Club News Weekending 14th January 2007
8th January 2007 By Munster Rugby
Club news, views and reviews from around the province
Christopher Barry PRO
Consecutive victories over Cork Con are rare and so it proved as they withstood a fierce onslaught from a resurgent Garryowen team to take the AIL points at Dooradoyle last Saturday. If it was drama you were after this was the place to be as both sides recovered from a lethargic first half to give it holly in the second period. Con had turned over narrow 6-3 leaders, Gerry Hurley’s penalty was our lone response to Richie Lane’s two efforts, and the large crowd waited in anticipation for the fireworks to start. Alan Kingsley dropped a neat goal following considerable pressure, only for Lane to restore the margin again. The game exploded into life when Ed Mackey fielded a ball on his own ten yard line, showed a neat side step and raced into the Con half. Scrum half Gerry Hurley read the line well and his take and race to the corner lifted the game and with it the crowd. The missed conversion left us holding a fragile 11-9 lead with 20 minutes remaining. It was helter-skelter stuff after that with both sides probing for an opening at every opportunity. A number of long clearances out of the Con half were not dealt with astutely and we conceded a number of turnovers which again put us on the back foot. The stiffish wind may have mitigated at kicking the ball back with interest but in any event Con always looked dangerous on the counter attack. A number of mix-ups in midfield saw us concede ball and ground that ultimately proved decisive. From one such retreat, referee Donal Courtney not only penalised us but also sent Damien Varley to the sin bin. It was a cruel blow for the player who put in some fantastic runs throughout and only for a bad call from a supporting player might have put the game beyond the visitors. As it was, Lane struck his fourth penalty and we were forced to play the last 10 minutes at 11-12 and 14 men. With the earlier sin-binnings of Peter Malone and Conor Kilroy, it meant we played 50 of the 80 minutes a man short. The apparent lack of consistency seemed to irk players and supporters alike but the team showed admirable spirit in the closing stages and ended the game camped on the Con line. Anthony Kavanagh was almost in, only to fall inches short of the line. We continued to pile on the pressure but in our over anxiety we spurned a relatively straightforward 4 on 2 overlap. Con dug deep and in a welter of excitement held on gamely to the end. The large travelling support were delighted to have exacted revenge for their Cup Final defeat the previous week. The new scrummaging laws were in operation and it will be interesting to see how they pan out in the games ahead. We have an opportunity to repay Buccaneers for our 8-6 away defeat in the AIL when the AIB Cup game kicks off on Saturday in Dooradoyle at the earlier time of 2.00 (ETA).
Our junior team went down 18-8 to Bruff in the NM Cup at Bruff last Saturday where Colin Varley made a return to action. Colin came off the bench to touch down and Diarmuid Waters kicked a penalty but it wasn’t enough as the County Limerick side won comfortably enough in the end. On Sunday Young Munster are our opponents as the MSL resumes in Dooradoyle at 2.30 while on Saturday we have an away 3RD XV friendly against UL Bohs at 1.00.
The under 14s continued their winning ways on Sunday in Dooradoyle with a 34 -15 win against Richmond. Garryowen had tries from Andrew Fullen (2), Ian Mooney, Ben Drew, Dominic Furnell, and John "Bull" Fyfe. Rory Collins kicked two conversions to put a slightly flattering look on the score-line. It was in fact a hard earned win against a very big Richmond team. Both sides tried to play an expansive game in tricky conditions which made for an entertaining contest. This Sunday the team is away to Thomond away while our U16’s are at home to Young Munster. The U18’s are also away to Richmond and all games start at 11.30.
We would like to wish a speedy recovery to Mick Ryan, that great Garryowen stalwart, following a recent operation.
Andrew McNamara PRO
It was a case of hold on to what you’ve got as we entered the final minutes of our moist recent AIB league game, but unfortunately a very determined Clontarf side had other notions and snatched victory with a concerted rally. It was an extremely disappointing end to what was always going to be a crunch match in the league. Forced to take to the field without a number of key individuals, those that did play weren’t short on heart and determination, but crucially we failed to close out the game when in a strong position to do so. Led by two former Shannon players, Clontarf showed patience a no shortage of experience come back from 16-3 down to take the points.
