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Club News Weekending March 18th 2007

14th March 2007 By Munster Rugby

Club news, views and reviews from around the province

SHANNON RFC

Andrew MacNamara PRO

Shannon’s reign as All Ireland U/20 champions came to an abrupt end in Coonagh last Sunday when a determined Young Muster side took the glory and gave themselves passage to the national knockout stages of the competition. It seems in the past few months the description of the weather is more often than not horrendous or torrential when describing match, conditions and last Sunday was no different. It was difficult for both teams to come to terms with the incessant rain that battered the players throughout the game which only compounded the disappointment felt amongst the U/20’s at the end. Their tenacity and dogmatism very nearly paid off as they chased Young Munster’s 15- 6 lead heading towards the final whistle. Stanley Hayes crashed over to give a glimmer of hope, but it was not to be our day. Our first half display was quite good but a 6-3 lead, thanks to Eamon Lane’s boot would prove insufficient against a Young Munster side whose own tenacity paved the way for their victory. A couple of opportunities early in the second half to cross their line may well have proved decisive if they were utilised to full effect , but alas a try wasn’t forthcoming. The visitors scored two good tries in relatively quick succession, and in fairness they played the elements to a tee. Whilst it’s very hard in the immediate aftermath to equate the positives and negatives of the game, the players and management should be proud of what they have achieved thus far this season. We have a very young team with most underage again next season, and there’s still the cup to play for and there’s no doubt that the lads will be going all guns blazing for that. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the U/20 squad and indeed the club, as one of their members gained his first International cap in Scotland the previous Friday evening. Eoghan Grace’s second half appearance in the win gave him a taste of international rugby and hopefully a chance to be included in the starting XV this weekend when Ireland go for a hugely impressive grand slam at U/20 level. Congratulations to Eoghan and his family.

Another repetitive theme to the Shannon notes seems to be the continued success enjoyed by the Thirds, and long may it continue. Without doubt the most consistent team in the club this season, they took another big step in the direction of a clean sweep when they accounted for they nemesis of the season UL/Bohs in the quarter final of the Webb Cup. Both sides have been so evenly matched this season that you would expect only a couple of points to separate the sides and Saturday was no different , despite the fact that it was a late UL/Bohs try that closed the gap. At 21-19 the conversion would have drawn the game, but fortunately for us it sailed wide of the mark and passage to the semi final was assured. It was a less than convincing opening half from the lads and they can probably consider themselves fortunate to be level 7-7 at the break. The outstanding Tony Flynn crossed for the first try with Tony Hall converting and it was a score that seemed to settle the rest of the team. The second half could hardly have started much better for us when an Eoin O’Gorman intercept allowed Wes Daly to stretch the lead. It was a case of tit-for-tat though as the home side equalised with a similar effort. It was tense stuff, but again it was Tony Flynn, with 15 minutes remaining, who lead the charge and his try gave us the advantage once again. Tony Hall, as with the previous two attempts, converted the try and it was a case of battening down the hatches for the inevitable UL/Bohs onslaught. It came, but it was dealt with until the dying minutes and UL/Boh’s try and missed conversion.

It may have been shaky but this was a fantastic result and one which keeps the aspirations on track. Another hurdle will have to be faced this Sunday when Bantry visit Coonagh for the ¼ final of the Munster league with a 3pm kick-off.

On Sunday last the seconds bounced back from defeat in the junior cup with an extra time win over Thomond in the ¼ North Munster cup. It was nip and tuck all the way and Tadgh Bennett’s two penalties were our only scores in normal time. Extra time saw a concerted effort which resulted in the winning score from Barry Molloy.

The U/14’s were in League semi final action against UL/Bohs and that too ended up a draw at the final whistle , but this game goes to a reply.

UL/Bohs got the better start in with a penalty early in the game, but our lads fought hard in the forward exchanges and slowly gained control for the remainder of the first half scoring two tries by Barry McNamara and Mark Leonard. As it was in the first half UL/Bohs pounded on the pressure after the restart were camped on our line for long periods. The inevitable converted try came with just ten minutes left to play which saw the scores locked at 10-10.Our lads controlled the remainder of the game but were unable to get the decisive score so they’ll have to do it all again. This Sunday there’s little underage action. Only the U/16’s are at home to Young Munster in the league with an 11pm start.

