Clonmel qualified for the semi-final of the Munster Junior Rugby Cup with a narrow 16-13 win over Limerick visitors Thomond at Ardgeeha
Thomond went into a 3-0 lead but Clonmel replied with a try from Brian Lonergan converted by Ben Martyn. A penalty put Clonmel 10-3 up at half time.
The second half was evenly contested with neither side wanting to give way. After twenty minutes of play both sides had exchanged successful penalty kicks. Then a crucial phase of play took place. It was possibly the winning of the game for Clonmel and the losing of the game for Thomond.
Clonmel, in the 25th minute of play, were moving the ball quickly between backs and forward, advancing swiftly from inside their own 22 to the Thomond 22. A try was definitely on the cards for Clonmel. But a poor pass allowed the Thomond right wing to collect the intercept. Clonmel were totally exposed in the backs. A kick ahead from the winger left him an open field to score. But the speedy Craig Carroll was alert and won the race to retrieve the ball from the ground. Right in front of the post, five meters out. Thomond forwards piled in and overturned the ball. Most of the Clonmel team were still returning from centre field. As luck would have it, for Clonmel, the Thomond scrum half made his only mistake in the game – he knocked on the ball.
The reliving scrum eventually saw Clonmel drill their way back up field to score from another penalty to make the score Clonmel 16-6. With only five minutes left to play it looked like Clonmel were home and dry. But then, due to fatigue and a lapse of concentration, Clonmel let the Thomond open side wing forward, Dermot Ryan, in for a converted try. With a minute remaining, only three points separated these two jaded teams. At last the final whistle, and relief all round, for Clonmel.