Clanwilliam produced a superb comeback to defeat Clonmel 22-19 in extra time and progress to the quarter final of the Munster Junior cup.
Clonmel came to Clanwilliam Park last Sunday in confident mood and this confidence looked well founded when they were 19-3 ahead just after half time.
But Clanwilliam fought back to level the game just before full time and then went on to secure the victory with a penalty five minutes into extra time.
In the first half Clonmel were well organised and their tactics of having strong forwards taking on the ball in mid-field caused Clanwilliam some problems.
This early dominance saw Clonmel score two penalties and a try in the first twenty minutes.
Clanwilliam came more into the game at this stage but despite a number of good attacks, the only return was a Robert Doyle penalty.
Ten minutes from half- time, things got worse for Clanwilliam: A promising Clanwilliam attack broke down, Clonmel cleared the ball down field and from the ensuing lineout scored a try in the corner.
Trailing 16-3 at half time, Clanwilliam needed a good start to the second half but the opposite happened when Clonmel were awarded a penalty from the restart which they converted.
Clanwilliam kept their composure and worked hard to get back into the game. Vivian Grisewood broke through the Clonmel defence and got Clanwilliam into an attacking position. After a number of phases of play the ball went wide and Michael Doherty played a well time pass to Robert Doyle who scored in the corner. Doyle added the extra two points with a conversion.
Clanwilliam forwards were carrying the ball well with Kieran O’Donnell, Paul Ryan and David Quinlan prominent. The Clanwilliam backs were combining well but some loose kicking gave easy possession back to Clonmel who were dangerous on the counter attack.
Clanwilliam kept the pressure up and with ten minutes remaining were awarded a penalty near the half way line which Robert Doyle struck well to leave three points between the teams. Clonmel came back up the field and after some pressure had a five metre scrum. A succession of kickable penalties came Clonmel’s way but they opted to re-set the scrum on each occasion.
Eventually a magnificent effort from the Clanwilliam pack saw them turnover possession and clear their lines.
After this Clanwilliam were the dominant team and gaps were appearing in the Clonmel defence. Ian O’Rahelly made one notable break gaining thirty metres. With a few minutes of normal time remaining, Clanwilliam progressed over twenty metres from a rolling maul which brought a penalty and Robert Doyle cooled converted to level the match on full time.
Playing into the breeze for the first period of extra time Clanwilliam had to defend for the initial stages until a number of phases brought them into the Clonmel twenty-two.
A penalty came Clanwilliam’s way which Robert Doyle kicked. In the second period of extra time Clanwilliam played some of their best rugby keeping Clonmel in their half of the field until the last three minutes when Clonmel got close to the Clanwilliam line. Again, magnificent effort and tackling saw Clanwilliam hold out to the cheers of the excited Clanwilliam supporters.
In the quarter final, Clanwilliam have a home match against Richmond.
Earlier in the day, the Clanwilliam under 17s kept up their season’s good form with a win over Young Munster which prepares them well for their cup semi-final next weekend against Waterpark.
Clanwilliam express their sympathy to the Shanahan family on the death of Patsy.
Patsy was a renowned player and supporter of the club and played in the 1947 Junior Cup winning team. May he rest in peace.