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Club News Weekending March 2nd 2008

28th February 2008 By Munster Rugby

A look at this week’s notes from clubs around the province.

Loosehead PRO

Clon Climb Continues

Suttonians 9 Clonakilty 13

The fight from Suttonians was not unexpected. In relegation trouble the north Dublin side were always going to be a tough assignment given their position and the rivalry that exists between the two clubs. Clon had never won in Sutton and Suttonians had never won in The Vale. However Clon had shaded the encounter on neutral soil when they defeated the Dubliners in Lansdowne Road in the league final two years ago. While the fight may not have surprised Clon the ferocity of it may have taken them by surprise. There was general agreement among the players and supporters from West Cork that this was the biggest side they had ever faced in the AIL and while they hotly contested everything on the field it should be noted, given the injuries that were sustained on both sides, that there was never any suggestion of dirty play from start to finish.
Suttonians came out of the blocks playing against a significant wind with surprising width to their game. With such a big pack it might have been expected that they would keep it tight but they spread it wide at every opportunity. It might have been a contributory factor to their eventual downfall as they moved the ball towards their giant wing as their main game plan. In the beginning and for a large percentage of the match it was Clon that inflicted the damage as treatment for Suttonians players held up play. This however was indicative of the possession and territory that the home side enjoyed and the tackles that the lighter Clon team were forced to make to keep in the game. In the end however this bruising encounter forced the visitors to finish without two of their biggest players in size and effect when David Lombard and Eoin Scannell were forced to retire.  At the end of the game which Clon just about deserved to win it was a source of wonderment as to how Suttonians could be languishing at the bottom of the table and indeed it underlines just how competitive the division is and just how good Clon have become that they could win this game while playing below par and under strength. The division is very tight at top and bottom and indeed the bottom teams have taken the top scalps to underline the fact that there are no bad sides in it but someone has to be top and someone has to be bottom.
It is rare indeed to find both clubs expressing satisfaction with the officials but on this occasion all lauded the performance of referee, John Lacey. His unobtrusive control of the game in general was excellent and in particular his handling of the incident that forced the retirement of Lombard may well have contributed to the fact that happily the big centre is no worse for the experience. His injury was not as bad as it appeared at first but for a while there was huge concern and if not for the quick and professional attention from the referee and the doctor it could have been worse. The club is also grateful to Suttonians for their stewardship, concern and good wishes.
This side just wanted it so much. The commitment on the pitch to each other is matched by the commitment off it both in training and in the sacrifices made to be part of this special time and team. There have been many instances in the past but the latest was the efforts made by Eddie Knowles to assist the effort. This had been designated a free weekend from the start of the season and the Knowles’ had taken the opportunity to take a break in foreign climes. However the postponement and rearrangement of the Suttonians game clashed with their plans. Eddie has always been vital cog in the Clon machine and he selflessly answered the call cutting short his holiday to return for the game. For this the club is grateful but Eddie loves the game and the club and this was shown by his aborted retirement last season and he receives great enjoyment in return. However, it is impossible to convey the sincerity of the thanks due to Deirdre for her cooperation in this. That is where the real sacrifice is to be found and the club is truly grateful for it.

The Clonakilty Haka!
Eddie Knowles Mike O’Hea and Paul Dillon show what it means to be a "Clon Boy"

