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Club News Weekending March 4th 2007

26th February 2007 By Munster Rugby

Club news, views and reviews from around the province

Pat Rickard, PRO

Another successful week on the playing fields!

With the 1st XV not in action due to the 6 Nations the focus this week shifted to the 2nd and 3rd XVs who were both in cup action against Young Munster on Sunday. Unfortunately for both club and their members and supporters the games were played at the same time in two different venues with the 2nds North Munster Cup game played in Rosbrien and the Webb Cup 2nd round game played at Tom Clifford Park. It would have been nice to play them at the same venue.

The 2nds XV were hamstrung due to a combination of events they were left with only 14 players to fulfil the fixture. However the fourteen which took the field gave it all and did the club proud. Twice we were in excellent positions in the first half close to the line only for the opposition to intercept a pass and run the length of the field to score tries. Despite these set backs, our team continued to power forward but the extra man which Young Munster had proved to be critical on more than one occasions and they ran out comfortable winners in the end on a score line of 17-0. This just leaves the Munster Junior Plate to be contested and our opponents in the next round are Cashel with no date as yet fixed for that game.

The 3rd XV had prepared well all week for the match and this was to prove crucial at various points during the game. It was a game high in high spirit and with fierce determination by both side but in the end our team just did enough to book their passage to the next round by 11 points to 5. Scorers for Old Crescent were Anthony Geoghnan with a try and three penalty goals from Paul Mc Donagh. They now face Galbally at home on Sunday at 2.30pm in the Quarter Final of the competition.

The 1st XV return to AIL action this weekend with the long trip to Belfast to play Malone on Saturday at 2.30pm.

At under age level last weekend, the under 8 and under 10s both took part in club days with the under 8s playing UL Boh’s and Thomond and the under 10s playing Thomond. Both squads put in excellent performances. This weekend it is the turn of the under 11s to play in competitive action when they travel to Tom Clifford Park to play in the Hoare Cup against Young Munster. The under 9/ 12 s are also in club day action as well. Training for all other groups commences at
9.45 am.

The 3rd XV is running a table quiz on Friday March 2nd at 8.30pm in the club house We would ask as many of the members as possible to support this event.

Christopher Barry PRO

Musgrave Park Cork is the venue for the first of our last four AIL games when we face Dolphin at 2.30 on Saturday. Nothing short of a win will suffice as we attempt to keep pace with the leaders. Games between the sides have always been close and the usually uncompromising Dolphin pack will no doubt try to impose themselves. We will have to wait on a number of players either nursing injuries or on Celtic League duty. Our improved performance against UL Boh’s has put the squad in the right fame of mind and, weather permitting, the ball may get plenty of width.

The Munster Junior Cup quarter finals will be staged on Sunday. In arguably the tie of the day we play our old rivals Cork Con in Dooradoyle at 3.00. We have had some epic encounters with the boys from Temple Hill and odds-on we will have more of the same before the winners advance to the penultimate stage of the competition.

The NML U20 Final played in dreadful conditions in Thomond Park last Friday under lights produced a game worthy of the great tradition between Shannon and Garryowen. Despite the soap-like ball and driving rain, the players kept the fair sized crowd entertained from start to finish. After two earlier misses, Willie Staunton kicked a penalty and for a time we held the upper hand. Once Shannon got up a head of steam they looked dangerous and sustained pressure close to our 22 saw their out half Eamon Lane unlock our defence for a try. The missed conversion could have proved costly but a further Lane penalty put them comfortably in front 8-3 at the break. The second half was played at a fair old lick. Our pack came more and more into the game but the concession of needless penalties often turned attack into defence. Shannon’s marginally crisper rucking was offset by a more formidable light-blue lineout in which Conor McNamara and Liam Guiry were outstanding. We managed to roll the ball over after tremendous pressure on their line only to be pinged for not releasing. Both sides had opportunities to increase their score but for the final pass being spilled on contact. Shannon could have wrapped up the game with 5 minutes to go but an uncharacteristic miss from a penalty gave our boys renewed hope. From there to the finish we put the ball wide and with some fresh legs making a serious impact, the excitement mounted. A classic lineout take on half way saw the ball move the width of the field and left wing Emmet Harty scorched a number of tacklers on the outside to touchdown. Willie Staunton’s conversion could have won the game but the flags stayed down. A replay looked the likely and fairest outcome to a tremendously sporting game but there was to be one final twist in the tale. From the kick-off the ball eventually found touch. The resultant lineout to Shannon saw the ball thrown long and in the scramble for possession the referee awarded a penalty. Eamon Lane showed great composure to put Shannon 11-8 in front and almost immediately the final whistle sounded. Our players and coaches were understandably disappointed to lose at the death but can be proud of their efforts on the night. Barry McNamara, Michael Sherry and Ben Rowley were excellent in the front row. Tadgh Nihill, Jason Quinlivan and replacements Sean Hogan and Darragh O’Brien also did well. A special word of thanks to the Shannon Coaches Colm Tucker and Gerry Casey who visited our dressing room after the game. Their words of consolation and encouragement made the pill less bitter to swallow. A top-class sporting gesture. Please note U18 training continues on Friday nights at 7.00 in Dooradoyle.

