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Club News Weekending February 25th 2007

19th February 2007 By Munster Rugby

All the latest club news, views and reviews

GARRYOWEN FC
Christopher Barry PRO

Our senior team got back into contention in the AIL race following an 18-5 win over UL Bohs before a large attendance in Dooradoyle last Saturday. In the opening half it was the visitors who looked the more purposeful side and indeed they may have had more than 5 points on the board as time ran down to the break. The game turned on it’s head when Ciaran O’Boyle seize on a loose ball after our pressure defence forced the error and the left wing cruised to the try line. This seemed to swing the pendulum in our favour and with Donal Sheehan and Mark Melbourne lording it in the lineout on the resumption, the points always looked likely to stay in Dooradoyle. Eoghan Hickey kicked a penalty and put in some prodigious kicking which kept us on the front-foot for the remainder of the game. The inevitable second try came after good approach work by the pack and Damien Varley again showed his tremendous strength when crashing over after a series of drives. The conversion by Hickey and a further penalty set the ‘Robins a formidable 13 point target which they manfully tried to reduce as the time slipped away. When they did get in striking distance of our line, our back-row was up to the task, most notably Anthony Kavanagh. Peter Malone and capt Paul Neville completed an inpenetrable unit that saw us safely to shore when the danger threatened. Alan Kingsley proved himself an able deputy at scrum half and Conor Kilroy brought off some crunching tackles, in particular a try saving effort early in the first half. Overall the team seems to have regained their early season confidence and can look forward to our next fixture away to Dolphin on 3rd March. Gerry Hurley continues his recovery from a leg injury and no doubt will be pressing hard to make the squad for that game.

The 2ndXV reached the last eight of the Munster Junior Cup when they overcame a stubborn Clanwilliam resistance to run out 28-3 winners in Tipperary last Sunday. Coach Damien Fahey may have had some anxious moments in the first half but a bout of pressure before the interval yielded a drop goal and a penalty from Willie Staunton. Second half tries from Jamie Carroll, Cillian O’Boyle and Eoghan Nihill gave a slightly flattering look to the scoreboard but the team played extremely well throughout. Neville Melbourne and Ronan Cross belied their tender years with some fantastic covering and support play. Declan Lavery, Pat Humphreys and Barry McNamara were rock solid in the front row, while Dave Keane (especially out of touch) and Eoin Kelly did trojan work in the engine room. Alan McNamara provided quality ball for our runners with Dave Heaton and John Barry catching the eye on more than one occasion. It should be a great quarter final when Cork Con visit Dooradoyle on Sunday 4th March.

A much improved performance paved the way for a 24-8 win for our 3rdXV in the Webb Cup away to Ennis last Saturday. Both sides were evenly matched in the opening period after which we led 10 – 8, courtesy of a touch down from John Mark Griffin following a 20 metre maul and conversion and penalty from Fergus Sheahan. We upped the ante in the second half to take control of the match. Griffin scored again after some excellent build up play and Charley Colling pounced for the third when Ennis lost control at the scrum. Fergus Sheahan added the points to both tries. Some of our Under 20 players did well, especially the aforementioned Colling and James Carroll. It was also good to see Dave Madden and Peter O’Shea back playing again. On Sunday we play Presentation in the next round in Dooradoyle at 3.00.

The Final of the North Munster U20 League will take place on this Friday (23rd) in Thomond Park at 7.00/7.30 (time to be confirmed). It is fitting that Shannon and Garryowen contest what will be the last final at this level at this famous ground. Our condolences to Liam Rowley and family following the tragic premature death of his sister. Best wishes to former great Brian Cobbe who was in Dooradoyle on crutches last Saturday. Knowing "Cobber", he will be quickly up and about before too long.

OLD CRESCENT RFC
Pat Rickard

A very successful week on the playing fields!

The 1st XV hosted Highfield in a crucial AIL game on Saturday last. Defeat for the team would have dragged us into the relegation quagmire and make our 3 remaining games cup finals. Unfortunately the first half did not go well for our side. Despite having a lot of possession we were unable to put points on the board and went into the interval losing by 5 points thanks to an unconverted try for Highfield.
After the interval it seems like a different Old Crescent side were on the field. Everyone played with a confidence that had not been seen previously this season and we scored 38 unanswered points and securing our first try bonus point of the season. Our scorers were Brian Begley with a try and 3 conversions, Lorcan Bourke, Mark Ryan, Trevor Bowles, Phil Glamazina and Emmet Dalton with tries and another conversion from Alan Purcell. One can only speculate what our league position would be if we had achieved this level of performance on a more consistent basis during the season. The 1st XV have this weekend off due to the 6 nations game on Saturday.

The 2nd XV hosted Nenagh Ormond on Sunday in the Munster Junior Plate and given that Nenagh had beaten us in the League earlier in the season and the display of the side in the recent Munster Junior Cup game, the confidence was not high that we could achieve a victory. But again the sceptics were proved wrong and the team put in a very exciting display of rugby and won handsomely by 30 points to 13. This weekend it is the North Munster 2nds Cup and a visit from Young Munster on Sunday at 2.30pm

The 3rd XV travelled to Scarrif on Sunday to play in the first round of the Webb Cup. Thanks to the excellent preparation of the side by Dermot Davis and Joe Nix, we ran out winners in a game played in very difficult under foot conditions. Tries from Leo Dillon and Ian Wallace and a penalty goal from Paul Mc Donagh were our scorers in a 13 points to nil victory. This weekend they are also in action against Young Munster in the 2nd round of the Webb Cup in Derryknockane at 2.30pm.

There was no under age action last weekend and the pick of this weekends games is the under 14s clash with Ul Bohs in Annacotty on Sunday morning. There is training for all other age groups in Rosbrien on Sunday at 10am.

