Club News Weekending January 28th 2007
22nd January 2007 By Munster Rugby
Club news, views and reviews from around the province
Club news, views and reviews from around the province
Christopher Barry PRO
Our senior team make a return visit to Dublin on Saturday to play Terenure College in the AIL at Lakelands Park at 2.30. The disappointment of losing our clash with UCD 20-13 in Belfield last Saturday will make them doubly determined to get our top four aspirations back on track. Our cause wasn’t helped with the loss of scrum half Gerry Hurley as early as the 5th minute. This forced a reshuffle in the backline with Alan Kingsley moving to 9 and Eoghan Hickey from 15 to 10. Conor Kilroy came off the bench to fill his customary full back position. However, we can have no excuses for a lethargic performance as the Students made full use of the near gale force wind to build up a comfortable 20-6 lead. We conceded two tries courtesy of very enterprising play by the home side and some sloppy defending in midfield. Eoghan Hickey did manage to keep us in touch with two marvelous penalties into the teeth of the wind and our supporters were hopeful we could claw back the deficit with the elements in our favour in the second half. We failed to make the early necessary breakthrough as the college boys fought tooth and nail to deny quality possession. A piece of magic from left wing Ciaran O’Boyle in the 68th saw him beat his man on the outside and despite an attempted hand-trip he held his composure to glide over in the corner. Eoghan Hickey’s touchline conversion made it 20-13 and with our pack finally putting pedal to the metal, UCD were forced to adopt a rearguard action for the remaining minutes. A scrum on their line should have yielded a touchdown but we lost control of the ball at the vital moment and the clearance to touch lifted the siege. The players certainly gave it everything in the dying minutes but the inevitable mistakes crept in. The Students have been struggling in the nether regions of the table this season but when the ground dries out, don’t be surprised to see them take a few more prize scalps. The Munster Junior Cup kicks off on Sunday with a tricky assignment away to Thurles at 2.30. The Tipperary side are always a formidable unit in this competition and we can expect the usual high octane exchanges. The team had a useful friendly away to Kilfeacle last Sunday and ran out 22-7 winners. JP Hartigan lined out at 10 and led the backline well. He kicked a penalty and added conversions to two of our three tries by Damien Fahey, Damien Varley and David Sherry. It seems like an eternity since our U20’s were in action but they couldn’t have asked for a sterner test of their mettle than Saturday’s AIL encounter away to Bruff at 1.00. This is sure to be an intriguing game as both sides have certainly become accustomed to playing one another over the last few seasons. Our 3rdXV had a heartening 12-7 win over Young Munster in the first round of the McInerney Cup. Charlie Colling bagged a brace of tries in what was a welcome return to form for Niall Wixted’s charges. Old Crescent provides the opposition in friendly in Dooradoyle on Saturday at 1.00. The under 14s had a hard earned win over a very strong and competitive Bruff team in the NM League last Sunday and in doing so maintained their 100% record. Playing into the wind in the first half, the blues conceded an early unconverted try. Struggling with possession from the line out, they maximised their limited play time in Bruff’s 22 by scoring 2 converted tries. The first score was credited to Geoffrey Ronan off a short penalty 10m out and the second was scored by full back Andrew Fullen. Rory Collins converted both but Bruff stormed back to score an unconverted try before half time. The second half was a story of unbelievable commitment and effort in defending an onslaught from Bruff who were camped in Garryowen’s 22 for most of the half. They tried valiantly to score the elusive and winning try. The Garryowen pack, which as a unit performed heroically, defended well and held on for a narrow 14-10 win. John Fyfe, Darragh O’Brien, David Canny and Captain Dominic Furnell led from the front in the pack. This Sunday they are away to St. Senan’s in the same competition. Our U16’s rallied well to eventually overcome a brave Richmond side 29-17 in the NM League at Garryowen Green. Supporters are reminded that the Bus for the AIL match against Terenure in Dublin will leave Willie Sexton’s at 9.30 on Saturday morning. Please text Killian Slattery at 086-8359902 to reserve one of the few remaining seats. The customary stop for lunch will ensure the troops arrive in good voice to cheer on our team in Lakelands Park.
OLD CRESCENT RFC
Last weekend our AIL game was on Sunday at home against League leaders Old Belvedere and although we lost the game there was a big improvement in performance over more recent games and the final score of twenty points to twenty seven for Belvedere gave us a valuable bonus point. It was a game that could have been won had one or two scoring options been taken. Belvedere travelled with two Under 12 teams and our Under 12s won both these games. The Under 14’s also had a good win against Young Munster in the Under14 League
Next Saturday we have another home AIL game in Rosbrien at 2.30 against Carlow and again we want all the support we can muster as every game from now on must be won to ensure that we finish reasonably high up in the league table at the end of the season.