In a hard fought Webb Cup game in Dooradoyle our 3rdXV had to go to extra time before getting the better of a strong Presentation side 26-16. The teams had finished level 16-16 at the end of normal time. We controlled the first half and led 13-6 at the break, thanks to a typical driving try by John Mark Griffin converted by Dave Madden. Damien Fahey dropped a goal and Dave Madden also added a penalty. We lost our composure in the second half and Pres gradually got back into the game to level 13-13 with 5 minutes to go. Dave Madden kicked a penalty to edge us back in front only for the Pres out-half Liam Dooley to tie the scoring with a fine drop goal. Extra time provided the necessary wake up call for our players who responded with a 15 metre maul at the end of which the ever-reliable Kevin Sheahan touched down in the corner. In the second period of extra time Finnian Chesser broke away from a maul and made the line to ensure victory and a place in the next round. Our young guns Darragh O’Brien and Eoin Breen acquitted themselves well and Mark Hanrahan led his pack by example.

Congratulations to Ireland on their fantastic performance in Croke Park last Saturday. It was a truly emotional and memorable occasion. Well done to all the players, coaches and supporters on one of the Nation’s finest-ever days.

Andrew McNamara PRO

Another week and another trophy. February has certainly been a good month all round for the club and one hopes that the good times continue. The U/20’s were hot on the heels of the Thirds in winning a final last Friday evening in Thomond Park when they beat Garryowen in the North Munster League final. There must be something about our finals this season as both so far have been nail bitters right up to the final whistle. It looked as of we were heading for a reply after Garryowen drew level late in the second half , but deep in injury time a well engineered penalty gave Eamon Lane the glory as he calmly slotted over the posts. Played in a constant deluge of rain that done little justice to either sides abilities it was a credit to both sides that they tried to play enterprising rugby at every opportunity. The greasy ball ensured handling was difficult and mistakes were inevitable. The lads were a little slow to start and were fortunate not to be behind early in the game; however they slowly came to terms with the conditions and began to exert an impressive dominance, especially upfront. Eamon Lane was on song with a penalty before he crossed for our only try of the game. Despite the supremacy we never stretched our lead enough to be deemed comfortable and it was a facet that would come back to haunt as the game came to its conclusion. In fairness to Garryowen their equalising try was a fantastic effort, but if the conversion had went over their lead would hardly have reflected the proceedings. As it turned out it drifted wide and a draw was anticipated, however a lengthy period of injury time ensued which had the dedicated spectators on edge. As it was throughout the game, our forwards paved the way for the winning penalty and justifiably we were crowned North Munster Champions for the third year in succession. It was tremendous effort from everyone involved in the U/20 set up and an effort that reflects their commitment throughout the season thus far. Whilst this title may not be the ultimate goal for the lads, it’s certainly a huge boost for the impending AIL conference playoffs. One loss in the entire season is the only tick in the negative column and they’ve shown their considerable character since that. It’s also worth mentioning the loyal support that the lads receive and it’s a support I know is appreciated. Friday evenings win meant that the lads qualify for the Munster Final which takes place this Saturday in Coonagh at 12.30 against Highfield.
That game sets the tone for what is probably the biggest and most important weekends on the playing front for some time with finals, semi finals and crunch league games all taking place.

