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Club News Weekending 22nd April 2007

18th April 2007 By Munster Rugby

Club news, views and reviews from around the province.

Loosehead PRO

All Ireland Semi-Final Date For Clonakilty This Weekend

Another great day in a series of great days for Clonakilty since 1998 comes this Saturday when they fly to Dublin to take on Greystones at the Co. Wicklow venue in the AIB All Ireland League Division Two Semi-Final. Although ‘Stones finished second to Clon’s third in the group stages they have lost to the West Cork side twice this season already in The Vale when the locals completed the league and cup double over their vaunted visitors 8-0 and 17-10 respectively. Thus Greystones have never won in The Vale drawing their only other game 13 all in 03/04. Clon have conceded only 20 tries in the division – the best record of any club during the 2006/07 League season. That’s on the plus side. The debit side makes interesting reading. Clon have lost on both occasions that they played in Dr. Hickey Park. The first time was in the inaugural season 2001/02 when they went down 36-20 in a great game. The second was in 2004/05 when they were on the wrong end of a 43-11 hiding – the biggest score conceded by Clon in the senior years. Greystones are "waiting" for the Clon Boys as they smart from the defeats earlier in the season and get the tie they wanted. Clon have won only three of their previous 16 aways in Leinster. Greystones have been in terrific form scoring 392 points including 55 tries in the league to date. Ominous also for Clon is the fact that no away team has ever advanced beyond the semi-finals in division two. Can Clon advance? It would be an incredible achievement if they were to contest a second league final in successive years. Will they lift the league trophy? The players are confident and they will have huge travelling support by air and by road as they must first overcome a determined ‘Stones side for the third time this season. If they do then they will meet the winners of Old Belvedere and Young Munster in the final next Saturday for the chance of being crowned champions for the second year in succession.
Speaking of great days Clonakilty RFC will celebrate its 30th birthday with a special Dinner and Dance on Sunday 6th May (Bank Holiday Weekend). It will be a formal event and will take place in The Fernhill Hotel. A reception at 8.30pm will be followed by Dinner at 9.30pm SHARP. Spot Prizes, Surprise Guests and music by The Starlight Wranglers and Disco Joe Stapletune will ensure a great night of celebration. Tickets will be only €40 each to mark the occasion and are strictly limited to 200. Don’t miss out. Book your tickets now phone 086 60 111 11.

Denis Ryan PRO

The rugby season seems to be comprised of feasts and famines, and after a weekend which had UL Bohs playing an important AIL 1st Division game, the final of the Munster Junior Cup, and the semi-final of the All Ireland U-20 Cup, the following weekend had a distinctly bare look about it.
However the women, as is their privilege, took centre stage and won their game against Clonakilty by 29-0 to qualify for the All Ireland Final which will be held in Port Laoise on Sunday 29th April. The opposition will be Highfield, and as the only side to have beaten UL Bohs in serious competition in 5 years, this promises to be a great contest. Coach Coleman Finn, Manager Jason Enright and all the players would welcome you support.
The 3rd XV had a friendly against Suttonians and in a game reminiscent of an underage blitz, won by 8 tries to 4. There were a few conversions, but no one really cared about them, as this was a fixture in the traditional spirit of rugby.
This weekend is a major milestone in the present progress of the club. The 1st XV travel to play Blackrock in the last game of the AIL. It looks as if a last four place has been achieved, but nothing can be taken for granted, and the Dublin side have the most accumulated bonus points through being on the wrong end of narrow decisions all season. Accordingly, this is a game of the utmost importance if we are to get into the playoffs and a possible home semi-final. The squad and management need all support, so a trip to the capital would be most rewarding.
In the underage section, the U-14’s made it back safely from East Anglia, and were full of praise for Sudbury-a side not even on their original itinerary- for the hospitality shown to them. The U-16’s headed for north Italy and nothing has been heard of them since, while the U-15s went to Wales and claim they put out the Dragon’s fire. No doubt we’ll hear the full stories when the players reach retirement age.


Pat Rickard PRO

As our adults side have completed their season the focus this week is with the under age section of the club.

The under 15s played Shannon in the cup on Sunday morning and lost by the narrowest of margins a very enjoyable game of rugby which was marked by 10 tries. The under 14s hosted a touring side for Worthing in England on Sunday and the visitors were victorious in a sporting game of rugby. The under 12s participated in the Brian Fitzgerald memorial tournament and reached the semi final which was a great achievement many congratulations to them.

