One can only stand back and admire Clonmel RFC 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.