Following the U/20’s game in Coonagh, the Thirds will be hoping to take another giant step towards their ambitions of a clean sweep when they take on Thomond in the final of the McInerny cup at 2.30. With the Gleeson league safely in the bag, Pat Mc Loughlin’s men will need to continue their good form into this game. Thomond are always strong and will prove a most difficult challenge.

Thomond Park hosts its last game prior to redevelopment when we face an "away "AIB league game against UL/Boh’s. It’s entirely fitting that the two tenants of the famous venue will be the last to play there and memories of some great games between the sides will be relived before the kick-off. There’s probably a section of Munster’s band wagon that have no cognisance of the history that both Shannon and UL/Boh’s have in Thomond Park. Long, long before the professional era both our great clubs had many a good day in Thomond Park and indeed have continued to have them since the new era. It will no doubt be a nostalgic occasion for the members and former players of both clubs with memories of many a nights hard slog on the back pitch, knee deep in muck training under the dimmest of lights. Great days indeed, but for the current crop of players the focus will concentrate solely on winning the AIB league game on Saturday. UL/Boh’s have proved themselves worthy of their consistent top four statuses and with a win over us already this season in the Charity cup final they will be afforded the utmost respect. I can only imagine that there will be no repeat of the last two league meetings when we notched up comfortable wins and with the winners taking a big step towards a playoff place it should be a grand finale to the old Thomond Park.

On Sunday it’s the turn of the seconds to take centre stage when they face Crosshaven on the quarter final of the Munster Junior cup. After two away trips and two defeats in recent years to the Co. Cork coastal town a home tie is most welcome. It’s a monumental task ahead of the lads, but one with which they can approach with confidence after their displays so far. Kick off is at 2.30 in Coonagh and please come along to support the team.

Also on Sunday the ladies have an important All Ireland cup game against Highfield at 1.30 in Coonagh. The U/14’s continued their impressive league form when they had another comfortable win over St Mary’s. With the wind in their favour the game was won before half time when they lead by 31 -0, but a valiant effort from St Mary’s in the second half kept the scoring chances to a minimum. Try scores for Shannon were by, Peter McGann, Raymond Barron, Cormac Ryan, Brian Danagher, Keith Woods, Donagha Reidy and Keith White.

There was also big wins for the U/16’s and U/18’s against Newcastle west and St Mary’s respectively. This Sunday the 18’s are at home to Ennis at 12.15 while the 16’s play UL/Boh’s at 11am also in Coonagh. The U/13’s are away to Ennis while the U/12 blacks host a blitz and the U/12 Blues are away in Bruff. Also away are the U/10’s who travel across to Annacotty. Two of our U/16 players have been included in the Munster development squad. Craig Phayer and Luke O’Dea have being playing fantastic rugby all season and their selection is well deserved. Well done lads.

A mention must also go to all the Shannon players who wore the international jersey last weekend. Each and every one of them played their part in one of this country’s most historic sporting weekends. The AIB club international set the tone for the weekend with Dave Quinlan captaining the side and Andrew Thompson and Andrew Finn playing crucial roles in the victory and off the field Gallimh, Ducky and Geoff ensured a Shannon ethos was instilled in the squad. And then came Saturday when the whole nation was lifted with probably the best Irish Performance in generations. Marcus Horan, Peter Stringer and Jerry Flannery were the pride of Shannon on the field while Niall O’Donovan was no less pivotal in the win. Well done and thanks to everyone.

The Club draw is still ongoing and we remind all those who received tickets in the post to do their best to sell them. No one needs reminding how vital this fundraising effort is in the development of the club, so please support it.

Finally another reminder to keep voting for Meave O’Donovan in RTE’s You’re A Star. For those following the show last weeks close shave is a reminder that Meave needs the continued support of all in Shannon. As they say "She’s one of our own" so keep voting Meave.

Loosehead PRO

Old Belvedere A Big Challenge

What a great day. What a great match. What a great team. What a great win.

