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Club News Weekending March 9th 2008

3rd March 2008 By Munster Rugby

Catch up on the latest club news from around the province.

Denis Wade PRO

Kilfeacle put in impressive display to win local Derby!
Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. 16 Clanwilliam R.F.C. 10
After last week’s away loss in the cup it was vitally important to continue with another win in the league, however when the next opponents were close rivals Clanwilliam, then Kilfeacle new that it was going to be a tough assignment. At 3.00pm on Sunday the 2nd of March the sun was shining and the visitors had the advantage of a strong breeze for the first half. The home side knew that their foe would use this breeze to gain territorial advantage and that a stout defence would be essential to create a platform to build on. Clanwilliam started the game well and immediately pushed Kilfeacle back into their own 22. This was as far as the home side advanced as they met the Kilfeacle defensive wall, which on the day was not going to be breached easily. As the half wore on Kilfeacle began to push further down the pitch and managed to put together some threatening attacks but all the while Clanwilliam kicked the ball back over their heads and gained ground was once again relinquished. With 25 minutes of the half gone Kilfeacle mounted a promising attack which after many phases of play and an excellent team effort saw Shane Flavin touch the ball down for a try. From an acute angle and into a strong gale Michael Collins saw his conversion miss it’s target. From the resulting restart a series of phases by Clanwilliam led to the Kilfeacle defence, which previously had been in miserly form, giving away a very kickable penalty. Clanwilliam used this opportunity and reduced the lead to just 2 points. With the half drawing to a close Kilfeacle seemed content and capable of holding their opponents and against the elements this was deemed to be an excellent psychological advantage. Clanwilliam ended the half on the offensive but were unable to convert their possession to scores.
Winning by 5 points to 3 and with the advantage of the breeze in the second half, the Kilfeacle squad new that their discipline and hard work during the first half had now presented them with a realistic chance of achieving a win. From the restart, Kilfeacle immediately took the game to Clanwilliam and used the weather conditions to gain territorial advantage. The visiting side defended well but in the 56th minute their defensive wall was breached. The 100 metre world record stands at 9.77 seconds, it seemed to take John Coughlan almost as long to travel 13 yards through the Clanwilliam rearguard and score a precious try after some excellent team play. The subsequent difficult conversion kick was not completed but Michael Collins made up for this miss when he split the posts with a well taken penalty after 61 minutes to bring the score to 13 points to 3 in favour of the homeside. The next 10 minutes were cagey, as both teams knew that the next score was vital. Both teams built good phase play but the defences on both sides held tough. In the 70 minute Michael Collins slotted over another penalty to increase the margin of the lead to 13 points. The Clanwilliam team now knew that their position was a desperate one and they summonsed every ounce and mounted an inspirational assault on the Kilfeacle line and earned themselves a penalty try which was converted. The scoreline now read 16 points to 10. This was to be the last score of the game as try as they might Clanwilliam’s best offensive endeavours fell short on the day.
After the game John Dwyer said, "We are delighted with the win especially as it was the last league game of the season but Clanwilliam made us work for it! I would like to take this opportunity to thank Clanwilliam for a hard fought but sporting match and wish the club the very best in the future."
Our next game is the Final of the Garryowen Cup, venue and time yet to be decided. This promises to be a very exciting and challenging game as Thurles have put together a run of good form and will be buoyed by retaining their league one status. The team as ever are proud and humbled by the amount of support they receive and hope that their supporters will continue to come along and support the team as this is their chance of lifting silverware this year!!

Seconds lose by injury time score.
Waterford Park R.F.C. 18 Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. 11
On Sunday 2nd of March, Kilfeacle and District R.F.C.’s seconds travelled to Waterford Park to face what is always tough opposition, in the third round of the Webb Cup. The game was not such a one-sided affair as the score line tells as the homeside were made to work very hard for their win and only won by an injury time converted try.
Players that played well on the day were Anthony Doherty, Jamie Keaty, Alan Sherlock, Alan Noonan, Doc Ryan and Paul Finton. Kilfeacle would like to thank Waterford Park for a fine game and there hospitality. The seconds’ squad is now back to full compliment and are a formidable outfit

