A round up of the latest club news and match reports from around the province
Christopher Barry PRO
Our seniors slipped to seventh in the table after going down 19-8 to Clontarf in the AIL in atrocious conditions at Dooradoyle last Saturday. The concession of an early try didn’t help matters and the North Dubliners kept it tight thereafter. We seemed to struggle at times against a big strong pack and our wingers hardly saw the ball all day, save when Keith Earls scored an excellent try late in the game. Conor Kilroy’s neat little chip inside the 22 created the opening for a well worked try. Unfortunately the game had more or less slipped away at that stage especially when the visitors John Duffy finished off a scything move from half way to push the score out to 19-3. A win at home to Dungannon on Saturday is imperative if we are to keep pace with the teams above us. Earlier in the day our Gleeson League team maintained their good run when beating Old Crescent 32-0 on the back pitch. At half time we were rather flattered to have led 12-0 as the visitors missed some good penalty chances. The second half was almost one way traffic and Niall Wixted will have been pleased with the performance. Joe Noone, Mark O’Neill, Charlie Colling, Dave McInerney and Paul Earley all touched down. Diarmuid Waters kicked two conversions and also landed a penalty. The U20’s were next up and stormed to a 24-10 win over Highfield in a hard fought game. Conor McNamara, Mike O’Shea and Diarmuid McMahon were the try scorers and out half Colm Downes added the extras and kicked a penalty. In their efforts to secure a bonus point when leading 24-3 the ball was spilled and the Cork side snatched a late consolation try. Our junior team bounced back with a hard fought 17-14 win over Highfield in the M2L in Woodleigh Park last Sunday. Trailing 14-0 at the break, our pack put in a storming (!) second half and gradually wore the gallant Cork team down. Frank McKenna had a cracking game and scored two tries. Brian O’Shea converted both and landed a late penalty to secure the points. On Sunday they play Shannon in their final game in Dooradoyle at 2.30. There are two NML under age games this Sunday. Our U18’s play Bruff in Dooradoyle at 11.30, while our U13’s are away to Ennis at Lees Road, also at 11.30. Parents are reminded that the Mini Rugby Christmas party will be held in the clubhouse on Sunday at 11.00. Mr. S. Claus will be making an appearance. Supporters are reminded that we will be running a bus to Blackrock on Saturday 15th December. Bus will depart from Willie Sexton’s at 9.00. Please contact Dave Ryan on 085 1017078 to reserve a seat.
Aidan Clifford PRO
Killorglin Rugby Club Seniors were due to host Castleisland in the Munster Junior League on Sunday last but, due to an unplayable pitch, the game was called off. On Saturday, the club’s under 14s and under18s travelled to Abbeyfeale. In torturous conditions, the under 14s were beaten by 33-10, with tries from Eoghan O Sullivan and Billy Corkery. The under 18s drew 7-7, thanks to a last minute try from prop Barry Sheehan.
Senior Team Training takes place Every Tuesday at 7pm and Fridays at 7:30pm at the Dragon’s Den All-weather pitch. All new players are welcome.
Killorglin Rugby club are holding a Christmas hamper raffle. Lines for the hamper, kindly donated by Bewleys with a value of €;250, cost €;5 each, and will be available throughout the town leading up to Christmas.
Also, the club’s annual Quiz night will take place in the Soda Club on Thursday February 7th. More details to follow in the weeks ahead.
Majella Ryan PRO
Clonmel’s Quest For Glory Interrupted
Skibbereen 5 Clonmel 3
A few years ago Skibbereen was the location for the making of the film “War of the Buttons”. Now, if last Sundays’ table-topping battle between Skibbereen and Clonmel had been filmed it would have been a box office hit for its plot, tension and ending. This was no phoney war – this was the Full Monty, a struggle that could have gone either way on a bounce of the ball. The hype prior to the meeting of these two unbeaten sides was of course inaccurate – “whoever wins this game will win the league”, etc. Nonsense – this league is still wide open and I predict now that it will go down to the last round of games in early March.