The benefit of the wind was seen by the magnificent conversion from 50 metres by Gary Cribb of a penalty to give Clon a 3 – 0 lead after fifteen minutes of cut and thrust by both sides but with Suttonians doing most of the thrusting and Clon having to do the cutting to keep them at bay. The amount of possession and territory enjoyed by Suttonians against the wind was worrying but Clon did look dangerous on the counter. One such move across the backs with Derek Dillon typically joining the line at pace had Noel O’Sullivan jinking past the last defenders only to be called back for a forward pass. He wasn’t to be denied, however as minutes later he ran on to a kick ahead to score and put Clon out to 8 – 0.
The first score in the second half was always going to be important and it came to Suttonians following a period of intense pressure. Clon will have been relieved that it only earned three points but now the Dubliners were growing in confidence and there were only two points in it. Despite the size advantage in the pack in particular enjoyed by Suttonians it was out wide on the wings where they posed the biggest threat.
Uncharacteristic misses by Cribb with the boot had the Clon Faithful worried as Suttonians with the wind at their back looked to have the finish of the game in their sights, However Cribb put it all right with a superb try. Breaking from inside his own 22 he made huge ground stepping opponents on his way into the Sutton half. O’Sullivan and Shay O’Donovan were on hand when needed to carry it on before Cribb took the final pass to accelerate past the last defender to score.
The conversion was again missed but Clon had a vital seven-point lead. Sutton were running out of steam but the injury break for Lombard gave them time to recover and with a penalty to narrow the gap with fifteen minutes to go it was going to take a big effort from Clon without captain Lombard and the influential Scannell to hold out. It is to their credit and spirit that they did without ever showing the recent form that has moved them from 15th in the table in December to 7th in February with the chance of bigger things in March to come. The squad was Derek Dillon, Shay O’Donovan, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Noel O’Sullivan, Gary Cribb, Colin Murphy, Eddie Knowles, Hugh O’Neill, Joe Knowles, Eoin Scannell, Mike O’Hea, Aaron Spring, John Darvil, Mike Keohane, Eoin Murphy, Cathal Kirby, John O’Regan, John O’Donnell and Eric Murphy.
The club’s best wishes are extended to neighbours Skibbereen as they face into a historic engagement with Cashel in what is likely to be a winner takes all clash for the Munster Junior League. Kevin O’Regan, a past captain of Clon and a member of the Clon side that won the round-robin series to join the All Ireland League, could possibly be doing the same with Skibbereen as he currently coaches the in-form side. Cashel are a massive obstacle as they have been scoring well all season taking seven try-scoring bonus points. Skibb on the other hand have taken just three from their ten games but they have lost only one game to Cashel’s two. It will be a real cup final! Skibb Capt. Sean O’Neill has helped Clon weather many a storm as a dual status player in the past. Peter Stoutt, Declan and Ray Coppinger came from Skibb to play a huge part in the success that Clon currently enjoys and Denis McCarthy and Clon’s physio, Dave Williams also represented Clon in the AIL. There are many other connections and Clon will have many reasons to look fondly west with best wishes for this game and beyond.

The Under 16s had an impressive win over Old Christians in a friendly last Saturday by 33 – 0
This Weekend’s Fixtures: –
March Sat 1st Seniors All Ireland League Bective Rangers Dublin 2.30 
   Under 16s Cup Skibbereen Skibbereen 11.30 
   Under 14s Cup Bandon Old Chapel 11.00 
On Sunday there will be an Under 12 blitz in The Vale involving a number of clubs at 11.00am

