and the team’s preparations will be low key and understated. Hopefully the Limerick rugby public will come out in numbers and prove that the city is truly the capital of rugby in Ireland. It may well be billed as Munster V Leinster part 2 after Saturdays much hyped ERC semi final. That is definitely going to be an occasion to savour and hopefully the Red Machine will lead the way for us. We wish the squad and management all the best.
At underage the U/16’s had to graft hard to overcome a difficult Thomond side in the semi final of the cup. It perhaps should not have been so close as our lads looked the better side throughout. It was a bit of a nail bitter towards the end as Thomond were camped on our line, but a decisive and well organized defence held them out. On a dreadful morning that certainly didn’t suit slick hands, our lads defied those heavy conditions and flicked the ball around with great efficiency. A win sees them rewarded with a final appearance next Tuesday evening in Coonagh at 7pm.
The AGM takes place in the clubhouse on Tuesday 19th may at 8pm in the clubhouse.