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Club News Weekending February 18th 2007

13th February 2007 By Munster Rugby

Club News Weekending February 18th 2007

All the latest club news, views and reviews from around the province.

Ger Hodkinson PRO

Full AIB All Ireland League preview v Terenure College in AIB All Ireland League article The team to play England Counties in the AIB Club International will be named by the Ireland management team at a media conference at 12pm on Monday February 19th.

Ireland Squad for AIB Club International
Forwards (14):
Frank Cogan (Cork Constitution), Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne), Simon Crawford (Clontarf), Matthew Crockett (Dublin University), Conor Hartigan (Buccaneers), Les Hogan (Shannon), Alan Maher (Lansdowne), Peter Malone (Garryowen), Rory McGrath (Dolphin), Stephen Nolan (Terenure College), Dan O’Connell (Galwegians), Merle O’Connor (Cork Constitution), David Quinlan (Shannon), Simon Shawe (Ballymena)
Backs (14):
Anthony Barrett (Galwegians), Philip Brophy (St.Mary’s College), Mark Bruce (Buccanneers), John Cleary (Galwegians), Andrew Finn (Shannon), Kevin Hartigan (Garryowen), Cronan Healy (Cork Constitution), Barry Keeshan (Dolphin), Paul Magee (Dungannon), Richard McCarter (Dungannon), Niall O’Brien (Clontarf), Fiach O’Loughlin (Clontarf), Glen Telford (Dungannon), Andrew Thompson (Shannon).

The game which is scheduled for 7.05pm next Friday will be shown live on RTE

Heineken Munster Junior Cup

Round 1 Waterford City 6 Dolphin 22

Round 2 Dolphin 27 Kanturk 0
(D Kingston, S O’Halloran, C O’Brien, D Keeshan tries, J O’Mahony 2 con 1 pen)

Round 3 Dolphin v Richmond

Club Weekend Fixtures
Heineken Munster Junior Cup
Dolphin v Richmond, Musgrave Park Sunday 2.30pm (may be moved to Cois Laoi depending on weather)

J2 Conference League
Douglas v Dolphin Moneygourney 11.30am Sunday

U18 Friendly away to Bandon, cancelled. Training at 10.00am

U16, U14 and U12 training 10.00am

U9 and U11 Blitz with Highfield and Sundays Well (Home)

U8 and U10 Training as usual 10.00am

Andrew McNamara PRO

With a limited fixture list last weekend it was left to the thirds to provide the thrills and spills, and boy did they deliver. In yet another outstanding performance they qualified for their second final of the season when they brushed aside the challenge of Garryowen in the semi final of the McInerny cup last Saturday in thoroughly convincing fashion. They played a game built on the unity of all 15 players who were highly motivated and disciplined right to the final whistle and they were justly rewarded with a 16-3 victory. Garryowen have always been strong at thirds level and they didn’t make it easy for the lads and the task was made all the more difficult with the fairly strong wind in their faces but they knuckled down from the start and limited Garryowen’s scoring opportunities. As he has done throughout the season, Captain Tony Hall led by example and with the Flynn brothers, Kevin and Tony in devastating form it would have been a very good team that could beat us on the day. The opening score came after a powerful and effective driving maul from a lineout on Garryowen’s ’22. All eight forwards can claim the glory but ultimately it was Mark Adams that came up with the ball and with Tony Hall’s conversion the seven point lead was well deserved. A penalty was the home sides response but before the half time whistle sounded Tony added another penalty to give us a 10-3 lead at the break. With the pack dominating proceedings and the elements in our favour Garryowen were rattled. Sonny Ryan was outstanding on the fringe defence and very little passed him all day while fullback Pat Dundon gave a man of the match performance. We could have crossed the line on a couple of occasions in the second half, but credit to the light blues they held tough and our scores in the second half came from two further Tony Hall penalties. It was a magnificent result and the manner in which it was achieved was equally impressive. So far this has been a tremendous season for the thirds, but as the old cliché goes, there’s no silverware on the mantle piece yet. Hopefully that can be amended this Sunday when they face UL/Bohs in the final of the Gleeson league in Thomond Park. This bunch of players are worthy of as much support as the club can muster so lets give them what they deserve. Kick off is at 2.30.
At the same time, around 80 miles south the seconds will be kicking off their 3rd round tie in the Munster Junior Cup against Youghal. It is a massive hurdle for the lads, but after their display earlier against Thomond they certainly have the ability to turn over the home side. We wish them the best of luck in County Cork.
It’s certainly a big weekend all round with the seniors returning to AIB league action on Saturday. Dungannon are flying high this season and their 3rd placed spot in the table gives a clear indication of their ambitions. Remarkably the northern side have never beaten Shannon in 12 attempts in the AIB league, but there’s no doubt the lads will have to be at their best to keep the record intact. It’s also somewhat of a historic occasion as it’s most likely that this will be the last AIB league game in Thomond Park before the redevelopment commences. We are delighted that the club and the Munster branch a have come to a most amicable agreement in relation to the consequences of the redevelopment for Shannon and as it has been from the initial soundings, we stand wholeheartedly behind the venture. Since the early forties Shannon RFC has been a proud tenant of the famous ground and that pride will continue in abundance in the new and vastly improved Thomond Park. We will play our remaining home AIB league games in Coonagh. Back to the game on Saturday and it will be all hands on deck as we maintain out attempts at another Four in a row. Kick off is at 2.30 and as it will be our last members pre match for a while we expect a big demand for places so book as soon as possible with Ger McCloskey on 087 2745926.
Underage fixtures for the week sees the 9’s and 10’s head to Annacotty for a blitz while the U16’s and 18’s host league games against Scariff and Ennis respectively. The 16’s start at 11.15 and the 18’s at 12.30.
We remind our members and friends that the club development draw is on going. At this stage all our members and the parents of our underage players will have received some tickets and a letter as to the nature of the draw and we urge everyone to get involved in selling tickets. As part of the clubs future development plans this fundraiser is crucial so please support us.
Finally another reminder, this time to keep voting for Meave O’Donovan in RTE’s You’re A Star. Her talent is unquestionable, but she still needs the support of her fellow Shannon club members.