Andrew McNamara PRO

Victory in Templeville road is always one to savour, and with a slight tone of revenge for our league defeat, Sunday’s victory in the AIB cup was very sweet. We were certainly made to work hard for the win despite taking a 13 point lead at one stage in the first half. St Mary’s are a resilient side and always seem to have something in reserve when we play them. The second half was a really tense affair with Mary’s desperately looking for the score that would see them take the lead after they came within a single point of out tally. However, it wasn’t only the home side that were resilient; the disciplined defense during the period that we were under the kosh was exceptional, and when eventually the siege was lifted, Sean Cronin put the result beyond doubt with a try based around his scintillating pace. It was a very satisfying win, but probably the most important aspect of the day was the recovery of Fiach who sustained a rather frightening injury after a high impact tackle just before the half time break. Immediately the seriousness of the situation was recognised and swift and decisive intervention ensured that the situation was well under control. A huge amount of credit must go to club doctor, Darragh Little and physio Damien Mordan for their quick reactions and immediate diagnosis. A few weeks on the sideline for Fiach is a small price to pay. David O’Donovan took over the reigns at No.9 and did exceptionally well given his relative lack of experience in the position while another player in impress was Richie Mullane who is thoroughly justifying his position. A semi final away Galwegians is our reward and that game takes place next Saturday or Sunday week. This Saturday we return to the AIB League when Terenure come to Coonagh for the first time with a 2.30 kickoff.
On Saturday, the Thirds bowed out of the McInerney Cup against the Thomond side they beat in the final of the competition last year. The lads did very well to keep the score to 6-0 playing into the strong breeze in the first half, but unfortunately could not convert their try-scoring chances when they achieved good field positions in the second. The team has shown good potential recently, and will hope for a more successful run in the Webb Cup.
On Sunday the seconds play Garryowen in Dooradoyle in a challenge game with a 2.30m start while also on Sunday the U/20’s play what is probably their most important game of the season, when they travel to play Young Munster in the AIL playoff. This is in essence, a cup game for the lads and defeat will see them exit this season’s competition, but there’s a determination in the camp to reverse the previous result when we played them earlier in the year. The game is scheduled for 2.30 in Clifford Park.
Our Under 13s returned to winning ways out at Annacotty on Sunday when they beat UL Bohemians 19-10 in the North Munster League. One of our best performances of the season saw us score tries from Evan Fitzgerald, Ronan McKenna and Greg O’Shea. Joey Purcell converted two of them. Man of the Match was our hooker, Luke O’Halloran.
 In their other U/13 fixture on Sunday (also against UL Bohemians) we emerged victorious on a scoreline of 12-10.Try scorers here were man of the match Coarie O’Keeffe and Paul Obande, with James Clancy converting one of the tries. They play host to Newcastlewest this Sunday with an 11am start.
Following on from their win over Bruff last week, the U/16’s kept the momentum going when they had another excellent win over Garryowen by 17-15. It was a good solid team performance with no shortage of heart and determination. Captain Keith McManus led from the front and with Darragh Doherty scoring two tries and Danny Foley grabbing one; this was a big boost for the lads. Hopefully they can maintain their good run when they play Ennis in Coonagh this Sunday at 12pm.
Also at home, the U/18’s play St Marys at 12pm.
We’d like to remind anyone that uses our facilities in Coonagh to please adhere to speed limits on the road to the grounds and take great care when driving. Please remember this is a residential area and many people walk along the roads as well as children playing.

Aidan Clifford PRO

Killorglin Rugby Club had mixed fortunes in competition last weekend.  On Sunday, the Senior side were in action against Kilrush in the O’Sullivan Cup.  The team had an appalling start to the game conceding four early tries through terrible defense and soft tackling.  Killorglin trailed 22-0 at half time and faced a huge battle to get back in the game.  However the comeback began in the early stages of the second half and in the 45th minute, Kilrush conceded a penalty on their own line from the pressure.  From the resulting 5 metre penalty, centre Andrew O’Reilly crashed over for a try.  Unfortunately the conversion was missed to leave the score at 22-5.  Killorglin, with momentum gathering crossed the line again seven minutes later.  Full-back Brian Gannon fed the ball to winger Vivian O’Callaghan who burst down the touchline.  He did very well to keep his feet when tackled and fed a great pass to the onrushing lock Andrew Hodson who ran in from 30 metres out and touched down under the posts for an easy conversion for Gannon. The score was now 22-12.  With 16 minutes left in the game, Killorglin crossed again following a piece of individual brilliance from out-half Ronan Curtayne.  He received the ball 30 metres out from scrum half Dave Coffey and dummied a pass to create a gap in the defense, leaving a saunter in under the posts for another seven points and to put the score at 22-19.  Killorglin battled on for the rest of the game trying for the game breaking score, but after a failed drop-goal attempt from Curtayne, could break inside Kilrush’s 22m line and eventually lost out by that 3 point margin.  They now only have one game left in the season, a trip to Presentation in Limerick in the league.
Team:-  1 Karl J Daly (c), 2 Dan Flynn, 3 Ger O’Sullivan, 4 Colm Conway, 5 Andrew Hodson, 6 Mikey Aherne, 7 Tom Healy, 8 Mike Breen, 9 Dave Coffey, 10 Ronan Curtayne, 11 Jodie Riordan, 12 Andrew O’Reilly, 13 Cian Lanigan, 14 Viv O’Callaghan, 15 Brian Gannon.
Subs: – John Twin O’Sullivan, Sean Joy.