I refer of course to the expected comments of the faithful leaving The Vale THIS SATURDAY after Clonakilty will have defeated Dublin’s runaway All Ireland League leaders, Old Belvedere. Last Saturday, in Croke Park, Ireland saw off the challenge of perfidious Albion, the reigning world champions, with a disciplined and physical display from the pack that set the stage for a magnificent backline to weave their magic. It was so reminiscent of Clonakilty rugby that any one who wants more of the same should ensure they are in the ground well before 2.30pm on Saturday.

In assessing their chances of finishing top of the league the IRFU press release suggests that Belvo will soften up the West Cork Boys with Greystones finishing them off. This is the full text of the release:
"Old Belvedere have won all six aways so far this season and have two more left, one to west Cork for the first time and one just around the corner; will arrive in Clonakilty before Greystones do and should soften up the Co. Cork men; have too much ammunition for Bective at the moment and will put Malone to the sword.
Forecast: Almost certain to be promoted after nine long seasons in Div. Two. Whether they finish atop the table or not, depends on how they and Greystones get on in west Cork".

The arrival of Dublin’s Old Belvedere in town this weekend will therefore be seen as the biggest challenge to date for the West Cork side in The AIB All Ireland League since joining the senior ranks in 2001. So far this season coaches Terry Dillon and Declan Coppinger have never been able to select from a full squad and this weekend is no exception. The Dubliners will travel in great confidence well aware of this fact and also buoyed by the fact that they are at full strength as they have been virtually all season.

The facts make for uncomfortable reading. On the debit side from a Clon perspective they are first in the table and have enjoyed 100% success in their six away games so far this season including four to Munster. They have won their last eleven Div. Two matches and have collected a bonus point for scoring four or more trys in four of their last five league games. They have a punishing kicker in Richie Murphy with 78 points so far and a prolific try scorer in Kevin Barden with 11 trys to date.

On the credit side for Clon it is Belvo’s first visit to The Vale and although the visitors have a 100% record in Munster this season it has not always been like that. They will play their 80th AIB AIL fixture this weekend and will be looking for only their 38th victory. Clon have a fantastic record at home against Leinster clubs in the league. Of the 19 played to date they have only lost two. This is the fifth of six homes to Leinster clubs this season with no losses recorded and they have the best Munster clubs record at home to clubs from Leinster. Leinster clubs do not like it in The Vale!

Clon are 3rd in the table and will want to ensure that they maintain their top-four championship play off spot. The West Cork side have conceded the least points, 143, and the least tries, 15, in Div. Two since this League season began. Gary Cribb’s unfortunate injury has meant that his 60 points scored might have exceeded Murphy’s 78 if he had played as many games. John O’Donnell’s six trys is also impressive in that context as he also missed games.

Old Belvedere will be red-hot favourites to clinch the league title by beating the locals but if Clon rugby history teaches us anything it is to never underestimate the fighting qualities of the West Cork men when the chips are down. Motivation will not be a problem. A huge crowd is expected for this glamorous tie with a massive invasion expected from Dublin 4. Extra car parking and refreshment facilities will be available on the day. Kick off is at 2.30 but early attendance is recommended.

Last weekend the only fixture due to the big game in Croke Park was the under 14s. This side full of talent recorded a great 34 – 5 win over Cork Constitution.

This weekend’s fixtures:
Sat 3
Senior- All Ireland League- Old Belvedere- The Vale- 2.30am
U20- Cup- Bandon- Bandon- 2.30pm
U18- Cup- Old Christians- The Vale- 11.30am
U16- Cup- Crosshaven- Crosshaven- 11am

Sun 4
Extra First- Cork Junior League- UCC- The Vale- 3pm


Clare Garda Siochana U14 Invitational Cup Competition
March 19th 2007
St. Senans RFC, Shannon

The inaugural Clare Garda Siochana U14 Invitational Cup Competition will take place on March 19 2007 at St Senans RFC, Shannon. The competition is being organised and run by St. Senans RFC, and the club are delighted to be involved. St. Senans RFC have in the last two season completed the development of two super playing pitches and the 1st phase of their clubhouse development. Eight clubs will play for the Cup and Plate that are kindly sponsored by the Clare Garda Siochana. Local Members the Garda Siochana are kindly contributing their time to attend and assist on the day. The under-age committee of St Senans RFC lead by Hugh Corcoran (Youth Officer) are working closely with the local garda representative, Noel McMahon to ensure that this event day will be memorable and successful. This is to be an annual event held at St Senans RFC. The competition kicks off at 10am and it is hoped that a large group of spectators, friends and family will come and support their teams.