Finally this week, thanks to all how supported the under age table quiz last week. It was a most enjoyable event and we look forward to March 25th when the Heineken Cup is revisiting Old Crescent to be the guest of honour at the under age coffee morning.

Clon Reclaim Third Place

The visit of runaway leaders Old Belvedere to The Vale next Saturday, the 3rd March is now eagerly awaited.

Young Munster 10 Clonakilty 10

Clon moved into third place, the second time this season that they have occupied this lofty perch, by dint of a battling performance in the "killing fields" of Young Munster in Limerick last Saturday. They may well be disappointed that they did not leave with another two points but in truth a draw was a fair result. Both sides will rue missed chances but both should recognise also that they could just as easily have lost and have had nothing to show for their efforts at all. Clon in particular should be happy and indeed proud that they could travel under strength to Limerick on successive weekends and return undefeated with six points in the bag. With so many players out through injury and so many others carrying knocks into the game it was always going to be a game too soon for the beleaguered squad. However the word heroic is not overplayed in the context of this game as the team with wonderful commitment fought back from a ten-point deficit to gain a highly creditable draw.

Clon started well and should have had something to show for a period of early pressure but the concession of penalties let Munsters off the hook. A typical Paul Dillon crash tackle and a great 40 metre break from David Lombard gave Clon an opportunity to open the scoring when a deliberate foul a t the breakdown by winger David Corcoran stopped Clon’s momentum. He got ten minutes in the bin for his sin but unfortunately the kick was narrowly wide. Clon continued to show and another penalty gave them an attacking lineout. Unfortunately it was the first of a number of lines out to go wrong for Clon and the opportunity was lost. "Munsters" opened the scoring with a penalty from Mark Connolly after 15 minutes. They went further ahead five minutes later ironically from a series of phases that had Clon in the ascendancy. Declan Coppinger and Edmund Knowles had aggressively defended a Munsters roll and with the help of a rampant pack had driven over to claim the possession only to lose it again and see a sweeping move to the other end result in a try to Alan Cotter in the corner. The magnificent touchline conversion put Munsters out to 10-0 as the first quarter came to an end. Not a huge lead but in Greenfields’ Tom Clifford Park it would normally be enough to see the home side through with the points. So a mountain to climb. Clon’s Sherpas set about it with belief.

Derek Dillon put a long angled penalty kick deep into the Munster’s half. From the line out Tadhg Wright found Colin Murphy. The Dillon boys, Derek and Paul took it on until Paul’s progress was halted illegally and David Lombard drove in the first stanchion with a penalty. Clon reached base camp ten minutes later when another charge from Duggan made great ground. Edmund Knowles took it on and with the pack steaming in to everything Clon were awarded a penalty for the slowing down of the ball by the Munster’s desperate defence ten metres from their line. Derek Dillon took a quick tap and fed Coppinger who took two players out before linking with the pack and driving over the line with Tadhg Wright getting the touchdown. Lombard landed the vital extra points with a difficult touchline conversion and the sides were level. Clon finished strongly with another bullocking run from Lombard knocking tacklers to left and right on his way and Eoin Scannell also doing damage before the home side were relieved by the sound of the half time whistle.

Clon started the second half as they had finished the first with Danny Whelton prominent and with Derek Dillon pinning the Limerick men down it was sixteen minutes before Munsters got into the Clon half. Clon’s penchant for conceding penalties could have cost them dearly as Connolly missed two kickable efforts. Clon also spurned an opportunity to go for goal when they took the lineout option instead. Their set piece scrum was in trouble throughout the game and it was an area that Munsters targeted to good effect. However this dominance may have been their downfall as they continued to look to their pack for a breakthrough leaving an impressive pacy backline out of the game for long periods. Clon’s defence of the driving and rolling mauls was perfection. They frustrated and ultimately broke the spirit of the big Limerick eight with their resistance in the loose exchanges. There were heart-stopping moments when adventurous play from Clon could have been their undoing. A long pass to Derek Dillon looked set to be intercepted but the full back took the ball and the hit and with Whelton’s help restored shape. The West Cork backline also looked dangerous when they fought their way out of their own 22 and a break and chip ahead from John O’Donnell had the huge travelling support on their feet. Their were other moments like the tackle of prop, Dan Spencer, on the flying winger Darren Claasens, the timely block down by Lombard of Mick Lynch’s goal bound drop kick. The introduction of Joe Knowles had a steadying effect on the scrummage but also resulted in Munsters putting the ball wide and Clon had to endure an intensive last ten minutes to ensure they left with a share of the spoils.

While Batt Duggan and David Lombard with authorative and dynamic performances could not be separated in the vote for Man of the Match, it was Mike Keohane who may have deserved it more than anyone. It was not widely known but Keohane had been ruled out with a throat infection, which had laid him low on Friday. Alfie Harte, Mike O’Hea, Gearoid Ryan, Shane Walsh and Gary Cribb were definitely out also and with Declan Coppinger, Tadhg Wright and John O’Regan all carrying injuries into the game and subject to late fitness tests Keohane was aware of the problems faced by coach Terry Dillon and the club particularly in the back five of the scrum. He rose like Lazarus from his sick bed and arrived to the surprise of all in Limerick driven by his mother and played a major role in controlling the messy possession received on the retreat in the set piece before returning home drained to recuperate. Sure how could we lose after that?

The squad was: David Cookson, John O’Donnell, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Shay O’Donovan, Derek Dillon, Colin Murphy, Edmund Knowles, Batt Duggan, Dan Spencer, Dan Whelton, Eoin Scannell (Capt.), Declan Coppinger, Tadhg Wright, Mike Keohane, Joe Knowles, Hugh O’Neill, Ray Coppinger, John O’Regan, Terry Dillon and Felim O’Neill. Management, Barry McAdams, Jerry "Sawdust" O’Sullivan and David Williams.