The under 13 team was also defeated in their West Munster Cup Semi Final, going down 35-5 to Charleville, after trailing only 7-5 at half time.
However the Under 18 team was in action in the replayed final of the West Munster League against Tralee.  The match was again played in Killarney, and Killorglin travelled there looking to make up for the late try they gave away the week before to force the draw.  The match proved to be as close as expected.  Killorglin this time took the game to Tralee up front, with their forwards carrying ball and gaining hard yards for their backs.  They Killorglin scrum was visibly better and the front row of Barry Sheehan, Stephen Cotter and Michael Breen were every bit as competitive as their rivals, a stark contrast form the previous week.  They turned over two Tralee scrums early in the game and along with the rest of the pack put pressure on the Tralee forwards in open play and won a number of penalties from it.  One of these penalties paid off on 25 minutes when scrumhalf Pa Knightly tool a quick penalty and fed the ball to number 8 Liam Walsh who crashed over for the try.  Luke O’Shea converted to put the score at 7-0, which is how it stayed until the break.  Tralee came back into it in the second half, using their tight forwards game and scored a try in the exact same position as Walsh did in the 1st half.  They converted to tie the game up with 15 minutes remaining.  Lighting was not to strike twice though as Tralee’s indiscipline cost them, conceding a penalty for handling a ball in a ruck.  Killorglin’s captain and outhalf slotted a superb kick to put three points between the teams.  The fitness of the Killorglin team really showed as they spent the last 5 minutes inside the Tralee 22m line and sealed victory for a proud day for the club.  Credit has to go to the entire team to a man and to their coached John Costello and Dermot O’Shea.  They go on to play the winners of North Munster in the semi-final of Munster competition.  Congratulations to them.
Killorglin Rugby Team: – 1 Barry Sheehan, 2 Stephen Cotter, 3 Michael Breen, 4 Shane Costello, 5 Daniel Clifford, 6 Declan Lillis, 7 John James Johnson, 8 Liam Walsh, 9 Pa Knightly, 10 Luke O’Shea (c), 11 Lorca Maher, 12 Rikus O’Connor, 13 Chris O’Sullivan, 14 David O’Sullivan, 15 Noel O’Reilly.
Subs: – Caoinlean Soffer for Declan Lillis.  Unused: -Stephen Mullins, Donagh McGillicuddy, Pa Kilkenny, Mikey Griffin, Liam Griffin, Keelan Foley, Mark Riordan.

Val Byrnes PRO

Saints March On
Munster Junior Plate
St.Senan’s 41 -15 Old Crescent
It was a bitter cold afternoon in "Jimmy Slattery Park" on Sunday 24th.Feb. when Senan’s played host to Old Crescent in the Munster Junior Plate.
The game started well for the Saints with the first score coming after 6 mins. Of play, some tremendous pressure from the Senan’s pack saw Steven Ryan going under the posts for his first try of the day and Senan’s first of 7 tries.  Declan Collins dually converted.  It was 27mins.before the supporters saw the next score on the board,which came from a great try from Ger Hall.  It was just 5 min.later when Old Crescent got their first score of the day when they went over for a try and which was also converted.
Just before half time big Stephan Ryan was over for his second try of the day to leave the score at half time 17 – 7 in Senan’s favour.  The second half saw a few very good darting runs from our full back David Dunne,who was unfortunate not to get a score on the board.  Gerald McNamara opened the scoring with a great try down the wing but was unfortunate with conversion attempt which just skimmed the outside of the post.
Old Crescent got their first score of the second half by way of a penalty after 10 mins.of play,but the Saints responded very quickly with a try from Captain Tony O Brien, which was followed just a few mins. Later with another try for the Saints form Fergal Lawlor which was converted by Gerald McNamara.
After 35mins.of play we saw a super try from winger Brian Collins in the corner which was also converted by Gerald to give a scoreline of 41 – 10. But Old Crescent weren’t done just yet as they got a burst of pace and were over the line for a great try to leave the final Score
Senan’s 41- 15 Old Crescent.
St.Senan’s will now play Bruff in the quarterfinal at home on the 9th.of March at 2.30 in "Jimmy Slattery Park". All support is welcome.