The clubs invited to attended are:
Kilrush RFC, Ennis RFC, Scarriff RFC, Newcastlewest RFC, Bruff RFC, Kilfeacle RFC, Newport RFC

Denis Ryan PRO

The 1st XV got a break to watch Ireland’s historic day in Croke Park, but this weekend it’s all action again in the crucial game against Shannon. Our co-tenants have set very high standards in making records in the AIL, and with both sides level on points, this is a crucial match in terms of play-off places. We hope to see all our supporters in Thomond Park for what should be an excellent contest. We wish a speedy recovery to Tom O’Donnell who suffered a hand injury in the Ireland U-20 win over England.

Meanwhile, the Second XV head to Skibbereen for the next round of the Junior Cup. The bus leaves the Arena in UL at 9am and all support will be welcome.

The U-20s met Galwegians in the play off stages of the AIL and recorded a 22-6 win in Annacotty. However, the final scoreline does not do justice to the Galwaymen who fought right to the end. Possessed of a huge pack, and favoured by the strong wind in the first half, the visitors went into a 6-0 lead, and spent most of the time in the UL Bohs territory. However, the home side got back into the game right on the break when Myles Riordan slipped through a gap, and combined with David Moloney and Ross Butler to put Ed Torrie in at the corner. The 5-6 deficit was not a problem, such was the strength of the wind, and with the UL Bohs pack holding a decided advantage in the tight where the front row of Patrick O’Regan, Sean Henry and Gary Walsh were awesome, it looked as if the home side would pull away. However, Wegians defended well, and while Ed Torrie crossed the line again, he was pulled back for a forward pass. He had barely left the field with a shoulder injury, when replacement Keith Scully was put over in the corner following another powerful scrum. Ahead at last, UL Bohs could breathe a little easier, and the forward power came to the fore once again when a good maul ended with Paul Grennell credited with the touchdown. In the final action David Moloney dispossessed a Galwegians player in the UL Bohs ’22’ and sprinted downfield to claim a converted try between the posts.

For the second week in a row UL Bohs 3rds lost by the historic score of 19-16, with Killorglin victors this time in the quarter final of the J2 League. However, while the Gleeson League Final against Shannon could have gone either way, this was a game which UL Bohs should have won with ease. Ahead 16-0 at the break thanks to tries from Conor O’Beirne and Damian Trimble, with a penalty and drop goal from Mike Reddan, UL Bohs proceeded to throw the advantage away in the second half.

The U-14 Hawks just edged out Old Crescent by 7-5. Recent encounters have been very close and this match in Annacotty on Sunday proved no different as the half time score 0-0 shows. With the wind in our backs in the second half UL Bohs started off very bright and looked like scoring early on. However Old Crescent, after going through a number of phases, scored in the corner. After this it was all the Hawks but play was littered with errors especially close to the line and it looked like it was not going to be our day. With 3 minutes remaining man of the match Enda Carroll finally scored in the corner. For the second week in a row Barry Neville held his nerve from the sideline to knock over a superb conversion. The pack was very game and all played well. In the backs, Brian Long and Neil Cronin excelled. The U-11s hosted 2 teams from Coolmine and one from Bruff in the University grounds on Sunday 18th, but it was back to Annacotty last Sunday when Shannon came with 3 teams. This was a very competitive meeting, and assisted the coaches in their preparations for the Naas All Ireland Invitational Tournament at the end of March. The U-8 had two blitzes, with one group heading for Newport. The first game was against the hosts. They were big and strong and well drilled, but we managed to squeeze past them with some superb scores. Early tries from Conor Hayes(2), Mike Gorman(2) and Ger Clancy with a great driving try gave us a 5-4 lead and right at the end, David Kennedy beat virtually every player on the Newport team to score a wonderful try to leave the final score at 6-4 to UL Bohs. Young Munster had two teams, with UL Bohs winning the first game easily. Finn Burke scored a couple of tries along with Conor Hayes & Mike Gorman. Conall McAteer who has just returned from injury also put in a huge amount of hard work and Joe Griffin was outstanding and made some fabulous tackles. The stronger of the two Young Munster teams were up next and we led by two Conor Hayes tries to one going in to the last minute, when Munsters scored the equalising try with the final play of the game. Ballyhoura Hawks were next up and scored the first try, but the Conor Hayes and Mike Gorman double act again rescued the day. Hugh Bartley was in great form and kept making tackles right to the end. The final score to UL Bohs was 6 to 1. The U-8 Lions played Old Crescent in their first game and won by 2 tries. The next game was against Newcastlewest and again UL Bohs were too strong. The final game was against Thomond and this was the hardest match the side has ever experienced. The opposition excelled at rucking and recycling, so it was no surprise when they cut through for the opening try. UL Bohs raised their game and Paul got through for a great try, but Thomond roared back and got another touchdown. As time ran out, David picked up and crossed for a great equalising try. Full report on all the games on www.ulbohs.com. We would remind all members of the Table Quiz taking place in The Arena Bar, UL, Friday 2nd May at 8pm. Full details on website.