The excitement of the Heineken Cup game on Saturday gave another boost to Limerick and Limerick rugby as satellite television brought the game to supporters all over and the Irish pubs were competing with each other to show the game in all the sun destinations. The disappointment of Munster’s loss has eased with the realisation that the effect of losing might not be as bad as it could have been and the return of some injured players will strengthen the team for the next game. A home venue is no great advantage when you really have no suitable venue. Tickets for the game in Wales will be scarce and nowhere nearly enough to satisfy demand, but it shows the respect that the Llanelli have for Munster that they turned down the opportunity to move from Stradey Park to a bigger venue with a much bigger gate in order to limit the Munster fans to about 2500 supporters.
Presidents Night in the Falls Hotel Ennistymon will be on next weekend – Saturday February 3rd, and as previously reported there is a very good offer on accommodation from the hotel for members attending whether they want to stay for one night or to make a weekend of the event. The usual golf outing on Saturday has been arranged. Tickets and further information are available from Vincent Collins , Billy Leahy or Dan Gallery.
Clonakilty Return to Top Four
Clonakilty 30 Malone 7
Clonakilty shocked Malone on their first visit to The Vale by completely outplaying the Belfastmen to record a very important bonus point victory last Saturday. The West Cork club now move into the fourth play off position with seven games to go. This latest win continues the recovery which saw Clon drop from a challenging 3rd place to 11th before staging the fight-back. They will now face De La Salle Palmerston this Saturday and a good result will send them to Dublin next Saturday 3rd Feb in confident form for the All Ireland Cup clash with Terenure. The problem with this latest win was that it did little for Clon in relation to testing their improving form.
Clon took control from the start and strangled the life out of a Malone side that never sparked. Clon’s first try was scored after only two minutes when the gifted hands of Declan Coppinger had Clon going one way then the other before John O’Donnell went in at the corner. Gary Cribb converted from the awkwardest of angles – his favourite position. Clon’s speed of transfer was causing panic in the defence and another try went a begging when the final pass to Shay O’Donovan went into touch. O’Donovan didn’t have to wait long for his opener. Tremendous tidying by Joe Knowles from a line out tap down had the ball moving crossfield and Derek Dillon’s typical incursion sent O’Donnell away. The in-form winger selflessly fed the unmarked O’Donovan who had read it perfectly to come off his wing, where the move had started to take the final pass on the other. Mike Keohane started a series of picking and driving which almost yielded another with both Dan Spencer and David Cookson denied over the line. Clon did extend their lead to 15 – 0 with a penalty following a harsh red carding of a Malone player for a simulated head butt. The recipient of this gesture was Dan Whelton and the fact that the hapless Ulsterman walked off the pitch was testament enough to the fact that no blow was landed!
John O’Donnell who is enjoying a rich vein of form lately went in for his second try, his fourth in two games and his sixth of the campaign. Clon had forced a turnover and the speed of transfer was again the key with almost the whole team handling and Clon were in sight of a bonus. The game was not yet over as they would have to face the significant wind in the second half but at 20 – 0 after as many minutes they were looking good. Joe Knowles took ten minutes out but Malone were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage as Clon continued to run them ragged with Derek Dillon almost in as he was taken to touch five metres from the line. The Belfast side rallied briefly with a series of drives and rumbled lines-out but it must have been disheartening to see their efforts not only held but driven backwards regularly. Shay O’Donovan secured the bonus point with his second try to put Clon out to 25 – 0 after 35 minutes. Cribb, Keohane, Mike O’Hea and Alfie Harte all featured stongly in the dying minutes of the half making it look far to easy but it was Malone who finished strongly as they came into Clon’s red zone for the first time. The danger was averted by a great tackle and steal by O’Hea and a long clearance from Cribb had the Munster side well pleased at the break with their efforts.