This season’s AIB league has never been as open. Any one of almost nine teams are in a strong position to gain a play off place. It certainly makes it a very interesting contest and the run in will certainly be exciting if somewhat nerve wracking. Despite the loss last Saturday we maintain a top four place, albeit on point’s difference and at this stage every game will develop its own significance. Our AIB league assault will continue next week when we head to Belfast and we are looking for anyone interested in travelling on a supporter’s bus to make contact before Tuesday. I can be contacted on 087 2717163 and along with the team, would appreciate all the support we can muster. Before that, we get our chance to take on Clontarf again as they travel to Thomond Park again on Saturday in the AIB cup. Please take note that the kick off is at the earlier time of 2pm.
The seconds were back in competitive action last Sunday and recorded a good 13-3 win over Young Munster with Mark Tuohy prominent throughout. This Sunday they entertain UL/Bohs in Coonagh at 2.30.
The Thirds travel to Cashel on Saturday for the reply of the Gleeson league semi final. Last time out it was 3-3 and once again there’ll be nothing between the sides. Kick off is at 2pm.
Our U/14’s comprehensively beat Ennis in Coonagh on Sunday whilst playing their best rugby of the season to date. An early Penalty from Cormac Ryan was matched soon after by Ennis, but it was one way traffic after that. The best score in eth 49-3 victory came from centre Paul Curtis while others to cross the line were, Brian Danagher (2),Conor Barry (2), Mark Leonard (2), Shane Stanley. This Sunday they make the lengthy journey to Kilrush for a 12pm start. The U/18’s travelled to Castleisland and in a very competitive game were unlucky to lose by 10-3. The U/16’s travel to play Bruff on Sunday with a 12pm start.
There will be a constant reminder in these notes to all our members that the Club Draw is ongoing. We urge everyone to row in behind this vital fundraising effort by buying and selling tickets which are available in the clubhouse or any member of the committee. Full details are posted on the website, www.shannonrfc.com
We wish a speedy recovery to John Galvin who recently underwent major surgery in Dublin. Some readers may not be aware of John’s enormous contribution to the maintenance of Coonagh. Almost every day John could be seen working tirelessly to ensure that all players in the club can benefit and enjoy the fine facility we have in Coonagh. His enforced sabbatical means that there is a very big void to fill out there and hopefully it won’t be too long before we see John in action again.
Finally a reminder to all our members and friends that Club member Meave O’Donovan will be competing in the later stages of RTE’s You’re a Star this Sunday evening and we are encouraging everyone to get behind this talented singer. So tune in and vote Meave!
Linda Kennedy PRO
South Munster Under 18 League 2006/2007.
Ballincollig 26-13 Old Christians
Ballincollig RFC Under 18’s continued their league campaign on last Saturday 06.01.07 with an away game to Old Christians at Rathcooney. The game was played in ideal conditions on a dry sod with bright sunshine. Ballincollig exerted immense pressure and dominated proceedings for the first 15 minutes but could not break a resolute Old Christians defence. The home side broke away from their 22 and good inter passing by both back and forwards saw them stopped on the Ballincollig 22 and from a clever kick through the home side were awarded a penalty in front of the Ballincollig posts for obstruction and Old Christians duly converted and went ahead 3 nil. Ballincollig re-grouped on the re-start and after some good rucking and mauling Shane Campbell kicked a long touch to the home side’s 22. Shane Kavanagh won the lineout for Ballincollig and after from the resultant ruck Michael Daly from full back joined the line and scored a good try in the corner to leave Ballincollig 5pts to 3 ahead at the break. Ballincollig continued their dominance after the break and were rewarded after 5 minutes when Podge Bohane took a popped the ball from a ruck and beat three opponents before scoring spectacularly under the posts which Shane Campbell converted to leave Ballincollig 12 pts to 3 ahead. However the home side struck back immediately and using their big forwards to get to the danger zone they popped the ball to their winger who scored in the corner to leave the score 12-8. The home side hit back again some 6 minutes later and again scored another try to leave them ahead 13-12. Ballincollig however were resilient and when they were awarded a scrum on the home sides 22 Billy Newman joined the line and scored under the posts which Shane Campbell and Ballincollig were back in front 19-12. They now had their tails up and from the re-start the forwards set up a ruck and the ball was flashed through the backs and Dave Baston scored under the posts which Shane Campbell again converted to leave Ballincollig 26-13 ahead. It was a great team performance with the forwards dominating the set pieces and the back showing touches of excellence at times.
