One can only stand back and admire Clonmel for what they achieved last Sunday in Tralee. They were in serious trouble after their loss to Cobh Pirate in the Munster Junior League a few weeks ago. They needed a convincing win in Tralee. Over the last couple of weeks everybody in the club from President to underage players got behind supporting and encouraging the players to do their absolute best in their last league game of the season â€“ a league game they must win.
Club spirit was unified and at its best, but on the day of the game itself it was the team on the field (including the substitutes, coach and management) that made it happen. It was a tremendous performance and Clonmel fully deserved their win.
Playing Tralee in Tralee is never easy, especially when they are lying 5th in the table, you are three places from bottom of the table, and the pressure is on that you must win. But full credit goes to every person involved with this team in the way the players took to the field of play and demonstrated that they were in Tralee to win.
First blood was drawn by Clonmel when Conor Cooney was at the end of a powerful forward movement to collect a ball that went through three sets of backsâ€™ hands before going over for a try in the fifth minute. Tralee responded a few minutes later with a penalty. But it was Clonmel that struck again through a beautiful close-range try from Morgan Lyons. Once again Colm Oâ€™Connell at scrum half used the powerful Clonmel pack to drive forward, pick and quickly passed to Lyons who scored in the corner.
The rest of the first half was fairly evenly contested with Cooney slotting a penalty and Tralee scoring a try to leave the halftime score at Tralee 8, Clonmel 13.
Clonmel might half won the first half, but they were equally determined to win the second half. With the forwards setting up good balls for the half backs, and Lyons bringing the rest of the backs into play, Clonmel scored two more super tries, one from Greg Carroll on the wing, the other from Mark Jenkenson playing in the centre. Even though Clonmel won the game by 6 points, they could easily have maintained a greater gap between the teams. It was only a couple of lapses of concentration that allowed Tralee to cross the line twice in the second half.
At one stage, with twenty-two minutes to go Tralee had closed the gap on Clonmel to just one point 23-22). But Clonmel held their resolve and it was Jenkensonâ€™s try that sealed the victroy and winning bonus point for Clonmel.
The whole panel of players had an excellent game but worthy of extra mention are Mike Sheehan who had at least twelve forceful carries, gaining over 10 meters each time; and Morgan Lyons who commanded a super performance distributing the ball well along the back line.
Clonmel U-19s just edged out of last four of Munster
Clonmel U19â€™s travelled to Cork on Saturday to take on senior club Highfield in the Pan Munster semi final. Clonmel entered the game as underdogs being the first Clonmel underage team to reach this stage of the competition.
Clonmel elected to play up the hill in the first half and started the game like men possessed. It was clear from the kick off that both teams came to play and Clonmel took the game to Highfield in the opening exchanges. Relentless pressure for the first ten minutes reaped reward with a Dylan Cadogan penalty to open the scoring. Highfield settled into the game after this and the match ebbed and flowed with massive tackles being made by both teams and great carries from both backs and forwards.
Highfield finally got a lucky break when they managed to slip in for a try just before half time. With the score at 5-3 Clonmel tried to play the game at an even higher pace to stretch the Highfield defence, unfortunately in trying to play they conceded a penalty on the stroke of half time for Highfield to lead at the break 8-3.
Clonmel had the advantage of the hill in the second half and Dylan Cadogan began the second half playing the percentages and pinning Highfield into their own half. The pressure began to mount as Clonmel attacked Highfield in waves. Great carries by the forwards and varying this with decisive backline attacks finally yielded its just reward with a great try when Billy Oâ€™Kelly was driven over by his fellow forwards - 8-8 and game on. Both sides went at each other in an effort to break the deadlock. Every single Clonmel player stood up and was counted, made the crucial tackles and carried the hard yards.
Disaster struck with 4 minutes to go when the Highfield 10 was tackled short of the line but managed to reach to touch down for the decisive score to make it 13-8. For the last 4 minutes Clonmel tried everything possible to get the try they so badly wanted but alas it was not meant to be.
This game could have gone either way and Highfieldâ€™s delight at the end was evident to the fact they were very very fortunate to come away with the win. Clonmel can be very proud of themselves. They were involved in a fantastic game of rugby played to the highest standard. On another day they would be preparing for a Munster Final.
Now they must pick themselves up to prepare for the East Munster cup campaign.â€¨A big thank to all the great support that travelled to the game, the team sponsor Glessons Bar and Martinâ€™s Fruit and Veg for the box of fruit.
Squad for the day was - Billy Oâ€™Kelly, Dave Oâ€™Callaghan, Zbigniew Lukasinsk, Joel Oâ€™Dwyer, Ryan Gallagher, Podge Keating, Joey Purtill, Daragh Foley, Alex Sheehan, Dylan Cadogan, Conor Tobin, Aidan Rea, Stephen Carey, Luke Boland, Darren Cass, Barry Mulcahy, Daniel Ronan, Stuart MacLeod, Aaron Eade, Adam Gillessen, Ethan Mulvee, Sean Toomey, Joseph Keane.