Pat Rickard

A quiet week on the playing fields this week due to the six nations action!

Our only adult team in competitive action were the 1st XV who continued their AIL programme with a trip to Barnhall on Saturday. It was at this location a few years ago when we made the same journey requiring a draw to get promotion to Division 1 and a Trevor Brennan inspired Barnhall side put paid to our hopes. We welcomed back Michael Brodie into the side after a long absence through injury, but his comeback was short-lived. This necessitated a reshuffle in our back line which disrupted our performance just enough to swing the balance of a close game in favour of the home side. The final score in the game was 16 points to 10 and the bonus point earned, only our third such point of the season was the least that we deserved for a good performance. The AIL continues on Saturday next with Highfield being the visitors to Rosbrien at 2.30pm.

Our 2nd and 3rd XVs played a friendly on Saturday morning and it was a useful workout for both sides. Both teams are in action this weekend on Sunday with the 2nds hosting Nenagh in the Munster Junior Plate on Sunday at 2.30pm while the 3rds travel to Scariff to play in the first round of the Webb Cup also at 2.30pm

In under age, the highlight of the weekend was the under 11s blitz on Sunday with UL Bohs and Ennis – with some excellent rugby being played by all sides. Stars on the day for Old Crescent were Sean Hensey, Philip Spillane, Cian Reale, Jason O’Sullivan and David Wixted. It augers well for their game against Wasps in London after Easter. In that regard a table quiz will take place on Thursday night at 8pm in the clubhouse to raise funds for the trip.

As usual training for all age groups takes place on Sunday mornings at 10am.

Would also like to congratulate Mark Ryan on being chosen as player of the season and also to thank Hanly Donnellan Auctioneers for sponsoring the trophy for the player of the season.

PRO Loosehead

Clon Count The Cost

Thomond 3 Clonakilty 21

Clonakilty continued their rich vein of form with a hard fought but well deserved victory in Limerick on Saturday. They overcame a hard and disciplined Thomond in Fitzgerald Park and thus became the first club to do so this season. However such was the intensity of the exchanges that Mike O’Hea and Declan Coppinger had to retire and David Cookson and Tadhg Wright also shipped injuries and only time will tell if they too are to join the ever lengthening list of unavailable players. At the time of writing it looks as if Coach Terry Dillon will have to select from a squad that will be minus about 15 players from that which started the season. That said they seem to thrive on adversity with the gaps being closed and the team continuing to perform well. This Saturday Young Munster, again in Limerick, will provide a stern test of the squad strength.