Ballincollig Team: Barry Attridge, Conor Owens, Shaun Murphy, Shane Murphy(Capt.) Owen Mc Donagh, Paddy Murphy, Shane Kavanagh, Podge Bohane, Brian O’Shea, Sean McGarry, Sean Boyce, Denis Daly, Shane Campbell, Liam Murphy, Dave Baston, Killian O’Callaghan, Eugene Boyce, Billy Newman, John Flynn, Robert Foulkes, Robert Fitton & Liam Jennings.
Next Match Ballincollig v Highfield at Tanner Park on Saturday 13.01.07.
Under Age News
South Munster League Under 16 League
Clonakilty 47 Ballincollig 7
Travelling down to Shannon Vale, the Under 16’s were 2nd in the league, with Highfield top and Clonakilty third. As any senior team can empathise playing in that West Cork venue is tough at the best of times. After Kick Off, it was the visitors who looked the more dangerous, keeping the pressure up for the first 10 minutes, after this the tides turned with 2 successive tries from the home side which they converted. ‘Collig should be annoyed as they were due to two simple mistakes, just before the half time whistle it was again the home sides turn, when a sweet move between backs resulted in a try in the corner. It’s worth mentioning the sheer quality of the backs in Clonakilty.
Upon resuming, ‘Collig huffed and puffed but they couldn’t get over that try line. During the phases, Clon turned over some ball, and that resulted in a fine breakaway try bringing the score to 28 nil. Ballincollig put the pressure on which eventually resulted in a great try from Cian O’Callaghan, converted by Josh Tannion. Unfortunately it was poor consulation as the home side came back with 2 more tries in the remaining minutes.
Coaches Niall Boland, Mick Baston, and Aidan Finton were not disappointed with his spirited performance, they were unfortunately beaten by a better team.
1. Gavin O’Gorman, 2. Colm O’Connell, 3. James Cronin © 4. Stephen Collins, 5. John Barry, 6. Ben Coveney 7. Cian O’Callaghan, 8. Jeremiah Cronin, 9. Josh Tannion, 10. Danny McSwiney, 11. Paul Baston, 12. Thomas Marshall, 13. Killian Burke, 14. Cian Dennehy, 15. Stephen McDonagh, Subs 16. James O’Connell, 17 Barry McDonagh.
OLD CRESCENT RFC
Michael Larkin PRO
Our Firsts travelled to Greystones last Saturday for their AIL fixture and unfortunately came away without league points. It was always going to be a difficult assignment as Greystones are proving themselves to be one of the best teams in the division and on Saturday they were fired up and it is only fair to say that on the day they were the better team.
It is disappointing after such a good start to our league campaign to have lost the last few games in most cases through shooting ourselves in the foot. On Saturday we gave our opponents a head start through back chat to the Referee which was penalised ten metres and which moved them close to our line and they took the opportunity and we were seven points down. We levelled with a Lorcan Bourke try converted by Brian Begley but poor tackling allowed Greystones over for some soft tries with the result they had their bonus point for four tries scored before half time. Team changes at half time made a big improvement in our performance but the damage had been done and there was no way back against a good team.
This weekend the Firsts have no game but a training session is arranged for Saturday morning. The Seconds play Thomond in Rosbrien on Sunday in a friendly match, and the Thirds play Young Munster on Saturday at 12.30 also in Rosbrien.
Training for Under-Age resumes as usual on Sunday, Under 14 are away to St Marys and Under16 are away to Ennis, the Under 11s blitz is at Bruff this weekend.
Members are reminded that the Presidents night is arranged for Saturday 3rd February in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon. Once again the hotel is offering great value at €60 for the room on Saturday night and for those who wish to make a weekend of it there is an offer available of €180 for Friday and Saturday night with dinner for two on Friday. Accommodation bookings should be made directly with the Falls Hotel at 065 7071004
Presidents Night tickets are €55 and can be secured from any Committee member.
The Presidents Prize golf is as usual on Saturday arrangements to be given later.