Kilfeacle Under 18s win in a very tight match.
Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. 10 Clanwilliam R.F.C. 8
The manner in which a win comes is not always spectacular but a win is a win and this was one of those occasions in which both teams’ defences were on top and the game could have swung either way. At halftime in this low scoring game the homeside led by 7 points to 3 having had the advantage of a strong wing at their backs. All the home supporters feared that this was not a big enough lead considering the strength of the wind. When after only 45 seconds of the second half had passed, and Clanwilliam scored an unconverted try to take the lead for the first time, their fears seemed to be realised. The majority of the second half saw an admirable attacking display from the visiting team which was met with an equally admirable defensive display from the home side which epitomised the adage of the unstoppable force meeting the unmovable obstacle. In this scenario the unmovable obstacle did actually move and thankfully for them the movement was in a forward direction. With only minutes remaining an excellent rolling maul earned Kilfeacle a kickable penalty which they were able to convert to regain the lead by 2 points. However this was not the final chapter in this enthralling encounter as with only seconds left on the clock Clanwilliam earned themselves a penalty kick to win the game. The homeside were delighted and the visitors devastated as the attempt failed and Kilfeacle ran out winners on the day.
All players impressed on the day as this was a good team display however players that deserved special mention are James Ryan, Christy Ryan, Eddie Meehan, Shane Casey, Joe McEniry and Billy Quinn. This was a good defensive display and Kilfeacle looked dangerous on the break. Clanwilliam were a very tough but fair opponent and acquitted themselves very well on the day and Kilfeacle and District RFC would like to wish them well for the rest of the season.

Congratulations to Lucky Try score winner.
The committee and members of Kilfeacle and District RFC would like to congratulate Mary Noonan, Galtee View, Tipperary Town, as she won the €1500 prize for the Lucky Try in the Ireland v Scotland Six Nations game.

Majella Ryan PRO

Clonmel Ponder On What Might Have Been

Clonmel 8 Crosshaven 12

"The only completely consistent people are the dead" – Aldous Huxley. The Clonmel team who trooped off the field after defeat in this final league game of the season were, thankfully, all still alive but many of them will rake over the coals of a season where a little inconsistency really killed off their hopes of a league title. Pandering to "what-if’s" is dangerous territory but only a few weeks ago we still thought we would run out against Crosshaven to decide the league. In the meantime a few results for the other contenders really shut out even a mathematical chance of Clonmel making history by taking the crown. Thus last Sunday when the other three contenders, Cashel, Skibereen and Crosshaven were playing for the title, Clonmel had to assume the role of bridesmaid. Perhaps this role confused them or perhaps the realisation that they had come up just short unsettled them because this was not a focused performance by the home team. More likely they had consigned the league to the "out" tray and were already thinking of two massive cup games in the offing.

Crosshaven kicked off with the benefit off a stiff wind which would definitely influence the game and were immediately lodged in Clonmel’s "22" but a penalty on just 4 minutes saw scrumhalf John Long make a terrific run down the field which almost got him to the line but the visitors scrambled clear. The forwards exchanges were tough and very even and 10 minutes had gone before Clonmel put another backs move together which resulted in a penalty. A great kick into the wind by Morgan Lyons put Clonmel 3-0 ahead after 11 minutes. But Liam Delaney, the Crosshaven No. 10, gave a fine demonstration of how to use the elements and kept his pack going forward. Clonmel had to pull down a driving maul on 12 minutes and Delaney put Crosshaven level at 3-3. Clonmel had to work very hard to keep the visitors at bay and they were well served by John Long, John Stokes and Phil Corby. Crosshaven’s weakness seemed to be the lack of cutting edge in their back unit but their pack worked very hard and their pressure told on 24 minutes when another penalty allowed them to go 6-3 ahead.

The visitors’ outhalf continued to dictate field position, pinning Clonmel back and forcing tackle after tackle from Mark Normile and John Kelly. Clonmel’s efforts to lift the siege were not helped by a lineout that was not firing on all cylinders, resulting in a lot of trench warfare on the ground. Crosshaven now missed another penalty chance while Clonmel had two penalty opportunities which they opted to run but both moves broke down. Just before half-time Clonmel, with Tommy Barry and Niall Grogan working hard in midfield, put a good backs move together which culminated in a drop-goal effort by Lyons which went narrowly wide. Still, we were happy enough when half-time saw us only 3-6 in arrears. Surely we would turn the screw in the second half when the wind blew on our backs.

The second half opened just as we expected – Clonmel went straight into Crosshaven territory and a flowing backs move to the left wing was stopped just short. A quick recycle saw the ball transferred over to the right wing where David Joyce beat his marker to go over in the corner. Lyons’ missed conversion left Clonmel 8-6 ahead. Clonmel had the backs to do the damage – we anticipated more tries. But that was as good as it got. Clonmel seemed to lose focus, piled trouble on themselves through a litany of errors and forgot that the wind was behind them. Clonmel now coughed up four penalties in quick succession and were fortunate that Crosshaven’s Delaney, so sure-footed in the first period, pulled two kicks wide. But the game, amazingly, was being played in Clonmel’s half and another transgression on 14 minutes gave Crosshaven another chance which they didn’t miss. 9-8 to the visitors. Clonmel’s indiscipline was proving costly.