Let’s sum it up right now – this was the classic “game of two halves” because of the gale blowing down the pitch. Clonmel were magnificent against all the odds in the first half whereas Skibbereen were outstanding in their sheer stubborness and skill level in the second half. The common denominator over the course of the game was the fierce commitment of both sets of forwards. To a neutral it could have been boring, with two packs trying desperately to subdue each other. Of course, there were no neutrals present so this was eighty minutes of biting one’s nails off because there simply was no room for any error here. Another summation of this match would go this way – Skibbereen had one sniff of a chance in the first half and converted it into a try that would win the game. Clonmel had two gold-plated chances in each half but failed to capitalise on any of them. The ones that got away.
Skibbereen had kicked off with both the gale and the incline in their favour and had Clonmel immediately under pressure, but Clonmel resisted stoutly and managed to push the home side back towards their own half. Skibbereen came back and suddenly had an opening on Clonmel’s right and their No.8 beat off some indifferent tackling by Clonmel to go all the way into the corner to put the home side 5-0 up with only 7 minutes on the clock. They wouldn’t score again in the remaining eighty minutes. Skibbereen now applied ferocious pressure but Clonmel defended with every sinew. 18 minutes would pass before Clonmel crossed the halfway line. But on 19 minutes a Clonmel penalty followed by a great drive from Corby brought Clonmel right into Skibbereen’s left corner – the line beckoned – surely this was the moment. But lack of patience got the ball carrier isolated and a penalty for holding blew a great chance. Clonmel were now on top and within a few minutes an incisive run by Niall Grogan had Clonmel in Skibbereen’s other corner and we waited with bated breath as the pack again crabbed towards the line – now or never – but again at the critical moment Clonmel fouled the ball and allowed Skibbereen to clear. Second clear-cut chance gone.
The remainder of the half resumed its pattern, with Clonmel defending in their own “22” for much of the time. Still, for all their pressure and the elements in their favour, Skibbereen were only 5-0 ahead at half-time. The large Clonmel support were happy enough with this – surely we’d turn the tables in the second half? The second period was a mirror of the first. Now Skibbereen were pinned back but managed the odd minor breakout. We waited expectantly for the inevitable score to come. Clonmel tried through the pack and then out wide but the score wasn’t coming, the travelling support became worried. We relaxed somewhat on 19 minutes when Daniel Lyons put a good kick over to reduce the arrears to 5-3. Now we should move on and win this game. But it didn’t happen. Skibbereen just kept the ball any time they got it and went through phase after phase after phase. They didn’t care if they didn’t make a yard or lost a yard – they had the ball and Clonmel couldn’t play with it. The wind was so strong that on 23 minutes Lyons attempted a long-range penalty from his own half – a penalty would win this – but it dropped short.
Clonmel should have learned from Skibbereen penchant to keep the ball. Whenever Clonmel got the ball they would have to use it wisely. But they didn’t. Twice in the next 10 minutes Clonmel were on top of the Skibbereen line. Firstly they fouled the ball and when the second chance came Clonmel amazingly opted to spread the ball wide when the occasion was screaming for a rumble over the line. We couldn’t believe that the Skibbereen line was still intact. Now Skibbereen got the ball back and, like Munster the previous evening, really stuck it up their jersey. In this phase of the game they showed remarkable composure. Try as they might, and boy, did they try, Clonmel could not get any time on the ball. Skibbereen held on for dear life and played the clock down. The whistle blew and Clonmel’s amazing run of ten straight victories was over. But there was no shame here – credit to both sides – this was a massive game of rugby. It would be unfair to pick out any Clonmel player, every man on the pitch, but especially the forward unit, put in a Trojan effort but it was not to be on the day.