Aidan Clifford PRO
Killorglin Rugby Club played host to Cobh Pirates on Sunday last, January 7th, in the eagerly awaited J2 Quarter Final. The match was a hard hitting affair straight from the kick-off as the admittedly smaller Killorglin pack took the ball to the opposition through phase after phase. Cobh for much of the opening 30 mins were forced to kick for possession as the Killorglin defensive line was rock solid and was pressuring Cobh at every opportunity. The breakthrough finally came on 30 mins as Paul O’Connor kicked a fantastic long range penalty under hard conditions, following an infringement for offside by a Cobh player. The two sides battled out the rest of the first half until Gareth Sheehan kicked an inspirational drop goal right on the referee’s whistle to take Killorglin in 6-0 ahead at the break. Shortly into the second half, Cobh were found offside again, and Paul O’Connor duly slotted the resulting kick to put Killorglin 9-0 ahead. This scoreline held for about 5 minutes until the Killorglin defense eventually infringed to give the Cobh fly-half a difficult penalty which he slotted with ease to bring the score to 9-3. The ten minutes that followed was end to end rugby until, on the 55th minute, a Cobh kick was blocked down on their goal line the ball was pounced on by a number of players, with Karl John Daly just beating Andrew O’Reilly to the touch down to score the try to put the hosts 14-3 ahead. The score remained the same until the dying minutes when two tries in quick succession from the Cobh pack put the score at 14-13 in injury time. Luckily Killorglin held out to advance in the competition, with Cork Constitution away being the most likely semi final tie for the club. Every player on the field played out of their skins, but special mention has to go to the back row of Sean Joy, Greg Bird, and Brendan ‘Fox’ O’Sullivan, along with half back Gareth Sheehan and centre Andrew O’Reilly who with outstanding.
Killorglin team:- 1 KJ Daly, 2 D Flynn, 3 J O’Sullivan, 4 R Kelliher, 5 C Stephens, 6 S Joy, 7 G Bird, 8 B O’Sullivan (c), 9 G Sheehan, 10 T West, 11 V O’Callaghan, 12 A O’Reilly, 13 K Crowley, 14 J Riordan, 15 P O’Connor.
Subs:- D Coffey for West (35"), F Foley for Kelliher (70"), C Conway for Joy (78").
Killorglin Rugby have launched a fundraising draw to win a pair of Tickets to the eagerly awaited Ireland vs England Six Nations Match, being played in Croke Park on Saturday 24th February. The prize also includes two nights Bed & Breakfast in Jury’s Croke Park Hotel, along with €150 spending money. The draw will be limited to three hundred tickets, at a unit price of €50. As applications for allocated tickets to both home games have closed, this may be the only chance to see the historic game, and will raise valuable funds for Killorglin rugby Club in the process. Interested parties can contact PRO Aidan Clifford on 0879065927 or alternatively can leave a message on club secretary Maddy Foley’s phone 066-9762102.
The above draw will take place on the night of our annual Table Quiz, taking place in The Soda Club on Thursday 8th February. This night has proven to be a very enjoyable event over the past few years, as it has been growing into the one of the biggest Table Quizzes held in the town.
Clonakilty’s topsy-turvy season continued in Cork last Saturday when they overcame a doughty Highfield team scoring four tries in the process for a bonus point. Highfield were in 6th place with Clon in 11th coming into this game. The expected win would have seen the home side move probably into third spot and the visitors dropping a further place to 12th. Instead Clon moved into 6th place and with a game in hand are only two points off a top four play off position while Highfield now occupy 10th position. Clon are now the 3rd strongest club in Cork behind Cork Con and Dolphin – on paper at least – and the 6th strongest club in Munster overall. It will take a lot of hard work to stay ahead of the likes of Young Munster, UCC, Highfield, Thomond, Old Crescent, Midleton, Nenagh Ormond, Bruff, Sunday’s Well and Waterpark. It is to be hoped that by maintaining a strong position in the province, (currently the West Cork outfit is the top Munster club outside division one), that the club can attract more quality players, as the only limiting factor to progress at the moment is the size of the squad. This was borne out in this most recent performance when the return of Derek Dillon, Paul Dillon, Tadhg Wright and Declan Coppinger to the squad had such an impressive effect. Only for injuries this season Clon would most certainly be in third place at the very least.