The senior’s game scheduled for last weekend was postponed until this Sunday in Coonagh where Nenagh provide the opposition with a 2.30 kick off.

The end of RTE’s You’re a star is in sight and once again we appeal to all Shannon people to give Meave O’Donovan a final push. Text "Meave" to 57707 on Saturday evening and help her make the final two.

Finally we extend our deepest condolences to John Hogan and his family on their recent bereavement.

OLD CRESCENT
Pat Rickard

A quiet week on the playing front.

Our only adult team in action last weekend were the 2nd XV who hosted Cashel in the Munster Junior Plate on Sunday. In conditions more suited to water polo than rugby both teams put in committed performances but on the day the Cashel side had the edge and took the spoils by 15 points to 5. This means the end of the road for the season for the 2nd XV who despite many difficulties showed improvement on previous years. Hopefully they will be able to build on this foundations next season.

Our 1st XV return to action on St. Patrick’s Day when they host our nearest neighbours Garryowen in the annual O’Donovan Cup fixture at 4pm. The club house will be open from 1pm for those members who wish to watch the 6 Nations game on the big screen.

In underage news, the under 11s had their final home blitz of the season with Garryowen, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale as the visitors. We had 3 teams in the blitz and all concerned put in brave displays. The under 13 hosted Scarrif in a friendly and ran out winners.

Commiserations to the Crescent Comprehensive Senior Cup team who were very unlucky in losing their semi final game last week and we wish both the Crescent Comprehensive and Castletroy College teams every success in their semi final games this week in the Munster Schools Junior Cup as they form the bulk of our under 15 squad.

Finally this week a reminder of the Coffee morning which will take place on Sunday March 25th at 11am with the Heineken Cup and Munster players as guests of honour. We would ask as many members as possible to attend this event.

UL BOHEMIAN RFC
Denis Ryan PRO

UL Bohs overcame appalling weather conditions and competitive opponents to qualify for the Munster Junior Cup final for the first time in over 70 years. Crosshaven are a young club but have made huge strides this year and gave the visitors a stern test in the first half. However, with Ian Costello giving a masterclass in outhalf play, the youthful UL Bohs players gradually took control and finished the stronger side. The Corkmen had the benefit of the gale and rain for the first half and used it well to gain a territorial foothold. This was rewarded with a successful penalty kick, but almost from the restart, a UL Bohs maul gave Ian Costello a drop goal opportunity and he slotted this into the teeth of the gale from outside the ’22’. Crosshaven kept the pressure on UL Bohs and another successful penalty followed. However, some terrific mauling by Richie Feeney, Cathal Parkes, Gary Walsh and Pat Fitzgerald gave Costello the opportunity to get his backline moving. A long cut out pass located the flying David Moloney who burst through and when the cover moved towards the supporting players he cut back inside to touch down beside the posts after a 50 metre run. Costello put over the conversion, and a later penalty. While Crosshaven narrowed the gap with another penalty before the break UL Bohs turned in the happy position of leading 13-9 with wind assistance to come. After the break play was nearly constantly in the Crosshaven half, but strong defence and a succession of penalties helped them keep the attack at bay. However the clinching try when it came was a beauty in the conditions. A series of drives and fantastic handling in the sheeting rain was finished off by Keith Scally collecting a long pass to dive over in the corner. Ian Costello capped an outstanding display with a wonderful conversion. UL Bohs held out comfortably to the final whistle and now await their final opponents. The only disappointment from the UL Bohs viewpoint must be the number of penalties conceded in scoring positions and this is something that should be addressed before the final test.