Denis Wade PRO

Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. lose against U.C.C. in the Quarter Finals of the Munster Junior Cup.
U.C.C. 15 Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. 14

After excellent performances and results against Young Munster and Ennis in the previous rounds, Kilfeacle and District RFC were drawn away against U.C.C. RFC in the Quarter Finals of the Munster Junior Cup. Although our form in this cup run has been showing signs of improvement everyone, from players, selectors, coaches and supporters, knew that if we were to take something from this game we would have to perform to the best of our ability as a team and not have a repeat of the previous weeks league defeat. When you reach this stage of the competition you tend to build up a head of steam and the squad as a whole, realize that three good results and you raise the cup. On Sunday 24th of February the team produced a great performance but alas didn’t achieve the desired result.
In U.C.C. on Sunday the 24th of February "Boys in Blue" showed their intent from the start and the large crowd of supporters were in buoyant form. As with many games in this competition the opening 20 minutes are a cagey affair as both sets of players test and probe their opposition. Eventually the game fell into a pattern which was the team with the advantage of the strong breeze having the Lion’s share of possession and territorial advantage. In the first half this was the homeside as backs and forwards combined well to build phase after phase of good play and maintained control of the ball for long periods. This dominance was reflected on the scoreboard when they went ahead when they kicked a penalty. Kilfeacle are resilient and in a matter of minutes Michael Collins kicked them level when after some good play they earned themselves a penalty in a kickable position. UCC again put together some good play and finally breached a stubborn Kilfeacle defence to score an unconverted try, which left the scoreboard reading  8 – 3 with half time looming. However once again Kilfeacle showed their determination and in the dying minutes of the half earned themselves 2 penalties one  Michael Collins kicked and the other he missed by a matter of inches, and so the tale of nearly and almost began for the visitors, a tale unluckily for Kilfeacle that would end in tears! At half time the score line read 8 – 6 to the home side.
The second half started with Kilfeacle putting all the pressure on the U.C.C. defence. U.C.C. defended well but could not halt the onslaught and when Michael Collins kicked another penalty, Kilfeacle edged ahead for the first time in the game. However this was short lived and would be the last time they would lead. The travelling supporters were expectant of more scoring especially with the aid of the breeze but it was the homeside that scored next with a converted try. Now the pressure was on Kilfeacle to respond and do so rapidly, as time was not on our side. Respond they did and after a gargantuan team effort, Stephen Flood went over in the corner. The score line now read 15 – 14 in favour of the college students so the subsequent conversion attempt was vital. It was a massive ask, some days the sail over but on this day it didn’t. There was still time and Kilfeacle gave it their all and came very close, but as I said previously on the day our luck wasn’t in. When the final whistle sounded a spent band of players wearing the blue of Kilfeacle stood dejected and wondered how this one got away?
On Sunday 24th of February 2008 Kilfeacle’s first team stepped on to the pitch in Cork thinking that their faith was in their hands and that if they gave their all and performed as a team to the standard they are capable of they would stride off that patch of green as victors. 70 minutes later they realized that the only ingredient they lacked on the day was luck! They gave their all and did the club proud, every single man, but our hopes of winning this year’s Munster Junior Cup died in the celebrations of our opponents. However something tells men that this bunch of players have many, many more chapters to write. We would like to thank everyone who travelled on the day and all from U.C.C. RFC, thank them for a good game and wish the club the best for the rest of the season.
Our first team is back in competitive action next week in the Munster Junior League for our final league game at home to local rivals Clanwilliam RFC with kick off at 2.30pm on Sunday the 2nd of March. The team are delighted by the amount of support they receive and hope that their supporters will continue to come along and support the "Boys in Blue".