The loss to Co. Carlow was particularly disappointing as an under strength Clon were well on top in the early stages running in two excellent trys and putting bonus point in everyone’s mind with only a quarter of the match gone. However discipline again hindered Clon as the referee was given plenty of reason to whistle Clon out of the game. While Clon certainly contributed to their own downfall the referee did play a part all by himself as he failed to apply any consistency as he allowed Carlow to escape unpenalised for similar offences. The day suited Clon dry and with firm ground underfoot and early on a super kick from Colm McCarthy gave Clon great position and from a line out a rehearsed move worked perfectly with Captain Eoin Scannell going over for the try. A telling break from Mike Keohane and quick support from the pack resulted in the ball being swept across the backline for John O’Donnell to go in at the corner after 20 minutes. Carlow were rocked and it only needed the killer blow but it never came instead of the expected try bonus point Clon left without even a losing bonus licking self inflicted wounds and pondering the loss of Gary Cribb with a dead leg and Paul Dillon with a suspected broken ankle. This turned out to be not so serious but still badly sprained the prognosis was a 6 – 8 week lay off. "I’ll be back in four," said a defiant Dillon and indeed he was playing an important part against Highfield until again he had to retire injured but thankfully not the same. The changes forced upon Clon by these injuries were disruptive and allied to the indiscipline, the referee and the mindset of the side it must be said allowed Carlow to claw their way back into the game and claim their first win of the campaign.
The squad was Colm McCarthy, John O’Donnell, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Shay O’Donovan, Gary Cribb, David Cookson, Eddie Knowles, Alfie Harte, Dan Spencer, Dan Whelton, Mick O’Hea, Eoin Scannell (Capt), Gearoid Ryan, Mike Keohane, Joe Knowles, Batt Duggan, John O’Regan, Colin Murphy and Shane Walsh.
The mindset for the Highfield game last Saturday in contrast was perfect and the side clicked from the kick off. A great kick from Gary Cribb put Clon on the attack. From a lineout Alfie Harte found Mike O’Hea and then took the tap down to skip pass to Cribb and two more skips involving Paul Dillon put John O’Donnell into space. The winger who had an excellent game throughout sprinted in at the corner for a great try after only four minutes. Cribb who specialises in the difficult kicking angles converted to put Clon ahead 7 – 0. Five minutes later Clon looked to have shot themselves in the foot again when Derek Dillon was sin-binned albeit harshly. Highfield were unable to capitalise however and had only a Brian O’Meara penalty to show for the ten minutes when they were numerically superior. Dillon was not long back when a marvelous piece of play involving himself and David Cookson put O’Donnell in for his second try. One of the pivotal points of the game came when a penalty to Highfield was taken another ten for dissent and the ball was dispatched to touch five metres from the Clon line for the home throw. O’Hea rose imperiously to pinch the ‘Field ball and Cribb cleared the danger. O’Hea was again involved in a beautiful move when a searing break from Cribb brought play into the Highfield half and Derek Dillon was on hand to take it on and score between the uprights. Cribb’s conversion put Clon out to a very comfortable 19 – 3 lead. This situation was against a backdrop of little possession and territory as Highfield had dominated these areas and it showed just how dangerous Clon were from anywhere and particularly from broken play. Highfield had all the structure but it was Clon that had the incisive edge. Five minutes before the break O’Meara reduced the deficit by three points from a superb penalty kick from just inside the Clon half and into the wind and that proved to be a very important score in the end as it gave the losers a bonus point and also hope of an unlikely win right to the final whistle.
Clon could have had the bonus point wrapped up before the interval with a bit of luck. First Shay O’Donovan went close after breaking up the touchline and superbly gathering his own chip over the defence and then, only for a dubious forward pass call, Alfie Harte would have crowned another excellent display with a try from a Scannell tap in the lineout. Ten minutes into the half Highfield struck with a well worked try by O’Gara after good work from impressive centre Ronayne. O’Meara’s conversion gave real hope to the city club at 13 – 19 and had the Clon faithful wondering was it going to be a repeat of the Trinity and Carlow games where they had allowed beaten opposition to get back into the game. Halfway through the second half Clon secured their bonus point and the match with an excellent try by O’Donovan. Cribb again made light of the touchline conversion to put Clon safe at 13 – 26. It was difficult to see how Highfield could recover from this but recover they did and it made for an enthralling last ten minutes. They put a number of phases together and then released the backs where again Ronayne was instrumental in providing the space and the pass for the speedy Matson to score between the sticks. The easy conversion left the difference a mere six points again. Paul Dillon went off with an injury and Batt Duggan was sin-binned during this crucial period. Clon were disorientated and Highfield were looking to force home their advantage. The second pivotal point came at that stage. Clon were on the rack and Highfield were pressing when Declan Coppinger did what he does best. Taking man and ball he drove the carrier backwards to win the put in for Clon at the breakdown and the danger was cleared.