Again, THIS IS NOT OVER. Skibbereen still have to face Cashel and Bandon away, two major obstacles that Clonmel have already negotiated. It will go down to the wire. Clonmel’s task is now clear. We can still win this league. There are four games remaining and nothing but four victories will do, starting in Kilfeacle next Saturday. Your team needs you now – we need every single supporter to show up in Kilfeacle. KO 2.30 pm.
Clonmel RFC Ladies XV
Clonmel Ladies were due to play Cooke at home last Saturday at 6 pm. The visiting team were unable to travel and awarded Clonmel the game and points.
Clonmel RFC 2nd XV
Clonmel 2nd XV were due to play Ennis away last Sunday but the game was called off due to adverse weather conditions.
Clonmel RFC Fixtures
Clonmel RFC 1st XV vs. Kilfeacle 1st XV, Saturday 15/12/08 at 2.30 pm.
Clonmel RFC Under Age Fixtures:
Under 8s, 10s and 12s
There will be no training this Saturday for these age groups because we are having matches under lights, which will kick off at 7 pm, Saturday evening. Players who have Munster jerseys or other red jerseys are asked to bring them. Weather permitting, we are looking forward to an evening of fun for all. Don’t forget to bring plenty warm clothes.
Under 14s, 16s and 18s
There will be training as usual for these age groups on Saturday morning.
Under 14s are scheduled to travel to Thurles on Sunday but there is some doubt as to whether this will go ahead. We will know by Saturday morning
Under 16s have an away match against Fethard but again we are awaiting confirmation, and should be able to let players know on Saturday.
Wind of Change – Hopefully!
Clonakilty 28 Dublin University 8
A windy day at The Vale proved the old adage that it is an ill wind that blows no good. Clonakilty’s fortunes may just have changed as a confident side took the students apart with the wind and then frustrated them when facing the elements by denying them any meaningful possession. The pack can take most of the credit for this. Bolstered by the return of Danny Whelton to the second row they were far hungrier and organised. From the moment Whelton came from nowhere to take the legs of Trinity’s winger in the opening minutes the entire pack put in an unstinting 80 minutes and they can have looked in the mirror after the game with great pride and satisfaction. Was it the weather? Was it the change of jerseys? Was it the return of John Lombards “lucky slime green shirt?” Was it the return of Danny Whelton? No. It was none of these although the latter certainly influenced things. It was the belief the players had in themselves. They knew that they were losing games they were good enough to win and they knew that if they stuck with it the time would come when the tide would turn and it did.
Clon fired from the start and a huge hit in midfield from Paul Dillon showed the backs were also up for it. He built on this with a great try from an intercept. His reading was impeccable as he was on his way to take the ball before the passer had even received it! He strolled in between the posts to give Gary Cribb the easy conversion to put Clon 7 – 0 ahead after five minutes. The trend continued with a point a minute in the first half hour. Cribb’s kicking was superb getting every last inch out of the wind to keep Clon on the front foot and the college defending desperately. The pressure forced the errors and Cribb added a penalty after ten minutes. A superb take in the line out against the throw by Mike Keohane was taken on by John O’Regan to put Clon into the red zone again. Exceptional work on the ground from the towering Mike O’Hea was supported by the pack and Eddie Knowles got the ball away to Cribb. With so much support on either side of the outhalf the defence was bamboozled and Cribb took full advantage to weave his way through the hesitant defenders to score. The conversion was missed but Clon were 15 – 0 up after 15 mins.
The pressure again was telling and Cribb added two more penalties to put Clon out to 21 – 0 before the try of the game put Clon seeking a bonus point for all the right reasons. Paul Dillon made a great break, Joe Knowles and John O’Reagan with supporting runs with ball in hand took out defenders and Colin Murphy coming in made great ground before releasing John O’Donnell who, with typical determination, finished the move. Cribbs conversion put Clon out to 28 – 0 after 25 minutes and even with the wind to come that should have been it – or so The Vale Faithful thought until Trinity showed why they are at the top of the league with a well worked try. Cribb retired injured necessitating a reshuffle in the backs. The danger inherent in every college side was underlined when a missed tackle around midfield ended with a score in the corner minutes later from Shane Hanratty on the stroke of half time.