Clonakilty 13 Old Christians 17

The Extra-Firsts were unlucky to go out in the Plate to a strong Old Christians team last Sunday. They have had a very difficult season with injuries to so many in the senior squad depriving them of a settled side from day one. Christians would be favourites to win the competition out but they were made to fight all the way by a side that could consider themselves unlucky not to have won it. A Joe Knowles try and two penalties and a conversion from Joe Lee was not enough on this occasion. Cathal O’Regan was outstanding in the pack particularly in the first half and Conrad Lehane caught the eye in the backs.

The squad was: Sean Beamish, John Kingston, JD O’Mahony, Conrad Lehane, Felim O’Neill, Joe Lee, Anthony Neville, Peter Stoutt, Hugh O’Neill, Joe Knowles, Tom Nyhan, Sean Duignan, Adrian Fleming, Michael Peter O’Regan, Cathal O’Regan, Mike Griffin, Colm Twomey and Danny Collins. Management, Emmet O’Donovan, Dave Sheehan and Mel Long.

Fermoy 19 Clonakilty 23

The Bulldogs, enjoying a great season, gave themselves every chance of winning the league with a fine victory over Fermoy in the north Cork venue. Clonakilty’s early play suggested that they held the upper hand out wide as Matt Kirby started a flowing back-line move in which Welsh centre Jason Applin featured prominently leading to flying full-back Steven O’Regan touching down in the corner. Fermoy staged an almost immediate response and following an easy penalty they were handed a soft score as a result of uncharacteristically poor Clon defence. This deficit was soon eliminated with some quick thinking by talented scrum-half Eric Murphy. Clon were regaining their supremacy with some sharp, fluid back-line movements and Fermoy infringed to prevent an inevitable try. Murphy exploited the disorganised Fermoy defence by taking a quick tap and stretched out to ground the ball on the line for a well-deserved try given the earlier play.

The balance of play continued to swing erratically as Clon failed to maintain this dominance and their indiscretions in and around the breakdown handed Fermoy another penalty in front of the uprights to put them back in front at 13-10. Clon responded with a well-taken try, started and finished by the Kirby brothers. First, out-half Matt found an excellent touch on the 22 from a Clon penalty, then younger sibling Cathal found Kenneth O’Regan in the line-out. The resulting maul rumbled in from the 22 for an impressive score with Cathal Kirby getting the touchdown for a crucial score. Clon’s thoughts wandered towards the approaching half-time and their lack of concentration ceded yet another needless penalty to give Fermoy a 16-15 half-time lead, despite the try count favouring Clon 3-1.

The second half was a much tighter affair as Clon tenaciously chased the game by tightening up their defence and showing a greater intensity in their attacking plays. To this end, they were thankful for the lines-out showings from both jumpers Kenneth O’Regan and Brian Blackwell who contested well on the opposition ball and successfully secured their own possession. Clon were under pressure at scrum time and when marauding prop Eoin Murphy was struck down with a shoulder injury it looked ominous. His replacement, veteran Vince Tubbs, anchored the Clon scrum and they withstood the mounting pressure. Roving full-back Steve O’Regan scored the critical try. It has been an impressive season for this player since his reintroduction to the rugby fraternity. Fermoy had no answer to Clon’s superior interplay and skills in the back-line on this occasion and O’Regan touched down to secure an all-important bonus point. Kirby landed a penalty to ensure that Clon entered the closing stages with a seven point lead.

Despite some nervous final few minutes as Clon defended their line heroically with Bartle Murphy and Alan Harte leading the charge, Fermoy were restricted to one final penalty despite sustained pressure on the Clon line. The final whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes from the elated Clon players who now face into their final league game at home to Ballincollig with the realisation that victory will assure them a much-coveted league title.

The squad was: Steven O’Regan, Gearoid O’Rourke, Jason Applin, Tim Boohig, Mike Buckley, Matt Kirby, Eric Murphy, Eoin Murphy, Cathal Kirby, Mike Murphy, Bartle Murphy, Eamonn Walsh, Kenneth O’Regan, Alan Harte, Brian Blackwell, Vince Tubbs, Colin Barrett, Alex O’Mahony and Phil Hayes. Management, Kevin Dillon and Jerry "Sawdust" O’Sullivan.

This Weekend’s Fixtures

Due to the Ireland V England game in Croke Park this Saturday at 5.30pm there is only one fixture this weekend. The under 14s will play host to Cork Constitution in The Vale on Saturday. Kick Off is at 11.00am.

Loose Head

SUNDAY’S WELL RFC
Eolan Allen

It was a big weekend in the history of Sunday’s Well, with two major games taken place. Undoubtedly and somewhat unfortunately, the Seniors clash in City of Derry was one of the biggest games the club has ever faced, with the threat of relegation to the Junior grades a problem for both clubs. Going into the match, the sides were locked on nine points each in the table, second from bottom. The ‘Well showed all their grit, character and determination to emerge on top and deny their opponents a bonus point. While there is still work to be done, this victory could be a huge step to ensuring their status as a Senior club. The team will be looking to go on and finish strongly for the season.
With an excellent youth system in place, the future looks bright if the club retains it’s status. One of its star players in Derry was Shane O’Sullivan, who came all the way up from Under 8s when the Youth section was reformed.
While the Seniors were battling away in Derry, at the other end of the country the Under 18s earned a place in the Munster League Final, with a hard-fought success over Bruff and they now go on to face Waterpark in the decider.

City of Derry 10, Sunday’s Well 21.

A game whose importance could hardly be understated, with the ‘Well players showing immense character to keep in touch when not at their best before their superior fitness told to see them pull ahead. Having been unfortunate not to win in their previous game, Ken O’ Connell will be hopeful his side can build on his result and gain a couple more wins in their final three games.

With the threat of relegation looming over this game, the ‘Well preparation were seriously hampered and this affected their early performance as the Derry side came storming out of the blocks. Having chosen to fly up, heavy fog in Cork delayed the flight by two hours and the match had to be put back by quarter of an hour.

