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U13 Report Friendly V Skibbereen 10th November 2018   14/11/2018

U13 Match Report

 

U13 Friendly Match – 10th November

Clonakilty 24: Skibbereen 5

 

There is a real buzz at Clonakilty RFC every Saturday morning these days with lots of girls and minis boys’ rugby on fields and lots activity in the shop, while the smell of bacon rolls and burgers wafting across the pitches is a welcome addition too as the club looks to extend its’ fund raising activities.  Eoin Hurley has his fingers in many pies and when he is not trying to secure huge financial grants to improve the club facilities with the rest of his committee, he is equally happy to lend a hand on the BBQ on a Saturday morning. 

The fun extends into the afternoons with lots of Youths training or matches and some First and Second Team games even occurring on Saturdays.

This past Saturday was no different and after a few days of heavy rain and sodden pitches, Saturday morning brought with it sunshine and lots of activity out at the Vale.  With barely a breath of wind and scarcely a cloud in the sky, Clonakilty RFC U13’s hosted Skibbereen RFC U13’s at 12:30pm as an unofficial curtain raiser to our First Team taking on Kinsale a couple of hours later.  The U13 fixture was a tasty return game with the potential for a bit of bite, as Clonakilty had travelled to Skibb the previous weekend and secured a big win, so Skibb were naturally keen to avenge this.

Clonakilty kicked off playing towards the clubhouse, but the previous weekend’s tables were immediately turned and Skibb worked their way into the Clonakilty 22 and pinned Clon there.  Skibb’s tactics were not dissimilar to the previous weekend; relying on some big runners to carry through contact and break the gain-line seems to be their bread and butter. But they were doing so with greater effect this day.  Clon’s players were as busy as popcorn on a skillet, in trying to contain Skibb.  These were the same Skibb lads from the previous weekend, but Clonakilty, drawing on their big squad had rotated completely and cooked up a new team featuring 15 fresh faces in the squad of 23 for this fixture.

Clonakilty had however had a super Captains Run practice the night before and had worked hard to get their new combinations to gel ahead of the match.  It seemed to be paying off initially as Clonakilty looked composed even when they were in the caught in the blender.  After 5minuts of absorbing pressure they showed great intent as they tried to run themselves out of trouble. Luke Kelleher at 13 looked dangerous with ball in hand and nearly got around the outside. Brian O’Driscoll would have been impressed.  Unfortunately, he was just scragged and the intended off-load went loose, only for Skibb to pounce on it and get the first score.  It was a bit of a gift to Skibb, like taking candy from a baby for them, and it tasted as sour as vinegar to the Clon lads.  There was however no point in crying over spilt milk as Skibb had played most of the rugby to that point.  The conversion missed and Skibb were up by 5 early in the game.

The next phase of play belonged to Clon and they struck straight back through Ryan O’Donnell who normally plays 6 but was being tried at 12 on this day.  He is very much worth his salt as a player and, as an ever-present force for Clonakilty U13’s, was the deserving scorer of Clon’s first try after a lovely passage of carrying, recycling and handling from the lads bore fruit and the crowd went bananas! Conor Creswell and Adam Barry at full back and wing respectively had been key contributors to this phase of play out-wide, their pace being compared to that of Simon Zebo by some of the crowd in attendance.  A missed conversion from Clon and the score was 5 a piece within the first 10 minutes.

The game was a see-saw affair for the rest of the first half with both teams having good patches of play.  Most pleasing were the defensive efforts of many Clon boys who stood up to Skibb’s big runners.  Caleb Sodden on the wing made some very big tackles and would go on to win the ‘match-ball’ on the day for his huge tackling!  Jack Burton who was captain for this match had the work-rate of David Pocock on defence; he continues to build a reputation as gritty, hardworking 7.  On attack Clon were just as potent with John Deegan, Simon Jennings and Odhran O’Donovan putting in some monster carries. They could have been mistaken for Brodie Retallick, Duane Vermeulen and Jack McGrath.  Joseph le Blanc was making some clever runs of his own playing from six.  He was heard to ask, “CJ who…?” at half time.  Adam O’Leary and George Russell were also working hard in the pack.  Cian Healy and Eben Etzebeth will be looking over their shoulders.  Tom ‘Keith earls’ O’Donovan meanwhile was showing his great ability on the wing having come on a s a replacement.

