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Clonmel High School edge past Abbey CBS, Tipperary in thrilling Cleary Cup final

Munster Schools U15 Cleary Cup Final

Munster Schools U15 Cleary Cup Final

High School CBS 23 Abbey CBS 22

A keenly contested Cleary Cup Final was played in Clonmel RFC on Tuesday, April 16 between Clonmel High School CBS and the Abbey CBS, Tipperary. After a very exciting match, the High School took the spoils with the narrowest of victories.

Played in near perfect conditions, the Abbey kicked off and immediately put pressure on the High School with some surging runs by their formidable looking backline. A sweeping move saw the ball passed to Abbey number 8 Tadhg O’Dwyer who scored in the corner for the opening try after 2 minutes. The resulting conversion was missed but there were ominous signs that the Abbey was intent on reclaiming the cup they lost in last year’s final against Waterpark College.

From the restart, it was the High School’s turn to apply some pressure. Some effective rucking saw a fast ball to the backs and some clever inter play released centre Conor Molloy who outpaced his opponent to score the High School’s first try. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Abbey came right back to score their second try within two minutes. The High School failed to control the restart, giving the Abbey a lineout on the 22. After several phases, Abbey outhalf David Byron raced from one side of the pitch to the other to score a great individual try in the corner. He followed that up with a very impressive conversion taken from the touch line to put the Abbey 12–5 ahead.

It was clear the High School was struggling against the bigger Abbey backline, who looked very threatening every time they got possession. Byron was distributing the ball very well, and centres Callum Bowes and Daire Egan were very powerful going forward. On 15 minutes following broken play, Abbey winger Mark Ellard scored in the corner to give his side a 17–5 lead.

As the half wore on, the High School forwards began to impose themselves more on the game, in particular Jack Lonergan, Aaron Dempsey and Darragh Johnston. Following an infringement in the ruck, the High School opted to run a penalty and wing forward Tommy Ryan barged his way over the Abbey line to score a well taken try. Gavin Whelan kicked the conversion to reduce the deficit to 17-12.

High School kept up the pressure as the half wore on. Ill-discipline from the Abbey resulted in two players being sin binned. Whelan kicked one penalty to cut the lead to 17–15 at half time.

The second half began as the first ended with the High School dominating proceedings. James Corbett was stealing a lot of Abbey ball in the lineout while Raymond Kennedy, Conor Molloy and Mark Kehoe were clinical in the back line. Peter Heffernan and Rian Doody were doing Trojan work in the Abbey defence. On 32 minutes following some considerable pressure, High School prop Dylan Todd crashed over the try line to put his team ahead 20–17 for the first time in the match.

The Abbey looked to re-establish their lead but from the restart the ball was caught by High School wing forward Brian Guiry who made a surging 30 metre run before he has tackled to the ground. Jack Lonergan matched that with a weaving attack down the wing. But again stout Abbey defence by Daniel Kelly and Ben Kingston was notable.

On 42 minutes, the High School was awarded another penalty which Whelan converted to stretch his side’s lead to 23–17. The Abbey reply was swift. Outhalf David Byron found space out wide and released full back Josh Ryan who sprinted down the line to score his side’s fourth try. Byron narrowly missed the conversion to reduce the margin to a mere point, 23-22.

The final minutes were dramatic to say the least. With time running out, the Abbey launched one final attack. A huge clearance from their 22 resulted in a kick and chase to the High School try line. The bounce of the ball beat the onrushing players and went out of play. The referee blew the final whistle to the utter delight of the High School.

The Cleary Cup was presented to High School captain Jack Lonergan by Tony Smith, Chairman of the Munster Schools Committee, who paid tribute to both teams for such an exciting and enjoyable game of rugby. He also thanked Clonmel RFC for the continued use of their facilities for Munster Schools matches.

All those in attendance were certainly impressed by the skill and commitment of both schools. Credit is due to the coaches and mentors, Billy Cronin: John Rodgers and Aine O’Mahoney from the Abbey, and Neville Melbourne, Jean Lonergan and Brendan Mullan from the High School, for preparing their respective teams.

High School: Mark Kehoe, Conor McGuigan, Conor Molloy, Raymond Kennedy, Michael Murphy, Gavin Whelan, Joe Sheehan, Dylan Todd, Aaron Dempsey, Kevin Barry, Darragh Johnston, James Corbett, Tommy Ryan, Brian Guiry, Jack Lonergan.