Thomond kicked off and applied tremendous pressure to the Clon defence with early shows from speedy backs. Although there were breaches the secondary defence was up to the task and the line was kept intact. The Limerickmen were getting the better of the exchanges particularly in the forwards but Clon always looked dangerous on the counter. A good break from Derek Dillon was taken on by John O’Donnell who chipped ahead. Clon reclaimed the ball and Eoin Scannell’s break looked promising but came to nothing when he failed to find the supporting players. Again Mike Keohane and Declan Coppinger made breaks combining well but the final pass to Eddie Knowles came off he prop’s shoulder blade with the line at his mercy. A period of good play from the visitors in which they robbed a Thomond throw in the Clon half lifted the pressure. Knowles, with a typical drive and David Cookson took the ball deep into the Thomond territory and John O’Donnell went in at the corner only to be called back for a forward pass.

Batt Duggan took a ten minute break for tackling a player without the ball and in his absence Thomond launched a sustained and focused series of attacks that lasted all of the ten and beyond. All were repelled and probably Thomond lost the match at this stage. A decision not to kick a penalty that the pressure had given them in hindsight was a poor one. The Clon defence had been severely tried and found to be impenetrable with Shay O’Donovan, Keohane, Paul Dillon and Scannell featuring prominently, yet Thomond kicked for the corner and the line out but were repulsed once again. The clearance kick to touch and the sight of the banished player returning was significant to both sides. Thomond should surely have reached half time ahead. Instead it was Clon that took the lead clearly against the run of play when David Lombard landed a penalty in the absence of the two recognised kickers, Gary Cribb and Alfie Harte. It was cruel for the Limerickmen but underlined the mental strength of this West Cork side.

The loss of Declan Coppinger and Mike O’Hea did nothing at the time however to boost the confidence of the large travelling support but Tadhg Wright and Ray Coppinger slotted in seamlessly and brought their own unique contributions to the table. Ray Coppinger had answered the distress call during the week as he had done in two previous seasons when injuries threatened to derail the Clon express. He now has featured in every AIL campaign for Clonakilty.

Clon started the second half vigorously with excellent back play from Cookson and outstanding drives from Knowles and great support from Duggan winning two penalties for the visitors. One of which Lombard landed to put Clon out to 0-6 after five minutes of the second half. A fantastic break from Paul Dillon took play from deep within his own half into Thomond territory where they were awarded a scrum. Keohane picked and fed Colin Murphy, Derek Dillon took it into contact and with great support from the pack Murphy again got quick possession away to Paul Dillon and from the subsequent phase Clon were awarded a penalty for hands in the ruck. Lombard’s kick put another three points on the visitors’ score.

Thomond responded with a penalty after 14 minutes and the game see-sawed for a period afterwards. Memorable cameos from Lombard with a defence splitting run, aggressive defence from Murphy catching his man in possession and driving him backwards with his no 8 for good measure to win a scrum and a superb 22 to 22 clearance from Derek Dillon when Clon were under pressure led to Clon’s coup de grace when great handling skills in a tight situation from forwards Scannell, Dan Spencer and Knowles resulted in Keohane going over for a truly wonderful try. Lombard with a magnificent touchline conversion put Clon out to 16 – 3. Knowles capped a fine performance with a push over try after great work from Duggan.

It was a tough encounter as one would expect from Thomond in Limerick and while the man of the match award went to Clonakilty the sportsman’s award had there been one would surely have gone to Thomond’s flying winger Brendan Grant. He took bone jarring tackles and indeed meted some out but every time sought the hand of his opponent afterwards. It was encouraging to see in this age of professionalism that some of the great tenets on which the game was built are alive and well in such strongholds.

The Squad was; David Cookson, John O’Donnell, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Shay O’Donovan, Derek Dillon, Colin Murphy, Eddie Knowles, Batt Duggan, Dan Spencer, Dan Whelton, Mike O’Hea, Eoin Scannell (Capt), Declan Coppinger, Mike Keohane, Joe Knowles, Ray Coppinger, Tadhg Wright, Terry Dillon and Felim O’Neill.

By the time The Southern Star hits the streets this week Clon will know which giant they will need to kill to advance to an historic AIB All Ireland Cup semi-final. A home draw against any of the other three clubs would be a fantastic result in itself. Belfast Harlequins, Garryowen and Shannon may not relish the prospect quite as much!