Although Clon could and maybe should have scored more trys they will be grateful for the win as it looked as if Highfield were about to cruelly snatch it when Ronayne’s kick was blocked and the alert Matson fielded and seemed to have beaten the tackle and was heading for the posts only to fall to a despairing hand trip from Shay O’Donovan
The Squad was Derek Dillon, Shay O’Donovan, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, John O’Donnell, Gary Cribb, David Cookson, Eddie Knowles, Alfie Harte, Dan Spencer, Dan Whelton, Mike O’Hea, Eoin Scannell (Capt), Tadhg Wright, Mike Keohane, Joe Knowles, Batt Duggan, Declan Coppinger, Gearoid Ryan and Colin Murphy.
They host Greystones this Saturday in The Vale. This is an All Ireland Cup game and Clon as one of Munster’s five qualifiers will be making their first appearance in the prestigious competition. The kick off is at 2.00pm to allow for extra time in the event of the sides being level after 80 minutes. Clon have a remarkable record at home in the league. In the six seasons to date they have played 43 home games and lost only 9. They are unbeaten this season and lost only one home fixture in each of the preceding two seasons. Can they transfer that to the cup?
The Extra-Firsts have had no game since the 26th November due to a variety of circumstances and will now be anxious to meet UCC in the league in The Vale on 21st January a week before they travel to Youghal for the first round of The Munster Junior Cup.
The Bulldogs played Kinsale in the league recently and recorded a great win by 5 – 0. The pack was dominant winning two balls against the head. Cathal O’Regan and Gearoid O’Rourke combined well to put Phil Hayes away and he sprinted in at the corner for the only score of an absorbing contest.
The Ladies had a comprehensive win over Boyne in division one of The All Ireland league. They then took some time off to help coach Richy Draper prepare for his wedding, which came to pass recently. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Draper from all at the club.
The Under 20s had a typically hard fought 13 – 0 win over Bandon in Bandon and will hope to continue their winning ways in Castleisland this Saturday. There are already a number of senior prospects in their ranks.
The Under 18s lost to Cobh Pirates before they too bid farewell to coach Kevin O’Regan, temporarily of course, as he set off for Lanzarote for his nuptials (memo to self – Never take up coaching!) and the congratulations of all at the club to Mr and Mrs O’Regan as well.
The Under 16s recovered from their 7 – 19 loss to Highfield by defeating Ballincollig 47-5.
The Under 14s continue to improve and added the scalp of Crosshaven to their totem pole winning by 60 – 0.
The club wishes to thank all who participated in the recent Christmas Hamper draw both as sellers and supporters. We hope that the winners, Anne Brick, Brendan Collins and Colm Quirke enjoyed the contents. Since the last newsletter it is with sadness that we learnt of the tragic and untimely deaths of Ciara O’Connor and Johnny Kingston, which caused a number of games to be postponed as a mark of respect. Ciara, daughter of dedicated under age coach Mark O’Connor and Sylvia and sister of Cathal, Ruadhri and Leah was only 15 and Johnny, son of Denis and Eileen and brother to Denis, James, Anne, Catherine, Mary, Nellie and Louise, still threatening to make a playing comeback was only 35. The president, officers and members of CRFC extend their sincere sympathy to both families.
This Weekend’s Fixtures
Senior- AIL- Greystones- The Vale- 2pm
U20’s- League- Castleisland- Castleisland- 2.30pm
U18’s- League- Old Christians- The Vale- 11.30am
U16’s- League- Skibbereen- Skibbereen- 11.30am
U14’s- League- Sunday’s Well- The Vale- 11am
J3 League, Bulldogs V Charleville, Charleville 3.00pm
UL BOHEMIAN RFC
Denis Ryan PRO
Victory over St Mary’s in Dublin got UL Bohs off to the best possible start this new year, and in scoring 4 tries in the 24-10 victory, ensured maximum points from the game as the AIL passed the halfway mark. The match marked the competitive return of Chris Delooze who has recovered from the leg injury sustained in Munster’s preseason outing against Leicester, and Tom Luke adjusted to the reshuffle by scoring two good tries on the wing. Other try scorers were Kevin Flanagan and Fergal Lawler, while Ben Martin put over a couple of conversions. The win puts us back in 3rd place in the table, just 2 points behind the leaders, but in this extremely competitive league, we are also just 2 points ahead of another 4 teams. The next few games are extremely important, with Buccaneers our next opponents in Thomond Park on 21st Jan.