A mixture of a rousing start by the home-side and a sloppy start by the ‘Well who were far from their best, allowed Derry to race into an early ten point lead. It could have been more, as the hosts pack were winning the battle up front while the backs were cutting holes through the defence.

With everything seeming to go against them, the ‘Well had to dig deep to just stay in touch. While they did make a couple of errors in possession, they showed great heart and spirit as they stuck to their tasks. Up front, Derek O’Riordan and Brian O’Neill were making big hits, while Denis McCarthy and Dave Power made some vital tackles.

Shane O’Sullivan was the star player for the opening half, as he chased everything that was kicked ahead and put immense pressure on the Derry cover. His never say die attitude was to be rewarded as it helped earn his side good field position. The ‘Well then produced one of their best moves, with Ian Carroll starting to dominate the line-out. The ball was spread out where James Kingston and Dave Power cut open a gap and while the move was thwarted, a penalty was earned. Denis McCarthy struck it over to cut the gap to seven points.

This score settled the ‘Well and while not necessarily yet hitting their stride, they managed to halt any Derry progress. Right at the end of the half another great O’Sullivan chase forced a five metre scrum from his side. This was a pivotal moment in the game, as a score would put a major dent in Derry’s lead and give the ‘Well a major confidence boost going into the second half.

Mick Murphy powered forward off the base but was halted short and the ball was given out to the centres where Andy O’Brien and James Kingston tried to cut through but the Derry defence was deemed to be off-side. Derek O’Riordan, sniffing an opportunity, took a quick tap five metres from the line and drove low to force his way over the line for a vital try. This score cut Derry’s advantage down to two and when Denis McCarthy superbly put over the conversion, the ‘Well found themselves back level through sheer effort with no one in doubt that Derry were the better side for the opening half.

In many previous games, the ‘Well have been on top and came out second best and with plenty to improve on in the second half, the players were confident that they could take control of the game.

SECOND HALF CONTROL
The restart saw a major improvement in the ‘Well’s performance, as they found a renewed confidence. The pack started to bully the game up front and when they started to produce a number of excellent driving mauls, one sensed that the tide was definitely turning in their favour. With their scrum having been in trouble earlier, the front-two of Sisk, Fintan and Francis Moynihan gave everything to get back on level terms before starting to gain the upper hand. Later the introduction of Michael Powell would see the ‘Well totally destroying their opponents scrum when the game was still in the balance.

Like the scrum, the line-out was also working for the visitors and with this platform now being set and the pack also on top in open play, the ‘Well were applying serious pressure on the opposition.
Another great chase by Shane O’Sullivan early in the second half should have seen him get through for a try, but he was illegally dragged back by the Derry Number Eight, who was sin-binned for this piece of foul play. Denis McCarthy lined up the kick and for the first time the ‘Well found themselves in front.

Having taken the lead, the ‘Well weren’t going to rest on their laurels and they continued to press. The forwards made great ground around the fringes while Barry Wright, Fintan Whelan and James Kingston were punching through holes around the centre. The lead was doubled as the inspirational McCarthy put over an excellent drop goal and this wasn’t to be the end of the Skibbereen’s man scoring feats as a great passing move saw him squeeze over in the corner, with his conversion just drifting wide of the post.

With ten minutes left, the ‘Well were truly on top with 21-10 advantage but they didn’t relinquish, continuing to put in the big hits right until the final whistle which bought roars of joy amongst the large contingent of Cork supporters in the crowd.

CHARACTER REWARDED
When push came to shove, and everything seemed to be going against them, this ‘Well showed character. They battled, they fought hard and put in some desperate tackles to keep things at bay. They never lost their heads and got back on level terms having been second best, before regrouping at half-time and controlling affairs after the restart. While this was a huge victory, everyone knows that there is still work to be done, but they can go into their next matches with renewed confidence and the basis of the last couple of performances, they should have nothing to fear.

City of Derry: I Orr; R Allen, S Sims, D Brown, N Beddow; L Jones, A Iosa; D Witherow, Steven Duffy, Sam Duffy; B Prue, D Houston; S Corr (c), M Walker, S Ferguson. Replacements: G Boyle, K Donaghy, R Campbell, G Tucker, C Cooper.
Sunday’s Well: D McCarthy; S O’Sullivan, J Kingston, A O’Brien, D Power; M Purcell, P Cotter; P Sisk (c), F Whelan, F Moynihan; B O’Neill, I Carroll; B Wright, D O’Riordan, M Murphy. Replacements: E Murphy, M Powell, K Mitchell, Jn. Moynihan, K Lucey.
Referee: K Beggs (A.R.L.B.)

Sunday’s Well 8, Bruff 3.

The Under 18s great run this season continues, as they set up a Munster Final showdown with Waterpark, following a hard fought victory against a strong Bruff side at Cois Laoi. Both these sides proved that they were worthy regional champions, showing great commitment, endeavor and plenty of skill to. They were evenly matched but in the end, the ‘Well’s excellent defensive work combined with a great display from the forwards saw them just hold out for victory. The Cork side got off to a good start as they applied immense pressure up front. Stephen Landers and Gavin Duffy were doing immense work in the tight while Colm Quinlan and Dan Horgan were hammering away around the fringes. John Quill put in another inspirational display, with plenty of hard hits, making excellent ground with the ball as well as putting in numerous vital tackles. The early pressure paid off as the ‘Well managed to force a penalty and Paddy Sullivan struck a great effort from half-way which feel just short. The ‘Well continued to press and got into an ideal attacking situation with a five metre line-out. The pack controlled the drive and it was the hard working Chris O’Donovan who touched the ball down at the bottom of the maul. Sullivan was unfortunate again with the touch-line conversion.