Kilfeacle seconds win at home.
Kilfeacle R.F.C.     17
Newcastle west R.F.C. 11
On Friday 22nd of February 2007, Kilfeacle and District R.F.C.’s second’s side welcomed Newcastle-West to Morrisssey Park in the second round of the Webb Cup and after a tough struggle were victorious. Kilfeacle displayed great courage and commitment for the game and this was by far their best display this season. Best for Kilfeacle on the day were John Coughlan, Michael Shanahan and Mark Burke. All 20 of the squad played on the night and all can be proud of their efforts.

Under 18’s have an impressive away win in East Munster Cup.
Waterford City R.F.C. 15 Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. 26
The Under 18’s attentions have now turned to the East Munster Under 18’s Cup. Their campaign continued with a very impressive win over Waterford City RFC. It was another all round strong squad display with players such as Mark Bourke, Christy Ryan, Eddie Meehan, Leon Tolan, Willie Reidy, Billy Quinn, and John Slattery impressing on the day for Kilfeacle.
Team coaches said they were delighted with the result and looked forward eagerly to progressing even further in the competition. They said that the season so far has been fulfilling for everyone and the team has progressed in leaps and bounds. They thanked Waterford City for an enormously entertaining game played in only the best spirit.

Kilfeacle Under 14s lose at home to Nenagh
Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. 12 Nenagh R.F.C. 15 
The under 14s team were on form and hungry for success when they played  Nenagh RFC in the league, because of this put in a good performance but on the day they could not secure a great victory against a well-marshalled and strong Nenagh team. 
The team coach said "I was delighted with the effort and endeavour displayed by our squad on the day, we gave a good account of ourselves and could have won. Nenagh on the day played well and did enough to earn their win and we wish them well for the rest of the season. I thought that all of the squad had excellent games and those who shone in a team were Oisin O’Meara, Vincent O’Muruchu, and Breeno at fullback. We can sustain and even build on this performance as long as we have a consistent turnout for training".
Under 10’s
Kilfeacle 04 Neanagh A 01
Kilfeacle 08 Thurles 01
Kilfeacle 07 Nenagh B 0
Kilfeacle under 10’s entertained both Thurles and Nenagh last Sunday. They won all their matches. Captain was Cian Ryan and he led by example from Scrum-half for the first time this year the ball was spun wide at every opportunity and as a result tries were scored. We had some great performances from Robert Wade, Jonathan Wade, Jamie Heuston, Josh Ryan and Michael Ryan.
Under 9’s
Kilfeacle 03 Nenagh A 01
Kilfeacle 07 Thurles 02
Kilfeacle 09 Nenagh B 0
The under 9’s won all their matches as well. The standard of rugby was a joy to watch for boys so young. They are improving with every match so training every Friday from now on is a must. The captain for these matches was Eoin Ryan who had a fine game. Those for mention were Harry Ryan, Eoin Kelly, Sean Glasheen, Michael O Brien, Christopher Irwin and Davy Byron.

Under 8’s and 7’s
There were 3 games played by our Kilfeacle U8s and U7s last Sunday on the Hill in Kilfeacle. The results of the 3 Games were:

Kilfeacle U8s  6
Nenagh U8s 2
Kilfeacle U7s 5
Nenagh U7s 2 
Kilfeacle U7s 0
Thurles U7s 3

The young players again did themselves and the Kilfeacle club proud. The work rate and effort was exemplary. Also it was great to see so many supporters of the young blues turn up at the ‘Hill’. Notable players for Kilfeacle on the day in the U8s were Mark Compton, Byron O’ Neill, Jack Ryan, Jake Flannery, Andy Byrnes, John O’ Rourke and Shane Farrell. Notable players for Kilfeacle on the day in the U7s were Kevin Fitzgerald, Kevin Hally, Alan Flannery, Alex Ryan, Ben Quinn, Cormack Ryan, Timothy Clarke and Tony Byron.


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