Now the 23-point advantage could be justifiably seen as perhaps too little with the wind favouring the students. A penalty award that saw Clon lose the services of Joe Knowles for 10 minutes, was converted by Johnny Watts within minutes of the restart and nervousness appeared on the hill. Clon need not have worried. From the kick off the forwards took the ball and incredibly started to wind the clock down with 30 minutes to go. They picked and drove from their own line and managed on three occasions to get the ball into the Trinity half and indeed looked likely to get the bonus try when up there. The appearance of Whelton was timely and his work rate, particularly in the crucial opening quarter, was phenomenal given the length of his absence from the game but the Clon management must have thought Santa had come early when charismatic captain, Alfie Harte, came off the bench for the last quarter weeks ahead of schedule. Noel O’Sullivan on the wing was well tested any time the students tried to kick for position or run it wide. His positioning and fielding was superb given the conditions and his tackling in a flawless man of the match performance was another reason that Clon prevailed. Indeed he came close to getting that icing try after tremendous play from Clon that moved the ball 60 metres but David Lombard’s scoring pass to O’Sullivan was blocked.
The students will have been frustrated by their lack of possession but they will recover from this and still be at the business end of the league when the season draws to a close. Clon having beaten them twice this season will be very encouraged going into the derby match with Highfield this Saturday in The Vale. The squad was Derek Dillon, John O’Donnell, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Noel O’Sullivan, Gary Cribb, Eddie Knowles, Hugh O’Neill, Joe Knowles, Danny Whelton, Mike O’Hea, John O’Regan, John Darvill, Mike Keohane, Eoin Murphy, Alfie Harte, John McCarthy, Darragh Lynch, Shay O’Donovan, Aaron Spring and Cathal Kirby.
Clon have now moved out of the relegation places but only by points difference and matches still need to be won. Highfield currently hold the fourth play-off position with a game in hand that could see them in second place. They will travel to Clon still smarting from their home defeat by the West Cork club last season that saw Clon take a four-try bonus point from that game. They will not be in festive mood. This game again kicks off at the unusual time of 2.00pm because of the light factor and the biggest gate of the season is expected. Extra parking and refreshment facilities will be available but supporters are advised to come early.
The Bulldogs made it a weekend to remember with a resounding win over Highfield last Sunday in Cork. It was all the sweeter by virtue of the try bonus point gained in the process. A typically committed Bulldog performance was too much for an unusually weak Highfield. Two trys from Emmet McCarthy (try and avoid conversation with him ‘til after Christmas), while he was on the field, one each from Tom Nyhan and Alan Pettit following great work from fellow prop Mike Murphy and 12 points from the slime green boot of Matt Kirby gave Clon a 32 – 3 win. Discipline may be the only drawback as there is a thin line between enthusiasm and transgression as McCarthy and Sam Dignan found out.
CLONAKILTY V HIGHFIELD THE VALE SATURDAY 2.00PM
ST SENANS RFC
Val Byrnes PRO
Bad Weather Postpones Game.
A quiet weekend for the Saints with the game being postponed against Ennis due to the pitch being unplayable.
This weekend sees a friendly at home to Richmond on Sat.15th. Dec. in "Jimmy Slattery Park" and kick off is at 2.30pm.
All Support is very welcome
Other upcoming events for the club are the Members New Years Eve Dance and also the Night at the Dogs which is pencilled in for the 9 th.of Feb. 2008.
So Watch this Space……….
But not to forget our Annual "Challenge" Match between the Presidents Selection versus the Captains Selection which is due to be played on Dec.28th.
A great day and night is to be had by all, as Refreshments and Music after the game will be held in Hobans Bar in Sixmilebridge.