Despite having had the better of the opening stages, the ‘Well knew that they couldn’t have it all their own way and they dug deep as Bruff struck back strongly towards the end of the first half. The lead was reduced courtesy of a Paudie O’Brien penalty to leave the half-time score at 5-3 in favor of the ‘Well.

The home side replied strongly after the interval, but found it difficult to break down a strong well organized defence. In the end they had to settle for a penalty that Sullivan allotted over to increase the gap to five points. Having taken the early initiative, the ‘Well had to show immense courage and composure in the latter stages, with the Limerick side throwing everything they had at them in search of the wining score. The ‘Well put in numerous brave tackles, with Seamus Gee making many excellent cover tackles.

As the clock wore down, it seemed more likely that the Cork team would hold out and so they did to earn a deserved place in the Munster Final. Waterpark wait in the Final and this ‘Well team will be hoping that they can claim further glory.

Sunday’s Well: Seamus Gee; Ian Manning, Brian O’Donovan, Fintan Malone, Conor Nagle; Paddy Sullivan, James O’Sullivan; Gavin Duffy, Cormac O’Donovan, Steve Landers; Colm Quinlan, Dan Horgan; Loran O’Connell, John Quill, Chris O’Donovan. Replacements: Jason O’Sullivan, Tom Murphy, Dan Hegarty, Martin Kelly, Dermot O’Connor.
Bruff: Shane O’Donnell; Noel McNamara, Barry Enright, P.J. Lloyd, Sean Daly; Paudie O’Brien, Declan Maher; Graham Bolger, John O’Leary, Tim Quirke; Pat O’Callaghan, Kieran Hickey; Podge Cleary, Pat Cleary, Jack Hogan.
Replacements: Darragh Leahy, Trevor Conway, Barry Heffernan, Tom O’Brien,
Pat Dempsey, Cathal O’Rourke.
Referee: Joe Geary (M.A.R.)


Carrick-on-Suir RFC
Dermot Keyes PRO
Dramatic late try clinches a sweet victory in Kinsale

Munster Junior Plate: Kinsale 15 Carrick 17

"The Carrick Smashers" was sung with resounding gusto just gone four o’clock in the grounds of Kinsale RFC on Sunday afternoon. And rightly so.

Having survived a few scares, weathered a storm when down to 14 men, scoring a fantastic solo try and watching a last minute Kinsale penalty shave the outside of the post, the final whistle was greeted with delirium. A win in Kinsale, something we haven’t experienced too often in recent campaigns had been achieved and boy did we enjoy it!

Trailing 12-0 at half-time, Carrick demonstrated magnificent character and spirit to haul themselves back into contention in what proved a highly entertaining 80 minutes of Junior Plate rugby. But it was not without its problems, most notably the ridiculous level of back chat to the referee from some of our players, for which we were justly penalised. That Kinsale’s second try came directly as a result of a silly comment directed at the referee left us facing a difficult task after the break, playing into the strong wind, even if not as traditionally strong as this Cork venue is so often exposed to.

That indiscipline was identified without delay in the post match huddle by captain John O’Keeffe, who ended his comments: "but well done on the result, lads" as a grin broke out across his and every player’s face. After our earlier league defeat at the same venue, this was a particularly sweet success.

While we certainly didn’t make life easy for ourselves, there was much to enthuse over in this victory. Firstly, for several periods of the second half, we defended under our posts with tremendous discipline. Kinsale almost got to double figures in the phase department while trying to break our will while John Phelan was experiencing 10 minutes in the sin bin. But try as Kinsale undoubtedly did, we didn’t buckle and showed that we’re capable of making the hits and maintaining the defensive discipline which any team worth its salt must possess.

Chief among the hit-makers was Mick Carroll, who has probably been the club’s outstanding ‘rookie’ player this season. Clearly a player who revels in the heavy stuff, Mick made tackle after tackle on Sunday and formed a strong pillar in a very mobile back row unit also occupied by Pat Lanigan and John O’Keeffe. After experiencing early problems in containing Kinsale’s maul, we tightened up enormously after the break. There were few occasions when it looked that the hosts would breach our defensive line but when they did, a stunning Ed O’Donnell ankle tap prevented what looked like a certain try. Ed had a super game at out half, scoring our second try after calling on Emmet Lonergan to knock a grubber through Kinsale’s defensive line. Having previously converted Alex Hunter’s early second half try brilliantly, Ed darted through to pounce on Emmet’s kick to draw the sides level during an absorbing second half. Minutes later, Kinsale knocked over a penalty to leave them three points ahead, but the small and highly vocal Carrick support urged their side on to try and find that late moment of inspiration. And it duly arrived!

Having held Kinsale out under our own posts, a momentary lapse in concentration was seized on by Peadar Downey, who formed an excellent midfield partnership with Alex Hunter during Sunday’s fixture. With the pitch opening up in front of him, a little like it did for Geordan Murphy’s try that never was in Croker, Peadar ignited the afterburners and set off downfield, with three Kinsale players in close pursuit. Darting for the right-hand corner, Peadar shrugged off a tackle to keep himself in play, as another Kinsale body crashed in his direction to try and disrupt his stunning 80-yard attack. But it was to no avail. While our subs hollered and pleaded with the referee to award a try, the touch judge awaited the ref’s arrival before confirming that it was a try. What a try – and how we celebrated!

With the O’Sullivan cup meeting with Waterford City to follow, and another ‘crack at the Plate,’ so to speak, the possibility of ending the season on a high note remains in place. More performances like last Sunday’s will surely have us breaking into a few bars of our post-match victory anthem. Well done, lads!

Carrick XV: S O’Keeffe, P Phelan (L Phelan, 8 mins), N Phelan; A Hunter, P Downey; E O’Donnell, E Lonergan; A O’Sullivan, J Walsh, A Murray; B Phelan, J Phelan; M Carroll, P Lanigan, J O’Keeffe (c).
Replacements not used: G Grant and D Keyes.