The game now settled into a battle for inches of ground in midfield. This suited the visitors and baffled the home support who knew that Clonmel had the firepower out wide to decide this match. In truth the game was being played according to the visitors’ gameplan – an open game would have seen Clonmel run riot but it just didn’t happen. More errors on 34 minutes saw Clonmel forced back into their right corner and the battle to keep out the visitors saw Paudge Leahy receiving a yellow card. Matters were becoming decidedly tetchy and on 36 minutes the Crosshaven No. 5 and captain joined Leahy in the sin-bin. But Clonmel were still in their own "22" and on 38 minutes conceded another penalty which Crosshaven gratefully accepted to go 12-8 ahead. It looked hopeless.

But now Clonmel at last roused themselves and some fine running by Conor Cooney, John Long and Niall Grogan, backed up by the pack, kept the ball alive as they went deep into Crosshaven’s "22" – could we snatch it? Alas, Crosshaven turned the ball over and lifted the siege. The final whistle brought the curtain down on what was a fine league campaign by a committed bunch of players. It’s not so long ago that we were hanging on by our finger-nails each season – now we’re expecting to win the league – things have changed a lot for the better. Next Sunday sees another milestone when we travel to Tullamore to take them on in the All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-final – kick-off 3 pm. The team would really appreciate a big turnout of the Clonmel support.

Clonmel took on Waterpark in the league semi-final on Sunday in Waterford and came home a well beaten side. There were some good individual performances but as a team Clonmel did not perform. Two tries conceded in the first half saw us behind by 14 points at the interval. In the second half , playing up hill and against the breeze and trying hard Clonmel had their chances but good defence by Waterpark kept us out and they broke away to score again and finish the game as a contest. Some poor defending and strange decisions by the ref saw us concede a few more scores to leave the final score 39-0. A very disappointing end to the league and with the Cup to come, there is a lot of work to be done.

We fielded two teams in Cashel on Sunday morning. Roy looked after the U11s who put up a brilliant display against a much bigger and more physical Cashel side. The boys worked very hard, tackled well and were great at retaining possession at the breakdown. Tadhg Fitzgerald got our only score on the day, but we were very close to getting at least two others, we were just denied by some forward passes or knock-ons. The skill levels across the squad are increasing with every outing. Johnny and Chris looked after the U12s. This was another very challenging encounter, but our boys played very well in the second half. There is no training or matches for U11/12 next weekend, 8 and 9th March.
It is planned to gather a squad to attend an U13 blitz in Carrick on Sunday, 9th March, eligible players will be contacted individually to confirm availability and agree meeting time.

Aidan Clifford PRO

Killorglin Rugby Club had mixed fortunes in competition last weekend. On Sunday, the Senior side were in action against Presentation away in Limerick in the Munster Junior League. After conceding a try and conversion twenty minutes into the game, Killorglin responded with a penalty from Brian Gannon before half time to make the score 7-3 at the break. Presentation’s indiscipline cost them in the second half as Gannon’s kicking was impeccable, scoring three more penalties to put Killorglin 12-7 ahead – a score which stood at the final whistle. This was Killorglin’s last game of the season and finish 9th in the league, a respectable placing for an infant club in Junior Rugby.
Team:- 1 Karl J Daly (c), 2 Dan Flynn, 3 John Twin O’Sullivan, 4 Colm Conway, 5 Cole Stephens, 6 Mikey Aherne, 7 Tom Healy, 8 Mike Breen, 9 Dave Coffey, 10 Ronan Curtayne, 11 Jodie Riordan, 12 Andrew O’Reilly, 13 Kieran Crowley, 14 Viv O’Callaghan, 15 Brian Gannon.
Subs: – Sean Joy for Mikey Aherne
The under 14s & under 16s both finished their seasons after defeat in their respective West Munster Cup Competitions. The under 14s, playing against Charleville, performed very well but let in two very soft first half tries to trail 14-0 at the break. However a 2nd half Shane Corkery try put them back in the game at 14-5 but they were unable to get any closer and lost by that nine point margin. The under 16 team was also defeated on a trip to Killarney.
The Under 18 team, the West Munster League Champions will take on their North Munster counterparts Bruff in the Munster Semi-Final on Sunday 16th of March. All eyes will be on East Limerick that day as the winners will take on either Clonakilty or Waterpark in the Munster Final.


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