The 2nd XV went to Cork and in the refixed game beat Cork Con in the Senior Seconds League, this time by the narrow margin of 8-3. Brian Madigan made a welcome return after injury, and graced the occasion with the clinching try. Ian Costello put over a penalty to complete the scoring. The game also saw the return after injury of Ryan Hartigan who reported no major discomfort, and with the injured troops beginning to return, the senior squad should be much strengthened when the league resumes. There is no doubt that the loss of these major players contributed to the narrow defeats we suffered in early December, and if they get some more game time over the next couple of weeks, they will be ready to assist the challenge for the playoffs.
CARRICK ON SUIR RFC
Dermot Keyes PRO
A worthwhile day in the Tybroughney mud!
Carrick 1st XV 5 Fermoy 0
Carrick 2nd XV 7 Fermoy 13
Our First and Second XV’s faced their Fermoy counterparts at Tybroughney, with the first team emerging victorious on a 5-0 scoreline while our seconds losing 13-7. Both games were well contested and played in fine sporting manners, despite pretty atrocious conditions.
The Second team were first to take to the fray and left the pitch suitably treacly for the following fixture. A game that could have gone either way, we led 7-0 at the break thanks to a Dermot Keyes try, which was converted by Jim Bourke. Super work by Ray Cullen, Paddy Phelan and James Hogan left the skipper with the easiest of touchdowns, as he chased down to give us an early advantage.
We could well have scored a second try just minutes later, but both Benny Woods and Larry Phelan were held up inches short of the Fermoy line. Before the break, the visitors got a try to pull themselves back into contention but Carrick retained the advantage at the break.
After the interval, we huffed and puffed a lot, but with Noel Phelan, Jim Bourke and Mick Carroll in particularly hard hitting form, we competed reasonably well against a well organised Fermoy pack.
But a combination of missed tackling and wayward kicking led to a second Fermoy try, putting them into a lead they were not to relinquish, a lead they subsequently added to via a penalty kick.
Post match, muddied from head to toe with jerseys sodden during the deluge, it was encouraging to hear so many players asking about when next we would play. The enthusiasm demonstrated by the squad since the start of the season has been exemplary and a credit to each and every player.
Carrick 2nd XV: D Power, J Hennessy, J Hogan; R Cullen, JP Wallace; D Clery, P Phelan; B Woods, N Phelan, D Keyes (c); R Gough, J Quinlan; M Carroll, L Phelan, J Bourke.
As the rain eased a little, eventually leading to some pleasant January sunshine going into the final quarter of the afternoon’s second fixture, our First XV tackled like crazy during the course of a well deserved 5-0 win over our Cork opponents.
Alex Hunter, who has been one of our most consistent performers this season, was the only man to cross the try-line during an almighty slog on the mud-clad Tybroughney paddock.
By full-time, it was virtually impossible to distinguish one team from the other, as the inclement conditions led to a game which was largely played in the tight. Rucking and mauling was the order of the day during a Carrick display of enormous discipline.
Some of the tackling was simply ferocious, with Shane O’Keeffe, Brian Slattery and captain John O’Keeffe landing some enormous hits during an energy sapping 80 minutes.
An onlooking club member commented on the virtues of a player who has rarely grabbed the headlines but never, ever left down a Carrick team he’s featured on. He’s so laid back he’s almost horizontal, but Brian Phelan’s commitment to the cause deserves a long overdue mention here.
Never one to shirk responsibilities, between periods of (a) Premiership football viewing or (b) thinking with his stomach, Brian is one of the club’s most dependable performers and a great soldier for the Carrick RFC cause. Keep up the good work, Brian!
Carrick 1st XV: B Dignam; S O’Keeffe, K Lanigan; A Hunter, E O’Donnell; E Lonergan, J Wallace; A Murray, J Walsh, J Heffernan; D Howard, B Phelan; B Slattery, J O’Keeffe (c), P Lanigan.
Replacement used: D Kiersey
Under 18s: Fethard 10 Carrick 10
Our youths put in a solid display against an equally committed Fethard side on Saturday afternoon. LJ Keegan touched down for our only try, which was converted by Dean Clery, who also fired over a penalty kick.
Well done Dean!
Meanwhile, in Ballinakill, Carrick wing forward Dean O’Hanlon featured on the Under 17 East Munster team which defeated West Munster 22-0. One of our promising underage players, Dean’s is a name to keep tabs on over forthcoming seasons.
Under 14 fixture
Next Sunday, our Under 14s take on Dungarvan at Tybroughney with the game scheduled for a 10.30 kick-off. Best of luck to all concerned.