The under 20s had a very creditable six all draw away to Midleton also on Saturday and with points level in the league table will have to await the deliberations of the authorities. The South Munster Under 17s went down by 15 – 10 to their North Munster counterparts in an absorbing game in Thomond Park last Saturday. Four Clonakilty underage players were part of the team and although clearly disappointed South Munster coach, Clon man Kevin O’Regan had this to say about their performances. "Both Liam Cahill and Gearoid Calnan had fine games, Danny McCarthy scored a superb try while the Captain Liam Swanton led the pack and the team from the front. More will be heard of these players in the future".

This weekend’s fixtures:
Sat 17- Senior- AIL-Young Munster- Limerick-2.30pm
Sun 18- Extra Firsts- Munster Junior Plate- Old Christians- The Vale- 2.30pm
Sun 18- Bulldogs- League- Fermoy- Fermoy- 2.30pm
Sun 18- All Ireland Cup- UL Bohemian- Limerick- 2.30pm

Loose Head

Christopher Barry PRO

A week’s recess from the Six Nations sees the action focus on the AIL front this Saturday and the Munster Junior Cup on Sunday. There should be a large attendance in Dooradoyle on Saturday when high-riding UL Bohs put their title credentials to the test at 2.30. Following our dramatic win over St. Mary’s in the AIB Cup our boys have rediscovered their form and will be anxious to press hard for the play-offs. It promises to be an intriguing match as the AIL gets to the business end of the season. Last year we had a convincing win in Thomond Park but the Annacotty side have been on a roll recently so it’s all to play for. There are still a few remaining places for the pre-match luncheon which commences at 12.30. Please text John Noonan at 087-9308318 or Geraldine Morrissey at 087-2466815 to reserve a seat.

On Sunday our 2nd XV travel to play Clanwilliam in the Munster Junior Cup. The game may bear no resemblance to our recent friendly (won 22-14) at the Tipperary venue and this competition is notorious for throwing up the unexpected. Still, David Hayes is well aware of the requirements for successful cup football and in what should be a close-encounter his team may have that extra bit of class to edge home. The team had a good workout against Naas 1ST XV in the Billy Reid Memorial Cup last Saturday. The Leinster side proved too strong in the finish although we led 15-14 going into the last quarter. Eoghan Nihill and Pat Humphries were the try scorers and Alan McNamara again added a penalty and conversion.

Our 3rdXV will want to put last Saturday’s 16-3 McInerney Cup semi-final defeat to Shannon behind them very quickly. It was a bad day at the office and we never seriously threatened a strong Shannon XV who won in a canter.

The U20’s finished up their AIL campaign for the season when losing 22-14 to UL Bohs in Annacotty. It was a tremendously exciting game with the home team getting a flier of a start to race into a 10-0 lead, courtesy of a Myles Riordan penalty and David Moloney try. Our boys battled back bravely and with our pack seizing the initiative, the Robins defence was asked some serious questions. The pressure eventually paid off when Barry McNamara touched down and James Carroll added the conversion. Some poor tackling preceded the concession of a further try to Ed Torrie to leave the score 7-15 at the interval. The game looked beyond us when Kevin Bracken touched down to put the home team closer to bonus point territory. 7-22 and playing towards the incline would normally spell curtain-time for most teams. However it was then that the quality of the team surfaced and our pack dictated matters for the remainder of the game. We missed quite a few chances before Darragh O’Brien made the goal-line and James Carroll’s conversion narrowed the gap to 8 points. John Paul Hartigan was almost clean through from an interception on half way but the ball slipped agonisingly from his grip. Turnovers at key moments relieved the pressure for ULB on more than one occasion but in fairness their teamwork and composure were the deciding factors in the end. With the NML final still down for decision, Gary Quilligan will be keeping our boys focused despite the obvious disappointment of not making the play off stages for the fourth consecutive year.

The under 14s had a heart-stopping 19-17 win over a very strong UL Bohemians team to finish top of their group in the NML. The winning score came in the last play of the game. It was a rather fortuitous win insofar as they had to absorb enormous pressure from the opposition who virtually camped themselves in our 22 for most of the game. The ULB scrum half was unfortunate to be the scorer of a hat trick of tries and still come away on the losing team. However despite a limited supply of ball, our superior backline took their chances with well-executed tries by Andrew Fullen and Ben Drew (2). Rory Collins added two conversions. The last 5 minutes of the game were very exciting with both sides scoring 2 tries a piece. Ben Drew scored 2 spectacular tries, running the length of the pitch for his first. The effective difference between the team was a great touchline conversion by out half Collins. Best for the light blues were Darragh O Brien, Sam O Rourke, David Canny, Dom Furnell up front, and Sean Noonan, Paul O Sullivan, John Mc Donnell and Ben Drew in the backs .They now proceed to the semi finals against the runners up in Section A, which has yet to be decided. Our U16’s also got back on the winning trail when they beat a gallant Bruff side 17-7 in the NML at Dooradoyle.

