South Munster U14 Cup Clonakilty 15: Old Christians 0   19/04/2017

South Munster U14 Cup

Clonakilty 15: Old Christians 0

The U14 Cup Quarter Final against city side Old Christians took place last Saturday in Shannonvale.

When the sides met earlier in the season it was Christians who came out on top. However an excellent training session during the week followed by an intense focus in the warm up prior to today’s game meant a “feel good” factor prevailed among the entire squad as kick off time approached.

Clon kicked off into the clubhouse end and applied pressure right from the off. The front row of Luke Knowles, Charlie O’ Shea and Aaron O’ Donovan were doing the hard graft in the tight, the thankless, essential work in any great rugby team. The second row pairing of Mike Maguire and Cillian McDonald were getting stuck into everything, playing like an extra back row and killing space for the Christians strike men. Eoin Ferguson at “8” has the look of all great players as he just seems to pop up in the right place’s at the right time’s (probably by accident) while his “wing men” Rory White and Cian Downey were like two possessed terriers chasing the Old Christian’s danger men all over the field and knocking them to the ground one by one. Despite being in opposition territory for 15 minutes and totally dominating, the score board was still blank and when Old Christians lifted the siege it looked like Clon might have missed an opportunity.

However cup semi-finals turn on the simplest of things and when Christians looked to move the ball to their dangerous 2nd centre, Sean Walsh spotted the “play” and picked off the pass before sprinting 40 yards to touch down under the posts. It was a beauty and no more than Clon deserved. The successful conversion made it 7-0. The next score was going to prove vital and some excellent work from Eoin Downey at 9 and Ferghal Walsh at 10 had Clon gaining vital field position. This constant pressure led to cracks appearing in the Christians defence, forcing them to concede a penalty to the right of the posts. With the half time whistle fast approaching tight head prop Aaron O’ Donovan stepped up to slot a “Johnny Sexton special” and put Clon ahead 10-0 at half time. Well done Aaron, you don’t see Ireland’s Tadgh Furlong or England’s Dan Cole kicking too many penalties in cup semi-finals!

The half time team talk focussed on the need for better discipline and the target of not conceding any tries. However immediately from the kick off Old Christians gained a foothold in the Clon “22” and began to exert waves of pressure on the lads in red and green. However one or two massive hits from captain David Harte and superb teamwork from the back three of Liam Knowles, Tim McCarthy and Dylan Geany meant Christians were finding it difficult to make any inroads. Every time Christians launched an attack they were met with one...then two…and sometimes three Clon defenders, willing to put their bodies on the line to preserve their goal-line. Clon were then bitterly disappointed to see two of their players receiving yellow cards as they were already to the pin of their collars. However as the old saying goes “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog”. Some days you just refuse to take a step back and with only 13 players on the field versus Old Christians 15 every Clon player went toe to toe and pushed back the advancing dangers.

The reinforcements arrived just in time in the form of Cian Collins, Dylan Hayes, Conor Ryan, Liam O’ Connell, Eoin Murphy and Ryan Jennings. This brought a new impetus and some fresh legs into the equation. And how handsomely they contributed, chasing down every kick, clearing out every ruck and being selfless in their efforts to help their tiring teammates. With Old Christians having to chase the game entering the final ten minutes a loose lineout throw was won by Clon and when the ball ended up in the mercurial hands (mercurial means sudden or unpredictable lads) of Ferghal Walsh he “jinked” past three Christians defenders to score a cracking try in the left hand corner. The missed conversion left the score at 15-0 and this was how the game was to finish after playing out the final minutes.

Cup semi-finals always bring lots of drama. Today we had it all ... Dunphy, Giles & Brady on the fence ... regular updates from our Sky reporter on the sideline ..... doctor’s on call .... unfamiliar mother’s giving out tea’s & coffee’s in the clubhouse after the game ... David & Goliath and the twin towers .... tempers rising on the sideline ... United Airlines ... the Easter rising ... Pontius Pilot. There has to be a play in there somewhere for Rossmore!

However they are also there to be won. Today every member of the squad stepped forward, determined to leave nothing out on the pitch, to give Garrett the reward he so richly deserves and to ensure we all have one last day out in Presentation Grounds on the weekend of April 29th/30th. This is fitting end to what has been a great journey for these lads!



Donal Mac Sweeney Club Captain 2018/19

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