In the Webb Cup, UL Bohs once again fell to Shannon by the narrow margin of 19-21, with a final conversion attempt to level the game just drifting wide. Played in perfect conditions in Annacotty, this was a very lively game between sides with contrasting strengths. Shannon had a clear dominance in the set pieces while UL Bohs were superior in the handling game. The scores reflected this pattern, as Shannon mauled over twice for tries while UL Bohs achieved two from good back play. Both sides also got tries which owed more to the opportunism of the scorer. Shannon had the benefit of the strong wind in the first half, but UL Bohs scored against the run of play when Mike Reddan made a typical outhalf break, kicked over the fullback and won the race for the touchdown between the posts. The opening was created by a terrific tackle from Conor O’Beirne who was greatly missed when he had to depart at half time. Shannon levelled before the break when they mauled over using their powerful pack. The Shannon forwards maintained the pressure in the second half, and the fast up defence proved effective when a UL Bohs passing move was disrupted and the ball was ripped to give the centre a 60metre run to touch down between the posts. This try was negated soon after as a Shannon passing movement broke down, the ball hopped kindly for Anton Houeys who sprinted home for the try between the posts. Once again the visitors put their faith in the maul and were rewarded with another converted try to give them a 21-14 lead. As the game entered the dying seconds another UL Bohs handling move through Sean Wallace and Colm Likely put Paddy Leyden on a run to get in at the right corner. As the conversion attempt drifted narrowly wide, the ref blew the final whistle. Foiled again.

Congratulations to the 5 UL Bohs players who played on the Irish Universities team which beat the English Universities by 21-10. This was a deserved honour for Ian Hanley, Gary Walsh, Brian Madigan, Richie Feeney and Ryan Hartigan. The extra work on Friday night certainly did not affect the trio who featured again in the Junior Cup on Sunday.

Congratulations also to Nicole Fitzgerald who got her first cap for Ireland when joining Sarahjane Belton, Louise Beamish, Fiona Coghlan, Caroline Mahon, Jeannette Feighery and Mairead Kelly on the team which recorded a historic 18-6 win over Scotland.


CARRICK ON SUIR RFC
Dermot Keyes PRO

Casey Cup: Clonmel 10 Carrick-on-Suir 3

A wholehearted Carrick display wasn’t enough to secure Casey Cup victory on a sticky Sunday in Clonmel when we went down by seven points. During a doggedly competitive fixture, a lack of composure and some silly indiscipline impeded our bid for victory, on a day when there were several excellent performances.

Top of the bill was prop John Phelan, who, not for the first time this season in Carrick colours, demonstrated a magnificent hunger to carry the ball and make the big hits. Never giving less than maximum effort, John leaves nothing behind him on the field of play. He’s a wonderful figurehead for any team, a natural leader and a terrific player to boot.

With Benny Woods and Roger Gough, along with half-backs Emmet Lonergan and David Kiersey also prominent, a special word must be reserved for debutant Marius Kaveckas. Lining out at second centre for most of the fixture, Lithuanian-born Marius had a marvellous opening 70 minutes for Carrick. He made several mighty hits, particularly during an intense second half, when both teams pummelled each other both in the ruck and the loose.

There was a worrying moment towards the end of the fixture when captain Dermot Keyes was flattened (accidentally, it must be pointed out) during a tussle for possession. Thankfully, the worst that Dermot had to contend with was a shiner which left him up for a stand-in part in ‘The Elephant Man’ and some well-considered post-match ‘Rocky’ jibes in the dressing room.

All season long, the minimum that we’ve sought from this team is a committed performance. We have that in every outing. A little more application last weekend and we’d have set ourselves up for a good shot at this trophy. But it was not to be.

Carrick XV: D Power, J Hogan, D Clery; D Keyes (c), M Kaveckas; E Lonergan, D Kiersey; C Bartley, B Woods, J Phelan; R Gough, B Phelan, M Carroll, L Phelan, P Lanigan.
Replacements: R Cullen for J Hogan (45 mins) and J Hogan for D Keyes (60 mins).

Munster Junior Plate action beckons

A glance at www.munsterrugby.ie on Monday morning revealed that our First XV is due to take on Ballincollig in their re-scheduled Munster Junior Plate fixture next weekend.