Dermot Keyes PRO

Firsts and seconds in action this Sunday
Both our First and Second XVs are in action this Sunday at Tybroughney and will hope to build on our recent success at Kinsale when we emerged with a fantastic two-point victory in the Munster Junior Plate. The Firsts are back in the thick of Plate battle this weekend when they take on Ballincollig in a game scheduled for a 2.30pm kick-off. We’ve enjoyed several close encounters with the Cork club in recent seasons and will fancy our chances of progressing if we replicate the intensity of the Kinsale display, without the backchat, of course! The seconds get the action underway at noon on Sunday next when they go head to head against Dungarvan in the Casey Cup. Having won in Dungarvan earlier this season, the Seconds will be anxious to get back to winning ways after a couple of narrow reversals to Fermoy and Kilfeacle in their past two outings. It’s essential that we have a big turnout from all of our available players. The rugby season is a relatively short one so one doesn’t see why each and every player shouldn’t be chomping at the bit for action. We have a chance to finish our season on a winning note, so let’s take it. Best of luck to both teams this Sunday.

Cheltenham Fundraiser
This year, Carrick RFC, with the aid of Lottery funding, erected new floodlights at Tybroughney. We will now be able to train and play games under lights. This advancement has made a huge difference to all at the club and will greatly benefit the 70-plus under 8s, 10s and 12s, and the 20 under 14s, 25 under 16s and the 19 under 18s. Our annual Cheltenham Races competition which is the most important fundraiser we run each year. This fundraiser is vital to the continuation of the club as it funds the ongoing running costs of the club as well as contributing to the cost of the new floodlights. We expect all members to buy a ticket for themselves, and to sell two tickets to acquaintances outside the club. By buying one and selling two we are maximising the fundraising ability of this event and therefore you are playing an active part in the continued development of Carrick RFC. The competition will run over the four days of the Cheltenham Race festival, from Tuesday the 13th to Friday, March 16th. Entry allows you to choose one horse for each of the first four races on each of the four days of the festival. Points are allocated for first, second and third places and the person with most points after the four days receives €1500, with €300 for second and €200 for third overall. There is also a daily top score prize of €200. The entry fee which remains at €40 represents good value for money and is payable to any committee member.

Juvenile Blitz
We travel to the grounds of Waterford City RFC on Sunday next, March 4th for an underage blitz where players aged seven to 12 will compete in the colours of Carrick, Dungarvan and of course our Kilbarry hosts. Best of luck to our young players, who have enjoyed their blitz outings enormously this season.

Email Carrick Rugby
As always we’d love to hear from you on anything relating to Carrick RFC or the game we love via email at carrickrfc@yahoo.ie Get typing!

Aidan Clifford PRO

Killorglin Rugby Club made their first ever trip to Limerick in Munster competition on Sunday last, to play their eagerly awaited Munster Junior 2 Quarter Final against UL Bohemians in Annacotty. Following a recent run of form, scoring 164 points (25 tries) in their last three games, Killorglin were confident and by no means scared of playing a huge club in the home of rugby.

