U16 V Skibbereen 23rd Nov 2019   28/11/2019

U16 Munster Club Conference 3 

Skibbereen 18: Clonakilty 12

If ever there was an appropriate game to define the saying "a game of two halves", then surely last Saturday morning’s table-top encounter was it. There was no doubting that there was tension in the air as the game kicked off on a beautiful fresh November morning with the probable winning of the Conference up for grabs.

Nerves to the fore, it was the home side which was fastest out of the blocks and settled into the game really quickly. The Skibb scrum was a serious unit from the outset and the great variety in their play was to the fore as their kicking game had Clon on the back-foot for most of the first-half. Skibb's early pressure paid off when they opened the scoring with an 8th minute try which wasn't converted. Skibb lead 5-nil.

Winger Killian O'Herlihy was having some joy on his wing, Ciarán McCarthy and Gearóid O'Donovan had some success with runs earning some hard-gained ground. These highlights along with big tackles from Killian and Luke McCarthy were other Clon first-half highlights but on 18 minutes, Clon fell further behind when Skibb tapped over a close-in penalty.

Things weren't to get any better when only five minutes later, Skibb's impressive No 8 went between the posts to score Skibb's second try which was easily converted to give Skibb a well-deserved 15-nil half-time lead.

In truth, the half-time whistle came at a great time for Clon as Mentors will have been anxious to get the lads in to have a chat and an overall recharge.

The Mentors earned their crust at half-time as whatever they said appeared to have the desired effect. Clon took the game to the hosts and had great early drives from Ciarán, Killian, Ethan Jennings and Paul Murphy. These runs eventually led to a Skibb line-out near to their try-line and when the line-out was loosely thrown, flanker Tyler Abbey Henning was quickest to react and he went over for Clon's first try after 11 second-half minutes. While the score was now 15-5, the score didn't seem so insurmountable as Clon looked to be in the ascendancy at this time. Some great Pa McCarthy and Ethan runs along with a superb Adam Crawford turnover kept the pressure on and when a great Tyler charge-down led tp a Clon scrum about ten yards from the Skibb try-line, Clon knew that this was a golden chance to close the gap further. Some quick thinking from Gearóid followed as he drove well to the line for Clon's second try. Luke put over a terrific conversion to leave six points between the sides with about six minutes to play.

Clon kept the pressure on for the remaining minutes and could very well have snatched the win but in all honesty, it would have been rough justice on the home-side who were the better team on the day. While defeat never leaves a nice taste, nobody will be getting over-critical of these lads as the not-so-great days like Saturday are bound to appear now and again. The positive results up to Saturday last have the lads vying for second-place in the table and the upcoming visit of Ballincollig to the Vale on this weekend wil be a perfect opportunity to get train back on-track. Another factor to take in will be Kinsale's visit to Skibb (also this coming weekend), there may be a few twists in the tale yet as we head into the following week of Phase One of Munster Pan A.

So, Clon welcome Ballincollig this weekend and a victory for the hosts here

would finish the opening phase of the competition in great style by ensuring qualification. However, depending on the result of Skibb/Kinsale, calculators might be required yet to determine finishing positions.

Please come to the Vale to shout on the lads this coming weekend. Thank you to everyone who encouraged the lads on Saturday last. Clon Abú!!

Team: 1 Ciarán McCarthy, 2 Will Blackburn, 3 Gearóid O'Donovan, 4 Michael Deegan, 5 Alan O'Driscoll, 6 Paul Murphy, 7 Tyler Abbey Henning, 8 Ross O'Donovan, 9 Jim Twomey, 10 Luke McCarthy, 11 Ben Reilly, 12 Grattan Neville, 13 Pa McCarthy, 14 Killian O'Herlihy, 15 Adam Crawford. Sub used: Ethan Jennings.

Just over 24 hours later, Skibbereen made the return journey to Clonakilty where a hard-contested friendly meant the remainder of the squad got some much needed valuable game-time. Considering Skibb had got the better of an early-season friendly with a convincing victory, this game was always going to be a great test. The difficult playing conditions didn't help but all 16 players put in great performances showing that their commitment to training weekly is continuing to reap rewards. A memorable mornings rugby with the lads visibly enjoying the game where two tries from Pa McCarthy and one try each from Odhran O'Connell and Luke Nunan contributed to a well-deserved Clon victory on a scoreline of 22-12.

Big thanks to the U16 Mentors whose dedication to their whole squad continues to be inspirational. Well done to all 29 lads who represented Clon U16's last weekend. Clon Abú!!

Team: 1 Ciarán McCarthy, 2 Donnacha Walsh, 3 Luke Nunan, 4 Eugene O'Donovan, 5 Callum O'Sullivan, 6 Oscar Kingston, 7 Tom Ryan, 8 Conor Wilson, 9 Sean Óg O'Flynn, 10 Pa McCarthy, 11 Odhran O'Connell, 12 Denis Daly, 13 Conor Hilliard, 14 James O'Driscoll, 15 Finian Neville. Sub used: Alan O'Driscoll


Donal Mac Sweeney Club Captain 2018/19

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