Kilfeacle and District R.F.C. beat Galbally 20-7 in the first round of the Garryowen Cup in Morrissey Park.
Both teams started slowly and took time to find their rhythm, however as the game wore on both sets of players seemed more focused and contested balls with more commitment.
Galbally with the aid of the breeze at their backs had the better of the early exchanges. This early dominance was reflected with a narrowly missed penalty from well outside the twenty-two after just 6 minutes, this was to be the first of 5 missed penalties and these misses had huge bearing on the game.
Kilfeacle’s management were intent on using their full young squad by using the rolling substitutions to the maximum. Galbally’s pack is a big, strong, well-marshalled unit and will cause problems to any side and they imposed themselves on the game and with a scrum half who seemed to be everywhere they weren’t letting Kilfeacle have everything their own way.
After fifteen minutes of hard work, endeavour and skill the Kilfeacle forwards consisting of Simon Barry, James Ryan (Salmon), Stevie Flood (Vice-Captain), Sean McGrath, Diarmuid O’Donnell, John Hannigan, Ger Luby (Pack Leader), Leon Tholand, Sean Compton, Alan O’Mahony, James Mullane and Ricky Barry earned their team a foothold in the game as they started to gain the upper hand in the scrum and earned a penalty after 19 minutes which Shane Luby (Captain) duly converted to open the scoring. This was to be the only score of the first half as both teams cancelled each other out and spurned scoring chances.
During the first half Kilfeacle’s backs were restricted to mainly defensive duties as Galbally used the breeze well to retain territorial dominance. The Kilfeacle supporters were hopeful that they would see more of Cathal Donovan, Shane Luby, Charles Walshe, Diarmuid Carr, Pat Ryan, Josh Featherstone, Darren Lowry, Packie Burke, Jake O’Halloran and Philip Ryan as an attacking force in the second half.
They hadn’t long to wait. Whatever was said to the Kilfeacle squad during the halftime interval worked and the team started the second half with renewed gusto and the first fifteen minutes of the second half saw them camped in the opponents 22. With just three minutes of the second half gone Shane Luby went over to finish a fine move by the backs including Charles Walshe and Diarmuid Carr, this platform had been created by many phases of play in which the forwards kept the ball tight as players such as Stephen Flood, Gerard Luby and Alan O’Mahony put their experience and patience to good work. Shane Luby saw his conversion narrowly miss its target and Kilfeacle now had a 8 point lead.
The home team now seemed more focused and displayed a definite improvement which was reflected through territorial dominance. This dominance on the pitch was finally reflected on the scoreboard. Kilfeacle’s Cathal Donovan, set up by good work in the pack by Simon Barry, Leon Tholand and Johnny Hannigan. Shane Luby converted this try and with 10 minutes of the second half gone Kilfeacle now lead by 15 points to 0.
The game then entered a period of stalemate and play had become disjointed, mistakes and indecision crept into the game on both sides. The next score was vital and to their credit Galbally rose to the challenge and scored a converted try with 20 minutes remaining to bring the score to 15 points to 7. Kilfeacle needed to steady the ship, it was time that leadership and teamwork were needed on the pitch and after some concerted effort, some fine fielding and kicking by Darren Lowry and Diarmuid Carr, some dogged defending by Diarmuid O’Donnell, Sean McGrath and Sean Compton, and harsh words from the side-line, Kilfeacle and District started to gain the upper hand again.
With the game drawing to a close Kilfeacle upped their game once more when Pat Ryan scored another try after great work from Joshua Featherstone, Shane Luby, Packie Burke, Charles Walshe and Cathal Donovan. Shane Luby failed as he tried to convert this try. For the final few minutes of the game Kilfeacle found themselves defending as Galbally were camped in their 22, Galbally built up numerous scoring chances, however worryingly for them, because of some poor passing and good defending the visiting side were unable to breach the try line and score. The final score was 20 points to 7 in favour of the home side in a game and a performance that Kilfeacle know they will need to improve on, if they are to make any impact on this competition.
The next game is the next round match up away against local rivals Clanwilliam on Sunday 9 at 2.30pm. This promises to be a very daunting task and as ever, to be a lively affair, with Clanwilliam coming into the game as strong favourites with player coach David Quinlan bringing a new impetus to the Tipperary side.