Still Skibb were going to be a tough nut to crack this day and they managed to get an unconverted score before half time to lead Clon 10-5 at the break.  In fairness to them the Clonakilty players remained as cool as cucumbers and assured of their ability.  There was no panic, just a steely determination as they took the field for the second half.

One could have been forgiven for panicking and thinking that Clon was getting into a bit of a pickle and might have to eat humble pie when Skibb scored again early in the second half to go 15-5 up.  But cometh the hour and cometh the man.  It was Finn o'Boyle Rafferty, filling in the for the unavailable Ethan McDermott who sparked the fightback.  He was having a great game already, but a scintillating individual run on a kick-return saw him take Clon into the Skibb 22.  From there the ball was recycled and a blazing Ryan O’Donnell crashed over under the posts for his second try and an easy conversation followed.  15-12.  More was to follow as Conor Daley also had a brilliant run of his own for a lovely try in the left-hand corner to take Clon to a 17-15 lead.  He made it look as easy as pie.  Conor has the pace of a winger, but the grit of a loose forward, so he has lots of options as he looks to develop his game through hard training.  Jay Hayes had entered the match as a full back replacement and he too was not to be out-done. Gifted with a lovely step and great pace, he put both to good use as he weaved his way to another super try, and the conversion was to follow to make it 24-15.  “Piece of cake” he said.  Sean Coffey played the second half at 13 and again looked to be a menace on attack with great strong runs which will see him racking up the scores very soon. Skibb were far from out of it and were winning the battle at the breakdown now.  Clonakilty had been great in the rucks in the first half, but there is no way to sugar-coat it, they stood off too many breakdowns and did not commit men to a physically bigger pack in the second half and were often counter-rucked as a result.  Darragh Cullinane and Daniel Mcarthy had however now entered the game and got to work, both being powerful men with lots to offer when hitting a ruck or carrying the ball as they too develop their games through hard training.  Fionnan Bennett and James Murnane had partnered beautifully at 9 and 10 for this game.  The former providing super ‘Conor Murray’ service to his runners and the latter showing his array of skills and that he can slot into 10 just as easily as he slotted into 15 against Bandon a few weeks back.  Marcus Kelly came on as an injury replacement and as ever impressed immediately with a lovely blindside break from a scrum in a beautifully executed set-piece move.  Kev Brady, try scorer from the previous week now came on for a cameo at wing and Dara Walsh joined for a cameo at 9 so that the coaches could have a look at him there for the last few minutes as the squad builds depth in all positions.  Dara usually plays wing, and he showed his winger pace as he got in for his first try of the season having threatened to do so a couple of times the week before.  The scoreboard now read 29-15 and perhaps Clonakilty were a little guilty of taking the foot off the gas as they heard that time was about to expire.  It was a mistake and Skibb had the last say as they got over for an unconverted try to make it 29-20 to Clonakilty at the final whistle.  Still, a result that was as sweet as honey to the Clonakilty lads.

Another game played in great spirit with no messing whatsoever against a spirited Skibb team who are starting to find their own Rhythm.   Fantastic refereeing from Maurice Downey who despite his advancing age, managed to stay with the game all the way through…!  He had been called in at last minute when a ref could not be found, so thanks go to him.  Most pleasing of all however for Clonakilty was the fact that they have now played close to 40 different players in back to back fixtures and got the results in both.  It bodes well for the future if Clonakilty U13 coaches can find a way to keep everyone interested, developing and getting plenty of game-time.  Big challenges however await in the form of Kinsale away, Bantry away and Bandon at home over the next 3 weekends.

Squad: Adam O'Leary, Odhran O'Donovan, Simon Jennings, George Russell, John Deegan, Jack Burton, Joseph Le Blanc, Fionnan Bennett, James Murnane, Caleb Soden, Ryan O'Donnell, Luke Kelleher, Conor Daly, Conor Cresswell, Daragh Cullinane, Finn o'Boyle Rafferty, Daniel Mcarthy, Tom O'Donovan, Sean Coffey, Adam Barry, Jay Hayes, Kevin Brady, Marcus Kelly, Dara Walsh





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