However it was Bohs who started the strongest, with first a penalty and then a superb drop goal in the opening 10 minutes to put them 6-0 ahead. The offloading in the tackle by the home team was clinical and this quick tempo play gave the opportunity to their openside flanker to cross the line after 15 minutes. The conversion was missed to leave the score 11-0 to the hosts. Ten minutes later, disaster struck as a great break from the centres for Bohs put them through with a two-on-one on the 22. The winger finished off the fine move and scored the try, with the conversion missed again to put the score at 16-0. It stayed like that until the half time whistle blew.

Killorglin came out in the 2nd half with a huge mountain to climb. However, in true style, they held their heads up and raised the intensity of their performance. The game looked like it was going against Killorglin until the 60th minute when fantastic handling through the back-line got the ball to the full-back Paul O’Connor, who held his nerve and gave a slick pass to wing Jody Riordan who touched the ball down in the corner. The conversion was missed and the score was 16-5 with 20 mins to play. Then, directly from the restart, a handling error from the Bohs centre was pounced on by Killorglin flanker Greg Bird who hoofed the ball forward into the Bohs in-goal area. The race for the line was won by classy centre Kieran Crowley who dived on the ball to score a try. The touchline conversion was kicked by Paul O’Connor to put the score at 16-12.

An amazing personal second half performance by O’Connor was then capped when he finished off a great cross-field move to touch the ball down in the corner, and converted himself fantastically to put the visitors ahead by three points. They held out for the remaining ten minutes to win in an unbelievable comeback with the final score standing quite fittingly at 19-16. Every Player played out of their skins to secure the win, but special mention is due to full-back Paul O’Connor, whose solid hands and near-clinical kicking raised the game of the entire team. Congrats to the lads, who look forward to a probable trip to Bantry this coming weekend.

Killorglin Team:- 1 KJ Daly, 2 JP Kissane, 3 J ‘Twin’ O’Sullivan, 4 C Conway, 5 C Stephens, 6 R Healy, 7 G Birdthistle, 8 B ‘Fox’ O’Sullivan, 9 D Coffey, 10 R Curtayne (c), 11 J Riordan, 12 A O’Reilly, 13 K Crowley, 14 T West, 15 P o’Connor.
Sub:- V O’Callaghan for West (75′)

Andrew McNamara PRO

North Munster U/20 final
Shannon 11 Garryowen 8

Just a week after Shannon’s third’s opened the clubs silverware account, it was the turn of their U/20 side to land a trophy for the shelf when, as with the thirds, they won in dramatic fashion. The North Munster league may not be the premier competition at this grade, but when it’s a final, and against Garryowen then the significance of the rewards become apparent as the game unfolds.

The dazzling lights of Thomond Park were turned on for the last time before the redevelopment, although the pitch will host a few more games before it finally ceases operations. Illuminating the pitch, the lights also gave a clear observation of the constant deluge of rain that the players were forced to content with. Mistakes aplenty, but thoroughly excusable in a game that had few scoring opportunities. Garryowen missed some early penalties before Shannon got in gear and began to dominate upfront. Their maul was effective and paved the way for Outhalf Eamon Lanes points haul.

Guilty of a few misjudged penalty attempts himself, Lane scored when it mattered and his try and penalty in the first half edged Shannon ahead. The conditions were hardly conducive to flowing rugby, but both sides tried with varying degrees of success. Mike Kinsella and Richie Mullane were always likely to threaten Garryowen’s line and Lanes try from neat work by his colleagues. Garryowen never looked likely to cross Shannon’s line throughout the first half but a much more threatening approach in the second half meant Shannon vigilance would be tested. The rain never stopped and if anything intensified.

The game was entering the final stages with Shannon 8-3 to the good when a brilliant sweeping move from Garryowen brought play from deep in their own ’22 and over the Shannon’s line to give the light blues an opportunity at an unlikely victory. The conversion would have given them the lead, but it was struck across the posts.
A draw and replay was on the cards, but in the 5th minute of injury time Shannon engineered a penalty just outside the ’22 and Lane coolly tapped it over to win the match and the trophy for Shannon.


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