Kick-off at Tybroughney on Sunday next is 2.30pm. Best of luck to Patrick Collins and his charges in what should be another bruising encounter with our friends from Cork.

On Sunday next in the same competition, neighbours Clonmel take on Old Christians while Waterford City will fancy their chances when hosting Killarney.

Drop us a line!

As always, we’d love to hear from you. So if sat in front of a computer screen, why not email us at carrickrfc@yahoo.ie.


CLONAKILTY RFC
Loosehead PRO

Bulldogs Power Play Prevails

The Bulldog’s great season continued with a hard fought victory over UCC in Cork last Sunday. The win was based on a powerful performance up front where Mike Griffin, Cathal Kirby and captain Mike Murphy dominated throughout the game. Such was the superiority in the tight that Kirby took five balls against the head despite the UCC put-in being fed to the second row every time. The engine room of Jonas Harte and Eamon Walsh was solid and featured prominently in the loose. In the backs Alex O’Mahony was a constant threat at scrum half and his tigerish display was mirrored by brother JD in the centre. Joe Lee was superb at Out Half and his control of the game with the complete arsenal of breaking, kicking and passing was a major factor in the win.

The conditions were appalling with constant driving rain for the entire 80 minutes but The Bulldogs still managed to entertain with open rugby. Weathering the early pressure from UCC Clon applied 10 minutes of their own and were rewarded by a Joe Lee penalty. When UCC first threatened Jonas Harte won a ground ball brilliantly and Alex O’Mahony cleared the danger then five minutes later Cathal Kirby and Joe Lee did the necessary. Good play from Eric Murphy got Clon field position but a knock on seemed to have killed the chance. However the UCC scrum was disrupted on their put in and Brian Blackwell took the loose ball and forced the penalty. The decision not to kick the points was vindicated when from the line out Kirby found Blackwell and the pack drove for the line. Alex O’Mahony broke off the side and found Mike Murphy on his shoulder when needed and the big prop crashed over for the try. Lee’s conversion put Clon out to 10 – 0. The victory was assured when Eric Murphy finished a great move with a try following two quickly taken tapped penalties.

The squad was: Gearoid O’Rourke, John Kingston, JD O’Mahony, Eric Murphy, Mike Buckley, Joe Lee, Alex O’Mahony, Cathal Kirby, Shane Deane, Mike Murphy (Capt), Eamon Walsh, Jonas Harte, Alan Harte, Brian Blackwell, Kenneth O’Regan, Mike Griffin, Shane Walsh, Bartle Murphy and Tim Walsh.

The under 16’s and 18’s will be disappointed at having exited their cups at the hands of Old Christians in each case. While the 16’s can have no complaints, going out 26-10 in Cork, the 18’s will feel robbed going down 5-7 in The Vale. The 14’s however had a great win in Mallow progressing to the next round by 14-0.

As already documented last week, Coach Terry Dillon was 11 short of his starting panel for the Old Belvedere game. This week he appears to be in a better position with just 8 ruled out! However the squad should be stronger after the two week gap and will be hoping to do the double over promotion contenders Greystones. Having shocked ‘Stones earlier in the season in the quarter final of The AIB All Ireland Cup they will need to be at the top of their game to repeat it. The kick off is at the unusual time of 3.30pm on Saturday to facilitate those who may wish to watch the Ireland Italy game at 1.30. The game will be shown in the comfort of the clubhouse upstairs bar and at the pre-match reception in The Emmet Hotel. The reception will have the advantage of a 50" plasma screen in the dining room especially for the occasion. Any supporters wishing to attend the reception should contact the hotel on 023-33394 as numbers are strictly limited.

This Weekend’s Fixtures:

Sat 17: Senior All Ireland League Greystones The Vale 3.30
Under 20 League Castleisland The Vale 2.30

Sun 18: Extra-Firsts County Cup Crosshaven Crosshaven 2.30
Bulldogs J3 League Ballincollig The Vale 2.30
Ladies All Ireland Bowl Semi-Final Waterpark The Vale 2.30

Mon 19: Under 20 League Midleton The Vale 2.30

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