Another enjoyable juvenile blitz!

On Sunday February 4th, a huge crowd flocked to Tybroughney when we entertained both Waterpark and Cashel at under 8, 10 and 12 level. Over 200 boys and girls took to the field and the sun blazed in the sky which made for a very enjoyable morning. Our under 12s started the first game playing Waterpark but were caught off guard in the first half by a fine and well drilled team and were five tries down by half time. Carrick came out strong in the second half and within minutes had two tries back scored by speedy winger Colleen Kennedy. Christopher Gahan crossed over for the third try for Carrick and then it was game on but Carrick could score no more and ended up losing five tries to three. Next we played Cashel where a very tight and fiercely contested match went down to the wire with Cashel crossing the line in the last minute to snatch a victory by one try. Donal Ryan, Raymie Lyons, Sean Dunphy and Nollaig Brophy with the rest of the team had a very good performance in this match. Our under 11s played the same two teams and again were only just beaten in both matches. Good performances again all around were put in, with David Kinsella and Dean Hallinan scoring two tries. The under 10s continued their impressive winning run by beating both Waterpark and Cashel with great skill and good running rugby. Four tries were scored against Waterpark, scored by David Norris, Josh Quinn, Alan Dowley and Aidan Nugent to seal a 4-1 win. This was a notable win as it was the Park team’s first defeat of the season. The second match against Cashel was won by Carrick on a 6-3 and again Josh Quinn, Aidan Nugent, David Norris and Niall Blanchfield scored. Other fine performances were recorded by Aaron Gallagher, Aidan Ryan, Claire Flanagan, Jack Murphy, Jamie Murphy, Eoin Purcell, and Oisin Teppan, all of whom helped to make this a great game. Our under 8s were minus their coach and trainer Terry Blacque who was ill on the day. However they didn’t let him down with two good performances against both Waterpark and Cashel. Again players such as Ian Long, Michael Dineen, Ronan Ryan, Jim Power, Oisin Brophy, Jack Murphy, David Needham, Noah O’Brien-Power, Darragh Power, Robert Scahill, David Power and Michael Dunne all added to secure both wins. Well done to all who turned up and helped out, making the blitz such a successful event.

Email Carrick Rugby

As always we’re open to your views and comments, so why not drop a line to carrickrfc@yahoo.ie. We’d love to hear from you.

UL Bohemian RFC
Denis Ryan PRO

The AIL fixture was a game to help us measure progress against the local clubs and we must admit we fell short as Garryowen came out on top by 18-5. We seemed to be in control for most of the first half, although not reflected on the scoreboard, when a number of critical events occurred. Ben Martin, star of so many games, developed a leg injury and while he bravely endured the entire match, he was unable to make the sort of impression we are used to seeing from him, having to be content with the unusual role of defender rather than attacker. Second row giant Brian Madigan received a head injury which removed him from the action, and immediately thereafter the lineout malfunctioned. Then a UL Bohs attack faltered when a pass went astray and the Garryowen winger hared 60 metres to touch down in the corner. Although the game had not yet reached half time, it was time up for UL Bohs. Level 5-5 at the break, the home side just waited for UL Bohs to make mistakes and as the lineout misfired time and again, all Garryowen had to do was belt the ball up the middle of the field and pressurise the catcher.
It was so different early on as UL Bohs attacked the Garryowen line and only a perfectly timed tackle from Conor Kilroy kept Martin McPhail out. However, the talented winger wasn’t to be denied for long, as he finished off a great move to touch down in the corner. Ben Martin received his injury just before that move, and was never again the dominant force we are used to seeing. When Garryowen got the equalizing try, there was still over 50 minutes on the clock, but UL Bohs hardly threatened for the remainder of the game. Indeed the wonder is that Garryowen did not add greatly to their total, having to be content with a mauled converted try and a couple of goal kicks. This result was a setback for the team and the large UL Bohs support, but it is hoped that the lessons learned will be put to good effect when the next challenge appears on 3rd March, the home game against Shannon.

Another major disappointment was the defeat in the Gleeson Cup final at the hands of Shannon. The 3rd XV went down by 19-16, but in truth this was a game that could have gone either way, and the level of skill, commitment and fitness suggests that either team could have comfortably competed at a much higher level. The large crowd witnessed a game which moved from end to end with hardly an unsporting moment during the game. UL Bohs opened the scoring when, Tommy Ryan having been held up in the corner, Mike Reddan put over a penalty. Shannon mauled over for a try, and then added another to go into a 14-3 lead, before Sean Wallace put over a penalty into the strong wind to leave the half time score 14-6 in favour of our neighbours. Play flowed from end to end in the second half before a typical strong burst from Colm Likely saw the centre touch down between the posts. Sean Wallace added the extras to leave the score delicately poised at 14-13. Shannon roared back again and mauled over for another try before Wallace put over a good penalty to put UL Bohs within striking range. As the game entered the final few minutes a UL Bohs attack broke down inside the Shannon ’22’. Their speedy winger kicked upfield and raced after it. Another kick around the ’10’ metre line and he seemed to have a try teed up as the defenders closed in. An over enthusiastic tackle on the flying back saw the UL Bohs winger yellow carded, and Shannon awarded a penalty. The kick was missed and UL Bohs were still in the game. A storming finish saw the ball frantically whipped left and right, before Shannon infringed on the left of the field. Sean Wallace took the kick, and while many of the UL Bohs contingent swore the ball floated between the posts, in truth the wind carried it just a fraction outside the left upright. So near and yet so far. It was a game which amazed those who had not seen the 3rds play, with the skill and commitment of the likes of birthday boy Stephen O’Dowd, Brendan Gill, Tom Ryan, Conor O_Beirne, Andy Keogh, Mike Reddan and Owen Power. This side may be down at the moment after the result, but they are far from out.

