Having watched a poor performance by Munster in Round 5 of the Heineken Cup, Clonmel and Kilfeakce supporters were expecting much better fare at Ardgeeha last Sunday. Kilfeakle supporters travelled in large numbers to watch and support their young side, a side that after this results sees them in third position on the League with 31 points.
Clonmel are still in mid table with 25 points and will need to gather some points from the remaining three games against Kanturk, Cobh Pirates, and Tralee in order to move up the table and consolidate their position to ensure they remain in First Division rugby.
Kilfeacle were the first to settle and put Clonmel under pressure from the beginning to score a penalty from outhalf, Shane Looby, within five minutes. Five minutes later Kilfeacle were back inside Clonmel’s 22, and a lovely backline movement saw right winger, Shane Morris
sail over in the right corner for a try. With fifteen minutes of play gone, down 8 points, and not having crossed the halfway line yet, things were looking rather ominous for Clonmel.
But Clonmel are made of much sterner stuff and ploughed their way back up field to earn a deserved penalty in front of the posts. Conor Cooney slotted the ball over the bar with ease.
Clonmel were back into the game and a few minutes later they were awarded another penalty in front of the post. An easy kick for Cooney, one would have thought. But for some reason it was decided to run the ball. Maybe the ball carrier saw a gap that nobody else saw. Certainly Kilfeacle didn’t see the gap and rebuffed Clonmel’s advances which resulted in a turnover and defensive scrum to Kilfeacle.
However, Clonmel stuck to their guns and did not let Kilfeacle outside their 22. Clonmel’s efforts resulted in another penalty, which Conor Cooney converted to narrow the gap to a manageable 2 points.
From the restart Kilfeacle were back down inside Clonmel’s 22 and forced a line out ten meters from Clonmel’s try line. A classic, training ground line out move ensued for Kilfeacle with hooker, James Ryan, crossing the line almost unopposed. There was little activity for
the remaining five minutes of the first half. So Kilfeacle led at halftime 15-6. Not much of a gap, and Clonmel were still in with a chance.
The second half was a rather strange affair in that within a minute of the restart Shane Looby had scored from another penalty kick, and eleven minutes later wing forward, Ger looby, saw the Clonmel backs parting like the Red Sea as he strolled up field to score a try under the post. Brother Shane converted to make the score 25-6.
It was shortly after this that a Clonmel wing forward was given a red card for a rather silly incident on his behalf. It must have been the flash heat of the moment on a freezing winter’s day that got to him. Whatever it was Clonmel were now down to 14 men with over 20 minutes of the
However it was Clonmel with the 14 that were the better of the two sides for the remainder of the game. There were some great forward drives from Clonmel, but there were some tremendous bursting runs by the backs such as Ben Martin, Brian Lonergan, Conor Cooney and Robbie Carroll, supported by forward surges from Mike Barry, Donncha Campbell, Darragh Foley and Gazza Mulcahy.
Clonmel played with such style and gusto for the remainder of the game that they deserved a few scores. But alas, Kilfeacle were up for the
task and defended extremely well to deny them anything.
Just like Munster earlier in the day, if Clonmel had played with the same determination as they did in the last 25 minutes for the whole game maybe it would have been a different score line and result. As one, well known, Kilfeacle man said, a man renowned for his match commentaries - “We know Clonmel are a lot better side than Kilfeacle, it is just that they did not perform on the day”.
Clonmel Women’s XV had a tremendous win over St. Mary’s in the All Ireland League, 19-0.
The U-17s had an equally excellent win over Waterford City 22-17.
1st XV play Kanturk in the Munster Junior League away next weekend. Because of the Munster v Racing Metro Heineken Cup game in Thomond Park, date and time has to be confirmed. Check www.clonmelrfc.com for details.