It was expected that for the Ulstermen to have any chance they would have to score first after the break. Despite the wind advantage at the resumption Malone were unable to make any headway and the impressive Keohane put the game out of reach with a well deserved try. Great work from Alfie Harte initially a super break from John O’Donnell and the sublime final pass from Declan Coppinger sent the number 8 diving in at the corner for a 30 – 0 unassailable lead after only three minutes of the second half. Good play from Dan Whelton and Captain Eoin Scannell had Clon on the attack again but a penalty halted the move and Scannell took a ten minute bin rest. Inevitably Clon relaxed but also allowed indiscipline to take the steam out of their game and a series of penalties and extra tens gave Malone some momentum and they scored a consolation converted try to reduce the score to 30 – 7. Good play from Keohane, David Cookson, Paul Dillon and Cribb, looked set to put Keohane in for his second but the pass never came and it was a disappointing trend as in truth Clon had many other scoring chances throughout the match that they failed to convert. The squad was: Derek Dillon, John O’Donnell, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Shay O’Donovan, Gary Cribb, David Cookson, Joe Knowles, Alfie Harte, Dan Spencer, Dan Whelton, Mike O’Hea, Eoin Scannell (Capt), Declan Coppinger, Mike Keohane, Eoin Murphy, Batt Duggan, Tadhg Wright, Colin Murphy and Gearoid Ryan. De La Salle Palmerston on Saturday will test their resolve and mettle as a good result will keep many possibilities open in this league campaign. Although six places separate the sides at the moment Clon (4th) have been warned that DLSP (11th) are infinitely better that their league position might indicate and on their day are capable of beating any side.
The Extra-Firsts travel to Youghal on Sunday without the advantage of recent matches as their last two fixtures were cancelled through no fault of their own. However they will be expected as usual to compete strongly in this famous competition which Clon won for the first and only time in season 2000-2001. Kick off is at 2.30 to allow for extra time in the event of the sides being level after 80 minutes. Support would be very welcome.
This weekend’s Fixtures:
Senior- AIL- De La Salle Palmerstown- The Vale- 2.30pm
U20’s- League- Muskerry- Inniscara- 2.30pm
U18’s- League- Sunday’s Well- The Vale- Midday
U16’s- League- Bandon- The Vale- Midday
U14’s- League- Dunmanway- Dunmanway- Midday
Extra Firsts- Munster Junior Cup- Youghal- Youghal- 2.30pm
Aidan Clifford PRO
Killorglin Rugby Club travelled to Temple Hill, Co Cork on Sunday last for their eagerly awaited League Semi-final clash with Cork Constitution. Killorglin started the game on a low note when prop forward Karl Daly clashed heads with his opposite number and, although he attempted to play on for a couple of minutes, he was forced to come off, and was replaced by Frankie Foley. The Killorglin forwards played superbly against a much bigger Cork Con pack, and bossed them around the field for much of the first half. That pressure, along with superb tackling and great discipline at the breakdown, was rewarded 5 minutes from half time when a Con player infringed and Paul O’Connor slotted over the resulting penalty with ease. The two teams went in at half-time with the score at 3-0.
Killorglin began the second half as they had finished the first, with sustained pressure pinning Con back to their own line and almost scored a try, when the referee adjudged Rodi Healy to have run into his own teammate and gave a scrum to Con. However Killorglin got back in possession again very soon after, and Gareth Sheehan showed some of his genius by slotting over a superb drop-goal to put the score at 6-0 after 55 minutes.
However, after that Killorglin could not convert their chances, due to great defending by Con, and after a rare infringement by Killorglin, the Con full back kicked a fantastic penalty to make the score 6-3. Soon after that, a great rolling maul near the Killorglin line gave the Con winger the ball just metres from the line. He dived for the line and scored a try in the corner, although the grounding of the ball seemed dubious. That put the score at 8-6 to Con with five minutes remaining and despite repeated attacks from Killorglin, Con held them out and got a sealing penalty with the last kick of the game to make the final score 11-6 to the hosts.
Killorglin Rugby are running a fundraising draw to win a pair of Tickets to the eagerly awaited Ireland vs England Six Nations Match, being played in Croke Park on Saturday 24th February. The prize also includes two nights Bed & Breakfast in Jury’s Croke Park Hotel, along with €150 spending money. The draw will be limited to three hundred tickets, at a unit price of €50. As applications for allocated tickets to both home games have closed, this may be the only chance to see the historic game, and will raise valuable funds for Killorglin Rugby Club in the process. Interested parties can contact PRO Aidan Clifford on 0879065927 or alternatively can leave a message on club secretary Maddy Foley’s phone 066-9762102.
The above draw will take place on the night of our annual Table Quiz, taking place in The Soda Club on Thursday 8th February. This night has proven to be a very enjoyable event over the past few years, as it has been growing into the one of the biggest Table Quizzes held in the town.
Killorglin RFC would also like to congratulate Chris O’Sullivan on getting recalled into the Munster under-18 squad.