The Club extends its gratitude to this excellent team and their triumvirate of super coaches PJ Mulcahy, Ed Flannery and Brian Condon who has recently joined the coaching staff as backs coach. Well done to all !!
Fixtures: 1st XV play Ennis RFC in the Munster Junior Cup at home in Clonmel. Kick-off is at 2.00pm.
Kilfeacleâ€™s lose to Old Christians but finish third in the league
Old Christians 22
Kilfeacle and District 20
Way back in August, most observers of Munster Junior rugby probably would not have predicted that at this stage of the season Kilfeacle and District would be travelling to Old Christians in the league with a realistic chance of a top four finish. Kilfeacle and District RFC may not be the biggest club in the league, we may not have the longest history or the resources and membership that other clubs have but what â€œthe little club on the hillâ€ does have is a fantastic sense of family. We are delighted with the endeavours and achievements of our community-based club however, such achievements are only achieved through tireless never ending endeavour by many volunteers behind the scenes none more so than the management and backroom staff of the firsts and seconds teams. Week after week the players receive the plaudits for their efforts and rightly so. However too often we leave it unsaid, soon behalf of the committee and everyone involved in Kilfeacle and District RFC, I would like to congratulate everyone involved and say that we appreciate that it is because of their skills and endeavour that the teams are performing in the manner in which they are.
Travelling to Old Christians is never an easy task and as ever we entered this match knowing that if we didnâ€™t perform well in all facets that we would not come away with the desired result. This game was proving to be an even bigger challenge because of selection concerns, with a large number of our first team regulars ruled out for many different and varying reasons.
The game started in bright, dry cold conditions with a strong breeze favouring the home side in the first half. Kilfeacleâ€™s forwards consisting of Simon Barry, Ricky Barry, Diarmuid Oâ€™Donnell, Keith Kearns, Ger Luby (Pack Leader), John Doyle, Ricky Witney, Brian Leahy, Jack Sullivan, Sean McGrath, and Alan Oâ€™Mahony (returning from a vigorous and demanding training camp in Wales, where he impressed under lights) struggled as a unit in the early stages of the game because of so many positional and personnel changes.
Old Christians opened the scoring with a well worked try after eight minutes which they were unlucky not to convert. Kilfeacle started to come more and more into the game and on the fifteen minute mark levelled the score when Diarmuid Oâ€™Donnell finished a fine team move by touching down in the corner.
Kilfeacle now enjoyed a spell of concerted pressure and the backs, J.J. Cooney, Wallace Burke, Diarmuid Carr, Pat Ryan, Charles Walshe, Shane Morrissey and Bernard Callaghan followed up ten minutes later with a try scored by Shane Morrissey which Wallace Burke was unlucky not to convert. Old Christians came back into contention with a converted try in the dying seconds of the first half, leaving the score 15-6 at the interval.
Old Christians didnâ€™t lose any impetus because of the half time break and looked the better team for the first twenty minutes of the second half. However it took them 18 minutes before they added a penalty which they followed eight minutes later with another converted try which increased their lead to 22-10. To the travelling fansâ€™ relief, Kilfeacle were finishing the better of the two. The lineout which, up to now, had misfired was working well and Kilfeacle were marginally on top in the scrums. This meant that Kilfeacle were retaining the ball better which was reflected when Charles Walshe scored a try which was not converted. Talk amongst the travelling supporters was of a bonus point and a draw if the fourth try came. The fourth try came when Diarmuid Carr finished in the corner and when Shane Morrissey hit the upright with the conversion attempt everyone knew that it wasnâ€™t Kilfeacle and Districtâ€™s day however they had done enough to secure 3rd place in the league - fantastic result considering how the year had started.
Busy weekend for Carrick teams
Carrick Rugby club had several teams in action over last weekend.
On Saturday two girls teams had home games, the under 18 Carrick/Clonmel combined team had a 12 points all draw against Thurles, while the under 16s drew ten all with St Marys.
Fay Drohan was player of the match for the under 18s while Kate English was player of the match for the under 16s.
This weekend the girls play Thurles away. The under 15 lads team played Clonmel at home in the cup but lost 10-19.They now go on to play in the East Munster plate competition.
The mens team played Mallow at home in the second last round of the Munster junior league division two last Sunday.
The visitors got off to a flying start scoring two tries in quick succession, Carrick played well against this strong Mallow team with sights on promotion, but Mallow proved too strong winning by 19 points to 3.
The last league match of this season takes place on March 24 when Carrick travel to Bandon.