In the Junior Cup, UL Bohs got the better of a sticky Highfield team when finally winning by 20-3. It was a good all round display and the side has been rewarded with a trip to Skibbereen for the next round. Tries were touched down by Ronan Parkes and Mike Skelton while Ian Costello added the remaining scores through his trusty boot.

In the U-14 league the UL Bohs Hawks travelled to Kilrush and came out on top at the end by 26-17. This was a very tough encounter on a sticky pitch against very game opponents. The early exchanges belonged to Kilrush as they effectively kept the ball in their big pack and caused UL Bohs considerable difficulties. Kilrush took the lead with a well worked try in the tenth minute. The Hawks response was impressive with Stephen Leddin getting in to the corner and a superb conversion by Barry Neville put our noses in front. Poor defending let Kilrush in for a converted try but after some good forward pressure and slick hands Cormac Fay went in under the posts and again converted by Neville. Half time 14-12. Our pack began to dominate in the second half and after some good line out work by John Hourigan, Enda Carroll peeled off to score under the posts which Neville converted. Straight from the kick off and some very fine back movement Brian Long crashed over for an excellent score. Kilrush had the final say in scoring terms touching down in the last minute for a consolation try. Other to impress with the Hawks were Stephan Droog and Kelvin Rael. Scorers: Tries- Stephen Leddin; Cormac Fay; Enda Carroll; Brian Long; Conversions Barry Neville (3)

TABLE QUIZ

Fundraising event for club under age section

Date: Friday 2nd March

Venue: Arena Sports Bar, University of Limerick

Time: Registration 8-00 to 8-20pm

KO: 8-30pm

Come along for a fun general knowledge quiz and a good’s night entertainment.

60€ per table , 40€ for students (4 per table)

Generous half time raffle, finger food provided

Places are limited so don’t be disappointed book your table now by calling Tony at 086-2400374 or Mick at 087-7594940

This Quiz is kindly sponsored by

Lenahan Keyes & Associates Loss Assessors

Coordinated by Davin Event Services

Contact 087-7594940 or e-mail: mikejmcloughlin@eircom.net

KILLORGLIN RFC
Aidan Clifford PRO

Killorglin Rugby Club held their annual Table Quiz in the Soda Club, Killorglin recently, and it proved to be a very enjoyable night, with 25 teams competing. Also the draw for our prize of 2 tickets to the upcoming Ireland v England match at Croke Park, along with weekend accommodation at Jury’s Croke Park hotel, and €150 spending money. This fantastic prize was won by Andrew Crean-Lynch, of Clash, Tralee.

A presentation was also made on the night to Chris O’Sullivan, our under-18 captain, who recently got called up, and played for the Munster under 18s. Congratulations to Chris and we wish him all the best in his rugby playing future.

On Sunday last, 18th February, Killorglin played host to Listowel in the West Munster League. The match was very evenly match in the opening exchanges, with both teams sharing possession between the 22s. Killorglin took the lead after 15 mins when Listowel held on to the ball too long on the ground and referee Pat Diggin awarded a penalty to Killorglin, which was slotted superbly from 40 metres by full-back Paul O’Connor. From there Killorglin, playing with the wind, took advantage. Some fine rucking from the pack and flowing passes from the backs got the ball to speedy winger Vivian O’Callaghan, who burnt his opposing man to score a superb try under the posts, which was duly converted by O’Connor. Killorglin led 10-0. Minutes later, Killorglin were in again, this time a powerful run by dynamic lock Cole Stephens put him inches from the line, and centre Andy O’Reilly made a difficult finish look simple. Again O’Connor dispatched the conversion from under the posts to make the score 17-0 to Killorglin.

It wasn’t long befor Killorglin had their third. A great passing move from the back line got Jodie Riordan in on the wing and he finished with ease. O’Connor was faced with a more difficult conversion this time but still managed to score. 24-0 Killorglin. However in the last ten minutes of the first half, Listowel staged somewhat of a comeback with 2 driving mauls, one pushing over the line for a try and the other holding up just short. However they managed to still power over for the try, to make the score 24-10 at half time.

It was all Killorglin in the second half, with the hosts dominating possession. After winger Jodie Riordan got held up in the corner, Number 8 Brendan ‘Fox’ O’Sullivan pounced from the back of the resulting scrum and reached for the line to touch down with millimeters to spare. Paul O’Connor came close to scoring a remarkable conversion against a strong breeze, but it faded away at the last second. 29-10 to Killorglin. Jodie Riordan scored a remarkable individual second try, chasing down a kick from Listowel’s out-half and collecting himself to run in under the posts from 40 metres out. O’Connor again converted to put the score at 36-10. Then with 5 minutes to go, Killorglin scored their sixth and what could be the try of the season. David Coffey launched himself over the line to finish off a move that appeared to have 11 Killorglin players get their hands on the ball. 41-10 Killorglin. However, Listowel had the last laugh, scoring a great try at the final whistle, where their centre ran on to a great chip from his out-half to run in. They converted to leave the final score 41-17 to Killorglin. Many players played very well on the day, such as flanker Anthony Kelliher, hooker JP Kissane, lock Cole Stephens and Paul O’Connor, but stand out performance of the day had to be returning Captain Ronan Curtayne, who returned after a long lay off with injury.
Killorglin team:- 1 KJ Daly, 2 JP Kissane, 3 J ‘Twin’ O’Sullivan, 4 C Conway, 5 C Stephens, 6 A Kelliher, 7 R Healy, 8 B ‘Fox’ O’Sullivan, 9 D Coffey, 10 R Curtayne (c), 11 J Riordan, 12 A O’Reilly, 13 T West, 14 V O’Callaghan, 15 P O’Connor.
Subs:- K Crowley for R Curtayne, F Foley for C Conway, D Flynn for Twin O’Sullivan, S Joy for A Kelliher, E O’Shea for V O’Callaghan.