Watch out for the two waterboys on the day (Jim Hoban and Ollie Allen)….should be a laugh…..
All support will be highly entertained….
Lucky Dip- Pat Fitzgerald, Eoin Hayes, Larry Bridges, Val Byrnes, Fiona Brady S/O, Tony O Brien S/O, Noel Casey, M O Shea, Fantom c/o S.M.B., Mark Browne
This week and next week there will be 10 lucky dip picks instead of the usual 5 if the Jackpot is not won as a token of our gratitude for your support for the past year
And on behalf of the President of the club I would like to take this opportunity in wishing all our supporters a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year
Andrew McNamara PRO
Well it was going to happen sooner or later. Our fantastic start to the AIB league was brought to a shuddering halt in a venue which has been notoriously difficult for us over the years. The wind and rain dealt a harsh dose to both sides as well as the spectators and it was St Mary’s that seemed to cope better with the elements. It’s said that poor weather conditions can be a great leveller and that statement bore fact last Saturday. We choose to play into the elements in the first half and it was a tactic that looked spot on as we went into the break just five points in arrears which, given the circumstances was more than an acceptable deficit. St Mary’s were full value for their lead after barging over for a converted try adding to an earlier penalty. However an immediate and decisive response came when David Quinlan crossed the line after an excellent forward drive.
It was all going reasonably well, and the feeling was that if we took the lead in the second half, it could easily be maintained. It was an optimism that turned out to be unfounded. Andrew Thompson notched over a penalty to reduce the arrears, but the all important leading score failed to materialise. Make no mistake, it certainly wasn’t for lack of effort, but a massively impressive defensive display from the home side kept us at bay. On several occasions we were held just inches from the line but in the end, with the vocal home support in full flow, St Mary’s held firm for their well deserved win. Disappointing it definitely was but there was a reality and honesty in the post match dressing room that will hopefully, have a positive effect. Despite the loss we remain only a point behind the leaders and Lansdowne are in the firing line for a backlash this Saturday. If last Saturday has taught us a lesson, than it’s never underestimate any opposition. Every team wants to lower our colours and despite Lansdowne’s recent lack of form, they will provide another challenge. It will be a first visit to Lansdowne’s temporary home, The RDS and a supporters coach will leave Thomond Park at 10am and as usual Tadhg Crowe can be contacted on 087 6524958.
A look forward to the Senior Cup Final on the 29th against Highfield and a supporters coach will also be heading to Cork for that game.
Our only other game of another rain soaked weekend saw the U/20’s finish of their year with a very comfortable win over Bruff in Coonagh. Such was the ease of victory that a bonus point was secured before the break the 50-3 scoreline didn’t flatter the lads as they produced yet another classy performance. Keith Ellis crossed for three tries and his was an exceptional display, but he wasn’t alone. Martin Staunton was a powerhouse in the pack and after his lengthy layoff, Eoghan Grace is getting back to his best. The 20’s are now five points clear at the top of the South western Conference of the AIL , and it’s down to the rest to play catch up. We have three remaining games before the playoff places are decided , and they will take place in the New Year.
Underage training and games were again called off but hopefully this week the rain will hold off and training can resume. Galwegians travel to Coonagh this Sunday to play our U/12’s in the only game at underage .
The thirds are scheduled to play Young Munster in a friendly in Coonagh at 12.30 on Saturday .
John Cole asks me to point out that the Munster Association of Referees are holding a coaching course for newreferees recruits, the course will be held in the Mallow GAA club, yes the GAA club, on Sunday 6th January 2008 at 10am. The course director will be Dave McHugh. Any person interested in doing this course should contact John Cole referee recruitment officer North Munster On phone no 086 8441870 or any member of the referees association.
John Leahy is forging full steam ahead with the rejuvenated Club Lotto. The first draw will take place in the first week in January and tickets and direct debit forms will be available from next week on. We urge all to support this vital fundraiser.