Abbey: Josh Ryan, Mark Ellard, Daire Egan, Callum Bowes, Daniel Kelly, David Byron, Ben Kingston, Luke Ashmore, Eoin Kelly, Adam O’Connell, Donal Ryan, Jamie Ryan, Peter Heffernan, Rian Doody, Tadhg O’Dwyer.

Clonmel come up just short to Nenagh in u-19 final

Clonmel U19s took on Nenagh on Friday night in the East Munster Cup Final.  Nenagh started the better and kept Clonmel pinned in their half for the first 10 minutes until Clonmel got their hand on the ball and went at Nenagh.  Both teams went tit for tat until Darren Cass intercepted a pass during a Nenagh attack and broke from his own half to outstrip the Nenagh defence and open the scoring for Clonmel and make it 5-0.

Clonmel then enjoyed a period of dominance and started to go through their phases as they attacked Nenagh in waves.  One of these waves gave Clonmel a kickable penalty opportunity and fly half Dylan Cadogan duly obliged with a well struck shot to leave Clonmel 8-0 up.
Clonmel continued their dominance and were 5 metres from the Nenagh when the Nenagh number 8 turned over the ball and fed his full back who broke from his own line and outstripped the Clonmel defence to score under the post and the easy conversion left it 8-7 at half time.

Both sides went at each other at the start of the second half and the game ebbed and flowed.  With neither side gaining the upper hand the game was on a knife edge.  A sweeping move for Clonmel up the right side of field with backs and forwards interacting saw Clonmel score a wonderful team try scored by Stephen Carey to leave the score 13-7 to Clonmel.  

Nenagh reacted well to rumble up field through their pack and applied a large amount of pressure on the Clonmel defence.  That pressure told when Nenagh scored through their prop under the posts and the conversion saw them lead 14-13.  Clonmel threw everything at Nenagh for the remainder of the game and with the last play of the game were within yards of Nenagh line but unfortunately it was not to be Clonmel’s night.  And so Nenagh won the East Munster league and cup double, with Clonmel runners up in both competitions. 
This has been a fantastic season for the Clonmel U19s - they reached two East Munster finals and the semi-final of the pan Munster competition. Well done to all the players and the two coaches Ed Flannery and PJ Mulcahy for some fantastic games.  A special word of congratulations to Ryan Gallagher who was awarded the most improved player award, Billy O’Kelly who received the players’ player of the year award and Stepehen Carey who received the coaches’ player of the year award.  Well done also to the 8 Clonmel players who received trials and played for Munster this year, Daragh Foley, Podge Keating, Joel O’Dwyer, Stephen Carey, Dylan Cadogan, Alex Sheehan, Billy O’Kelly and Ethan Mulvee.  

Clonmel Minis fun event

What a fitting way to end the season for the minis on Saturday, 13April. The sun shone down on our fabulous facilities as over 120 kids and more than 60 parents took to the pitches for our Parents V Minis matches, watched by upwards of a further 60 parents. This is always a great event with the kids gaining great satisfaction over leaving the parents for dust, and the satisfaction of throwing in that big tackle on mum or dad.

Fun was had by all young and old. A big thanks to all the parents who took boots out of the attics to make this a great success.

This has been a great season with record numbers week in week out and it is clear to see all these young warriors are growing in stature year on year. Big thanks goes to Jonathan Duffy our minis chairman this year. Also thanks goes to Paul Lonergan and Tony O’Gorman. However the bigger thanks of all goes to the people behind the scenes, Clare, Grainne, Pauline, Kevin, without their continued work and support week-in week-out we would not have such a successful minis section in the club. The coaches and players also thank the other people who have helped out in the kitchen on match days. And, needless to say, thanks to all the coaches and team helpers for your dedication and commitment, the future of the club is in your hands and your work is much appreciated by the members of the General Committee, and the senior players and coaches. A huge thanks to all parents/guardians/grandparents for traveling the length of Munster in all weathers supporting these young warriors and most of all Thanks to the kids who make this all happen and make it worthwhile.

Clonmel RFC Multi-Sport Summer Camp – July 8-12

This year’s Clonmel RFC Summer Camp takes part at the club from July 8 to 12. Following on from last year’s highly successful camp, the club expects a big turnout at this year’s camp. All of last year’s participants came home happy and tired each day. The camp includes a multitude of sports and team building exercises.

We welcome boys and girls from ages 6-15. The camp will take part each day. Registration is each morning from 9am with warm ups starting at 9.30 The camp will run until 2.30 pm


1st Play Nenagh in the Final of the Mansergh Cup. Venue, day and time to be confirmed.

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