Andrew McNamara PRO
Not for the first time we headed down the M1 with an air of despondency after our seniors suffered defeat at the hands of Belfast Harlequins in the AIB league last Saturday. It was of little comfort to the lads that the Belfast side had played their best rugby of the season according to their supporters. The long range kick to win the game was a worthy piece of individual skill, but again scant consolation. There’s no doubt that the lads put in a huge effort and the result can be put down to many factors which conspired against us. It looked as if would be very different after the opening few minutes when Sean Cronin barged over after the pack totally dominated the opposition in impressive fashion. However, what Harlequins lacked in power they made up for in heart and determination and came right back at us to take the lead with a try and penalty. Before the break a superb demonstration of handling and ball retention saw Fergal Walsh regain the lead for us when he was on hand to receive the final pass. The second half was a little scrappy, but the feeling was that once we gained territory in their ’22 the pack would explode into their domineering presence, however getting into the ’22 was the trouble. After the home side regained the lead, one of our few excursions deep into Harlequins territory saw Sean Cronin repeat his first half effort, but again the home side refused to lie down. The final moments were tense to say the least especially when the deficit was reduced to the minimum. It looked as if we would hold out, but that penalty was awarded and that, as they say was that. Disappointment, without a shadow of a doubt, but amidst that disappointment was a determination and a resolve to bounce back, and make no mistake about it, this collective group will not relinquish the title without giving it their all. A couple of other results were favourable and despite the loss we remain still very much in the mix for a playoff spot. Hopefully UCD will receive the brunt of the frustration felt when they travel to Thomond Park on Saturday. As with Harlequins, their lowly position in the table won’t be taken for granted and they will certainly be buoyed by their impressive win over Garryowen last week. It’s the first of two consecutive games against the students as we face them again next week in the AIB cup, but one hurdle at a time. Kick off is at 2.30 and with no other rugby distractions this weekend we would hope to see a fair size crowd.
The seconds or thirds had no game last week but return to the field this Saturday and Sunday. After qualifying for the Gleeson League final, the thirds launch another assault on a trophy. This tome it’s the McInerny cup and a possible tricky tie at home to Bruff awaits them on Saturday. Start time for that game is at 2pm.
On Sunday the seconds prepare for their opening salvo in the junior cup with a friendly game against Newport in Coonagh with a 2 pm kick-off.
The U/20’s played a challenge game against Thomond on Sunday last and the extended Christmas break was very evident in their play as they lost to the soda cakes. The mitigating circumstances are that the squad only reassembled last week, but that excuse will only get you so far. They trained hard this past week in preparation for their crucial AIL game this Saturday against UCC in Cork with a tantalising reward awaiting them if they win. An automatic qualification for the national knockout stages and an unassailable lead at the head of the South western conference of the AIL awaits them if they win. The evidence presented last Sunday against Thomond bears little resemblance to the talent amongst this squad and there’s no question that a win in this crucial game is well within their capabilities and we wish them all the best in Cork.
The ladies have two games at underage with the U/15’s and U/18’s hosting Thurles on Saturday at 2.30.
The underage programme was curtailed last weekend due to the pitch and weather conditions but a full schedule is fixed for this Sunday. The U/8’s host a blitz while teh U/9’s head to Annacotty for a UL/Bohs hosted blitz. The U/14’s Play Old Crescent in Coonagh at 11.30 while at the same time the U/18’s play in Bruff.
UL BOHEMIAN RFC
Denis Ryan PRO
On Sunday in Thomond Park UL Bohs took on Buccaneers in the AIL and like the weather, the performance had sunny spells with many squally periods. On a pitch showing the effects of Munster’s trials the previous evening, UL Bohs started in lively fashion, and two early tries from Tom Luke and Mark Butler-one converted by Ben Martin- gave the home side a 12 nil lead. Perhaps it was the thought of getting the bonus point early, or it might have been the gathering clouds, but UL Bohs eased up and from looking dominant in all areas, suddenly had to defend desperately. For Buccs, Tom Cregan put over a penalty, and then converted a try from second row David McGowan who ran in from the 10 metre line after a clearance from defence had been partly blocked. UL Bohs held the 12-10 advantage at the break and looked to build on it during the wind assisted second half. However, it was the visitors who did most of the attacking and were rewarded with another converted try, this time from wing er Niall O’Hara after a series of drives at the line were held up. UL Bohs fought back, and had claims for a penalty try over ruled when Tom Luke was tackled having kicked the ball over the line. The ball was moved through the pack to one side where Aidan O’Gorman was held up, then to the left wing where full back Mark Butler was halted, but then Chris Delooze popped to the charging Coleman Finn and the captain forced his way over between the posts, giving Ben Martin the easy, but crucial, conversion. A win at the death, which puts UL Bohs in second place in the table, but with the daunting trip to Ballymena on Saturday, nothing is decided about the league just yet.