The under 11s travelled to London to play Wasps under 11s and to attend the Guinness Premiership game between Wasps and Northampton. We lost our tour mascot and chief aillickado Dan Gallery to a nasty bout of pneumonia in the days leading up to the trip (we wish him a speedy recovery) so 26 players and parents traveled to London (with 2 others meeting up with the party in the UK). A quick hop to Heathrow, the highlight of which was the good luck message from the crew on the plane. On arrival in Heathrow we headed immediately for Windsor and Legoland. The weather was unseasonable warm and sunny which was ideal for a day in the out doors, where we panned for gold and encountered a range of thrills from The Dragon Ride to The Pirate Falls, and The Jungle Coaster (not of the fainthearted) and many more and not a horse in site as we missed the Grand National. We returned to the bus in the late afternoon and headed for our hotel. A quick check in and bag drop in the rooms and it was time for dinner. To the great delight of the group Eoin Reddan arrived at the hotel shortly thereafter. After some photographs and autographs, Eoin graciously agreed to do a Question & Answer session with the group, during which he shared some of his experiences in professional rugby with them. The evening was concluded with a sports table quiz which was won by Mark Rickard, Dylan Griffin and Ciaran Heagney (with a bit of assistance from their parents). We woke early (as a result of the Wasps Premiership gave being moved to a 12.15pm kick off by Sky Sports) and on the pitch for 9:00am at nearby RGS High Wycombe where we participated in the Wasps Community coaching session before our games with Wasps under 11’s, one of which we won and one of which we lost – great displays and wholehearted performances all around resulted in us winning one match 18 tries to 4 and losing the other match 1 try to nil, taking the series 18 -5 on aggregate. After the game Wasps introduced us their special post match cheer and we reciprocated by showing them our special "O’Malley" post match warm down (with help from the famous firm of Cadbury, Roundtree & Mars) which the players of both sides enjoyed. We look forward to a return fixture next season to meet up with some new friends and perhaps to settle what is already an old score! On to Adams Park at the match which was of vital importance to both sides for contrasting reasons. We were mentioned in the match programme which was great to see and we watched Eoin and Wasps survive a six try thriller and hold on to win 35-29 over Northampton and by doing so to keep their top 4 hopes alive and give them the edge going into the following weeks Heineken Cup semi final against the same opposition. Can you believe it, with a week to go to that match they had spare tickets available for sale – wouldn’t happen down Munster way!! After the match as Wasps bid farewell to their departing players, including former UL Bohs player Peter Bracken and former Garryowen star Jeremy Staunton, we got the opportunity to enter the pitch and get photos and autographs with Eoin, Peter, Johnny O’Connor and Joe Worsley. Watching this again made you proud of our Irish rugby colleagues playing abroad and made us all the more proud of Eoin (and his OC and Munster roots). After that it was into the club shop and given the number of Wasps shirts purchased by the group, they have gained a few new supporters (only when they are not playing Munster mind!!!!) After all of that there was still more as those that wanted got plenty of opportunity to get autographs a plenty from former All Blacks (Craig Dowd,Carlos Spencer, Bruce Reihana) to current England stars (Lawrence Dallaglio, Phil Vickery, Joe Worsley, Josh Lewsey, Ben Cohen) future stars such as Daniel Cipriani and Dominic Waldouck, Dylan Hartley) and other stars including Tom Smith, Alex King, Christian Labit, Sean Lamont, Paul Grayson to name but a few………!!! Eventually it was time to happily drag our tired and excited bodies onto the bus for Heathrow and home!! Presents were bought for those left behind in Limerick and after a short delay we took and landed back in Shannon. A great trip that will live long in the memory of those who travelled.

Training for all age groups as usual on Sunday morning at 9.45am


Andrew McNamara PRO

Once again it’s wonderful to be able to began the notes on a positive note from underage. After their successful tour to France over the Easter period the U/16’s claimed yet another trophy last Sunday when they beat Young Munster in the last league game. It was a fantastic performance from a side that we have become so accustomed to winning and it more than made up for the disappointment of being knocked out of the cup last Thursday to Newcastle West in controversial circumstances. This team has been together for a long time and have won at least one trophy each season for the last 5 years. They have been coached extremely well over the years and the commitment given to them by their coaches is very evident in their demeanour both on and off the field. Their brand of rugby has always been a pleasure to watch and Sunday’s game was no different. In the 20 points to nil victory they crossed Young Munster’s line twice through Brian Downey and Cathal O’Neill. Ben Sergeant dropped a fine goal while Mike Madden coolly struck a conversion and penalty. There are many fine individual players on this team, but as with all Shannon sides the individuals are only as strong as the collective. There’s absolutely no doubt that the future of many of this side is very bright indeed. The unfortunate aspect for the U/16’side is that in the main, the team will be fragmented in the next couple of season’s with schools rugby taking a hold of many of the players. Fortunately however, the bond between the lads is such that when they do reunite fully they will once again be a formidable outfit, but that’s the future. For the moment they can bask in yet another wonderful season. Well done to everyone involved.

Elsewhere the U/12’s put in a sterling performance in the Brain Fitzgerald memorial blitz, but was knocked out at the semi final stage and even than it was after extra time. With the sides still level with 2 tries apiece at the end of extra time the fact that we didn’t score first meant that they lads were out. They played some excellent rugby along the way and should be proud of their performances.

This weekend the U/14’s are in cup action when they play Garryowen in Coonagh at 11.30.

On Saturday the U/20’s advanced to the next round of the North Munster Cup with a comprehensive win away to Nenagh. Although the scoreline may show an imbalance in or favour, it was by no means a great performance. The fact that the ads hadn’t played together for some time did was a big contributing factor in the below par display , but at this stage of the season , a win is a win and it’s on to the next round when we await the winners of Old Crescent and Garryowen. That game is scheduled to take place Monday evening in Coonagh at 6.30.

The big focus for this weekend is without doubt the senior’s last game in the league stages of the All Ireland league. Elsewhere on Saturday, various permeations may come into play, but the simple fact from our point of view is that we must win with a bonus to be absolutely guaranteed a playoff place. Garryowen are hot on our heals and they will be doing everything in their power to halt our progress. Dolphin, however will certainly present a very difficult challenge. They are not entirely safe from relegation and they too will be fighting tooth and nail to ensure their division one status remains in their own hands. Quite simply, this game in Coonagh is our defining moment of the season. A big help to the lads will be the vocal support of everyone. We would encourage anyone reading these notes, and beyond to come out to Coonagh on Saturday and bring friends, relations or whoever, just shout loud for Shannon, it will be appreciated. Kick off is at 2.30.

Another reminder that the Club draw has only a few more weeks to finish. All those with outstanding tickets please return them to Jack Keane as soon as possible.


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