Denis Ryan PRO

For the 1st XV it was a rest weekend, with thoughts turning to the run in of the AIL when we face the might of Garryowen and Shannon in our next two games. On Saturday we travel to Dooradoyle to meet the Munster Senior Cup winners who will provide us with a good test of our present rugby state of health. All support is needed for this vital encounter.

Garryowen provided the opposition in the U-20 League game in Annacotty on Saturday where, in front of a large crowd, UL Bohs just got home by 22-14. This was an exciting game which might have gone either way, but UL Bohs probably deserved the victory because of the better teamwork. Tom O’Donnell, who had played a major part in the previous evening’s Ireland U-20 win over the French U-21s watched from the touchline, but his loss was offset by the excellent all round performance of the pack. Myles Riordan opened the scoring with a penalty, and then David Moloney crossed for a converted try. The visitors struck back and a powerful forward maul saw Garryowen touch down for a converted try. Another fine break from the outstanding Paul Rowley was rounded off by Ed Torrie to leave UL Bohs leading by 15-7 at the break. Another try by UL Bohs, credited to Kevin Bracken brought the score to 22-7 before Garryowen hit back again with another converted try. In a hectic finish the UL Bohs defence, in which Ross Butler was outstanding, just managed to keep Garryowen at bay and now await their opponents in the playoffs.

As part of a very attractive doubleheader in Annacotty, UL Bohs 3rd XV played St Mary’s in the Webb Cup. The home side got off to a great start when first Damian Knight, and then Tommy Ryan crossed for tries, with Mike Ryan adding a penalty to give UL Bohs a 13-0 lead at the break. An Alan Ryan try was followed by an increased effort from St Mary’s who crossed for 3 rapid tries before Damian Knight touched down for his second to make the game safe at 29-19. As well as the scorers, UL Bohs were well served by Stephen O’Dowd, Brendan Gill and Andy Keogh.

On Sunday the UL Bohs Women’s team plays Clonakilty in the All Ireland Cup. The game will be in Annacotty with a 2pm kick off. Our sympathies go to the Ireland women’s side who were just pipped in the final minutes within sight of bringing off a famous victory against France. Beaten 13-10 thanks to a late try from the visitors; the Irish tries were touched down by UL Bohs players Jeanette Feighery and Fiona Coghlan, while the other UL Bohs players involved were Captain Sarah Jane Belton, Caroline Mahon, Mairead Kelly and Louise Beamish. Nicole Fitzgerald was called into the squad, but did not feature on the pitch, however we are sure it will not be long before this fine young player gets her chance. The next women’s international will be against England in Thomond Park on Feb 25th.

In a finish which was to be replicated later by the Irish team in Croke Park, the U14 Eagles had victory denied to them in Dooradoyle by an injury time Garryowen try when going down by 19-17. This game, the final one in the section, saw the Eagles and Garryowen, both of whom were unbeaten, playing for a home semi final in the playoffs. It was a terrific game which lived up to all expectations with Garryowen scoring three tries, two of which were converted, and the Eagles also scoring three tries, converting one. All of the Eagle tries were scored by Man of the Match, scrum half Conor McLoughlin who had his best outing yet in the red jersey. The team overall showed great character and discipline throughout the match, twice coming from behind to a very fine and sporting Garryowen team. The forwards, in particular, were outstanding with Kevin Walsh, Captain Conor Clancy and Colm Doyle particularly prominent. The likely outcome when the other half of the league is completed is that the Eagles will play Shannon in the semi final and already a sense of expectation and excitement is building. Hosts Garryowen were, as always, very welcoming and our thanks go to Tom Collins and his fellow coaches for their hospitality and for the generous words after the game. Referee Diarmuid O’Briain unfortunately had to retire injured early in the game and we wish him well in his recovery and also every good wish to all of our U14 players who are playing Junior Cup this week.


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