On Saturday the 3rds opened their McInerney Cup campaign in Annacotty against a strong Old Crescent side, and while emerging victorious on a 22-14 scoreline, this game was in the balance up to the final whistle. Favoured by the gale, and on a firm pitch, UL Bohs went into an early lead when outhalf Mike Reddan crossed between the posts for a try converted by Sean Wallace. The visitors hit back with a penalty but then the always lively Conor O’Beirne dropped on the ball in the right corner for another try. Leading 12-3 at the break, UL Bohs knew they had a lot of work to do as the rain came down, the wind rose even further, and Old Crescent kicked a couple of penalties, and then crossed for a try to take a 12-14 lead. However, the team rose to the challenge and led by Stephen O’Dowd and Tommy Ryan forced their way back upfield where first Alan Ryan touched down to regain the lead, and then the entire pack mauled over with Mike McGowan credited with the try. Andy Keogh was yellow carded in the final minutes, but with Liam O’Connell showing all his experience, UL Bohs held out for the vital win.
Also in Annacotty on Saturday, the U-20s played Nenagh in a friendly and were comfortable winners, scoring some classy tries in the process. They now face the challenge of Highfield in the AIL this weekend.
The seconds had a break at the weekend after winning the Senior Seconds League, but get back to business on Sunday when they face Abbeyfeale in the Junior Cup in Annacotty. Ken Rennison expects a big challenge and requests all members to support the side in this important game.
In the U-16 league, UL Bohs beat Newcastle West by 13-11 thanks to a dramatic long distance penalty by the very talented Darren Moloney, who is tipped for great things in the years ahead.
The UL Bohs Hawks played their second U-14 league outing of the year against a very game St. Marys which proved to be very fruitful. The back unit functioned very well whilst our forwards played a large part in this victory. Three well worked tries in first half from Stephen Leddin, Cormac Fay and Enda Carroll all converted put the Hawks in a strong position at the break. A brief onslaught by a willing St. Marys early in the second half was well contained and two further tries from Enda Carroll and a powerful crash over from front row Gavin Doherty all converted, finished the scoring. Others who featured strongly were Barry Neville, Stephen Droog and Kelvin Rael.
CARRICK ON SUIR RFC
First XV end league season on a high note
Division Three: Carrick 19 Killarney 5
On a rain-lashed day at Tybroughney (it’s become a running theme for the season); our First XV ended their Munster Junior League campaign with a win over Killarney. Unfortunately, the lads fell just short of achieving the bonus point which their efforts on such a muck-laded day merited. And while the numbers and even identities of some players may have concealed by the mud, there was no hiding the honesty and commitment of the players on the day. Ed O’Donnell, Dennis Howard and Jamie Walsh were our try scorers against the visitors as the curtain came down on a league season which didn’t transpire as we so wished. On a day when stand-out displays were difficult to achieve given the inclement conditions, Ed O’Donnell certainly fitted into that hard to achieve bracket. Hard as nails, a magnificent tackler and possessor of an excellent work ethic, Ed has rarely let anyone down when in Carrick colours. We’ve had a mixed bag of a league season. There have been some fine displays though arguably not as good as the highs achieved during the previous league campaign. In fairness to the players, while there may have been some results we won’t look back on too fondly; there were not that many forgettable performances when one assesses the league effort as a whole. We haven’t improved to the extent that we would have wished to and when it comes down to it, successful seasons are realised by achieving results. The raw material to make the team successful is, at least in this note taker’s view, present and accounted for within our current ranks. The main problem we have in terms of developing that instinct is the lack of numbers at training. For our players, particularly those who believe they should be playing Firsts rugby, getting out at least one night a week should be the minimum target. That’s not always possible, but it should be a minimum aspiration. But we need more players at training over a sustained period if our collective aim is to put more wins on the board. The remainder of the season shall see the lads take to cup action and let’s hope we’ll have something to cheer about as another rugby campaign draws to a close. We will face either Cobh Pirates or Kinsale away in a fortnight’s time. And please note we have training as usual on Wednesday at 7.30pm but there will be no session on Friday. As we go to press, we cannot confirm whether or not the Second XV will be in action next weekend.
Carrick starting XV: R Murphy, S O’Keeffe, N Griffin; A Hunter, E O’Donnell; J Wallace, E Lonergan; A Murray, J Walsh, A O’Sullivan; D Howard, B Phelan; B Slattery, J O’Keeffe (c), J Phelan.
Our under 14s went down 25-5 to Kilfeacle while our under 16s lost by a similar margin to Fethard. The under 16s play away to Fethard next Saturday while the under 14s are away to Waterpark next Sunday morning (kick-off: 11am).
A raffle in aid of the IRFU will be held at the Comeragh Bar this Friday evening at 10pm approximately.