4th February 2024 By Leonard Allen
The battle at the top and bottom of the three Divisions of the Munster Junior League intensifies as the competition enters its final stages.
Thomond who defeated Kanturk 52-7 have opened up a six point gap on second placed Mallow with their ninth successive bonus point win in Division One. Evan Maher, Jordan O’Donnell, Morgan Bateman, Aidan Quinlivan, Ryan Ahern, Luke Fitzgerald, Gary Bateman, and Sean Rice scored tries for Thomond. Evan Cusack kicked six conversions. Brian O’Sullivan replied with a try for Kanturk which Stephen McAuliffe converted.
A penalty in added time by Logan Henry ended Mallow’s unbeaten run as they lost to Sunday’s Well 16-13 at Virgin Media Park. Henry opened the scoring for the ‘Well with a penalty but Mallow hit back with a try from Sean Glynn and a conversion and two penalties by Sam Glynn for a 13-3 lead early in the second half, A try by Damian Kozik and a conversion and penalty by Henry brought the home side level, before the dramatic finish.
Clanwilliam lost at home to Newcastle West 63-45 in a game that produced sixteen tries. James Guina, Daniel Normoyle, and Aaron Rice each scored two tries for Newcastle West. James Corbett, Liam Tracey, and Sean Murphy got one each. Shane Airy kicked eight conversions. Clanwilliam replied with two tries from Ben Downey and Gavin Downey, Michael Sharpe, Darragh Crone, Dylan Buckley and Gavin Ryan got one each. Darragh Burke kicked five conversions.
A last minute try from Ben Lovell earned Clonakilty 32-27 away win at Kilfeacle. Dave Jennings, Cathal O’Regan, Rory Fletcher, and Willie Tyner were Clonakilty ‘s other try scorers. Eoin Downey kicked two conversions and a penalty. Bob Purcell, Jacques van Wyngaardt, Gavin Heuston and Brendan Barron replied with tries for Kilfeacle and Luke Heuston added two conversions and a penalty.
Skibbereen maintained their outside challenge for a top four finish with a 26-21 home win over Thurles. Daniel Kitson, Daniel Kingston, Tom Beale, and Adam Sheehan scored tries for Skibb’ and Kitson added three conversions. Cathal Hayes, and Sonny Dwyer replied with tries for Thurles. James Maher kicked a conversion and two penalties, and Paddy McGrath also landed a penalty.
Richmond eased their relegation worries with a 31-26 away win at Muskerry. Shane Halpin scored two tries for the visitors and Cein O’Reilly, Thomas O’Brien and Darragh Joyce were their other try scorers. Sean Considine kicked three conversions. Frank Horgan, George O’Mahony and Liam Ryan were Muskerry’s try scorers and Rob Cahill added three penalties and a conversion.
Two penalties from Kian Smith were not enough for bottom side Charleville who lost 14-6 away to Bandon.
In Division Two, all of the three top sides recorded bonus point victories. Leaders St. Mary’s defeated Abbeyfeale 36-12. Jamie Sullivan scored a try for Abbeyfeale who were also awarded a penalty try.
Second placed Kinsale ran in eight tries in their 48-14 home win against Waterpark. Pat O’Regan, Robin O’Flynn, Brian O’Donnell, Mark O’Connell, Evan Wrenne, Ben O’Reilly, Dan Graham, and James O’Donovan were the Kinsale try scorers. Dylan Lacey kicked three conversions and O’Flynn added one. Gary Walsh and Ryan Jackman were the try scorers for Waterpark, Willie Walsh converted both tries.
Crosshaven travelled to Fethard and emerged 38-27 winners. Thomas Donovan scored two tries for Crosshaven, and Anthony Shehan, Graham Smith, Mikey Collins, and Patrick Cotter were the other try scorers. Jack O’Connell kicked three conversions and Kealan Daly got one. Robert Wall (2), Cathal Maher and Philip Ivory replied with tries for Fethard and Peter Wall kicked two conversions and a penalty.
St. Senan’s kept their promotion hopes alive with a 45-26 away win in Tralee. Craig Airey scored two tries, and Damien O’Toole, Declan Collins, Evan O’Gorman, Berto Kelly, and Jamie McNamara were Senan’s other try scorers. Airey kicked five conversions. Mikey Lyne replied with four tries for Tralee and Seamus Lyne kicked three conversions.
Cobh eased their relegation worries with a 27-17 away win at Rathcooney against Old Christians. Ben Kennedy scored two tries for the Pirates and Rory Pierce and Killian O’Connell got one each. Pierce kicked two conversions and a penalty.
Fermoy defeated Ballincollig 23-22 in a relegation thriller at Tanner Park where a last minute penalty by Eoin Lacey settled the contest. Alan Ross scored two first half tries for Fermoy and Lacey converted both and also added two penalties for a 20-7 interval lead for the visitors. Ronan Hennessy, Conor O’Donoghue, Glen Murphy, and Ian Kilkenny replied with tries for Ballincollig. Cathal McDermot kicked one conversion.
Youghal defeated Galbally-Mitchelstown 17-16 in their bottom of the table clash at Youghal. Sean Hennessy and Nathan O’Halloran were Youghal’s try scorers and O’Halloran converted both and also added a penalty. Danny Hayes replied with a try for the visitors and Pa Shanahan converted and kicked three penalties.
Ennis took a major step towards promotion to Division Two after their 32-20 away win in Killorglin in Division Three. Cian Guilfoyle and Dylan Kenny each scored two tries for Ennis and Kenny kicked three conversions and two penalties. James Byrne, Rob Lynch, and Cian Foley replied with tries for Killorglin and Luke O’Shea kicked a conversion and a penalty.
Castleisland moved up to second place after they defeated Scariff 20-10 at the Clare venue. Mike cronin scored two tries for Castleisland and Adam Jensen one. Joe Sheehy kicked a conversion and a penalty. Massi Doro and Donal Moloney replied with tries for Scariff.
Ardscoil Old Boys hopes of promotion in their first season as a Junior team were dealt a big blow when they lost 31-23 away to Carrick-on-Suir. Ryan O’Donoghue, Oscar Geoghegan, and Matthew Herbst scored tries for Carrick, and Fionn Barry kicked four penalties and two conversions. Jack Sexton, and Robin Healy scored one try each for Ardscoil OB and Darragh Hayes got two. Jamie Moore kicked one penalty.
Chorca Dhuibhne picked up their first win of the campaign with a 61-19 away win at Douglas. Charlie Devine, Kevin Usher, and Luke Johnson scored tries for Douglas and Anton Brennan kicked two conversions.