SHANN ON RFC
Andrew McNamara PRO

There’s no doubting that the weekend just past was one of the most positive for the club thus far. Our three senior played hugely important games, for differing reasons, and not alone did they produce victories but the manner in which they were achieved sent a great vibe around the club. And it was all capped off when three of our senior players were selected for AIB Club international on Friday evening.

The start of the credits and plaudits this week lay firmly with our magnificent Thirds team that won the Gleeson League in a tense and thrilling final against UL/Bohs. The magnitude of this success is enormous given the quality of Sunday’s opposition and the strength of the league in general. The Thirds have been moulded into squad of winners and the metamorphosis is largely the responsibility of one man, Pat McLoughlin whose tireless enthusiasm for his players reaped just rewards on Sunday. Hopefully it’s just the beginning of their success this season as they have a Mc Inerny cup final to play and are still in contention for the Webb Cup. The game itself was an enthralling affair which had the sizable attendances on tender hooks right up to the final kick of the game. A penalty for UL/Bohs, which if converted would have produced a 19-19 draw headed agonisingly between the uprights , but just at the last second the ball took a sharp turn left and drifted wide. The final whistle sounded immediately and the celebrations could continue. The lads started a little shaky and allowed UL/Bohs to dictate the early pace, but slowly they adjusted to their familiar ability. JP Tucker crossed for our first try after Tony Hall equalised matters with a penalty. Diarmuid Fitzgerald crossed for the second before the break to leave us in a comfortable 14-6 lead, but with the wind at their backs, UL/Bohs came storming back. A try and conversion left a point between the sides, but Captain Tony Hall once again extend the lead with a try. The closing stages were tense with UL/Bohs scoring a penalty and on the front foot looking for an equaliser or indeed winner, but the lads held out for the Club’s first Gleeson league win since 1996. A tremendous effort from the entire squad including manager Danny Keehan and Player coach James Doran. Let’s hope it’s the start of a clean sweep.

A little further down the road, in Co. Cork to be precise the seconds were also sluggish off the mark and for 20 minutes or so it looked as if our Munster Junior cup run would be abruptly halted by Youghal. 8 nil down, a man short due to a sin bin and a rather lopsided penalty count were the obstacles that lay in their path, but an effort of epic proportions from everyone involved ensured a remarkable 25 unanswered points and safe passage to the next round where we face a home tie with Cross haven. A fantastic try from Mark Tuohy began the revival and slowly the lads strangled the confidence out of Youghal. Further tries from Ross O’Loughlin and Garrett Noonan were added in the second half before Mark crossed again to put the result beyond doubt… Richie Mullane compounded Youghal woes when he tagged on some well struck penalties as the game entered the closing stages. The performances of everyone were exceptional but with Garrett Noonan and Conor Costigan lining out for a full game with the seniors on Saturday, their commitment warrants a special mention. The next round takes place Sunday week in Coonagh so the lads have a break this weekend.

These two wonderful victories were predicated by another superb victory on Saturday when the seniors maintained their remarkable wining sequence over Dungannon in The AIB League with their best performance for some time. Without wishing to sound as if we lacked confidence before the game, but nobody realistically expected a bonus point win over a side who were ahead of us in the table, but as the game transpired there may have been slight disappointment if we didn’t achieve the five pointer. The result was never in doubt as we entered the final minutes and the lads were searching hard for the 4th try. Time was ticking and 2 minutes into injury time Pat O’Connor’s hard tackling afforded Andrew Finn the opportunity to scamper over for the glorious try. Prior to that, the foundations for the win were cast with a determination from 1 to 15 that this make or break game would end speculation of our demise in some quarters. Andrew Thompson was our scoring machine in the first half, crossing the try line once and kicking 2 penalties and a conversion. The highly impressive Sean Cronin was next to cross and was also instrumental in Colm Mc Mahon’s 60th minute effort. It was a fitting performance for our last home game in the current Thomond Park and one that puts us right back in the frame for the playoffs. The unity of the team was exceptional throughout but a few of the players were also on a personnel mission. Conor Costigan started his first AIB league game, while replacement Joe Manuel was also experiencing his first taste of league action. Both can be more than happy with their contributions. Conor was a late replacement for the injured Les Hogan whose absence was detrimental to his chances of making the International club side. Hopefully his chance will come soon, however for Andrew Thompson, David Quinlan and Andrew Finn, their performances impressed the watching selectors sufficiently. Dave Captains the side for the second year in succession and he joins the impressive list of Shannon players to captain international sides. Andrew Finn makes the replacement bench and Andrew Thompson’s selection at outhalf is perhaps the most pleasing of all. It’s a wonderful and well deserved honour for Andrew who has been an outstanding servant not only to Shannon, but the All Ireland League in general. Sentiment had no place on the selection and he is there purely on merit. Despite playing with Clontarf for the last few seasons Fiach O’Loughlin selection is also well received in the club. It’s probably a highly unique half back pairing in international rugby with the scrum half feeding his brother in law at No.10. We wish all the club lads, and indeed the entire squad and the management the very best for the game.

John Galvin was a very welcome spectator at the game on Saturday after his recent major surgery. His presence has been sorely missed not only in Coonagh where his tireless work benefits everyone, but at the matches as well. Another welcome returnee to Thomond Park was Shannon exile Eamon Browner who was home from Canada on brief holiday; it’s always a pleasure to meet up with Eamon, a dynamic force in the club before his departure.

The U/16’s were in a ruthless mood on Sunday and they easily won out against an inexperienced, but tenacious Scariff side. It was a facile enough victory, but nothing can be taken from the performance of the lads. This weekend they are away to Newcastle west while the U/14’s are at home to St Mary’s at 11.30.

The U/7’s 8’s and 9’s play a blitz in Garryowen while the U12’s are also in action.

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