It was with a huge degree of trepidation that Clonmel took to the sunny field in Clonmel last Sunday to take on the fancied St. Senans side in their first round of the Munster Junior League.
St. Senans, on the back of a fantastic win over Crosshaven the previous week, and with Clonmel being hit with a lot of injuries, even this early in the season, were to be feared. However, it was the young Clonmel side, sprinkled with a few old wise heads, that drew first blood.
Five minutes into the game, after some quick work by the forwards, the ball was swiftly passed along the Clonmel backline. Conor Cooney, who had an excellent game at full back, scampered from halfway, sold a few dummies, drew in the Senans fullback, and released a lovely pass to David Lonergan on the wing. Lonergan made it look easy as he scored near the post. Cooney converted to make the it 7-0.
St. Senans had a much bigger and stronger pack aqnd the pressure was working and Clonmel were forced to concede a couple of kickable penalties. Dick Collins, Senans outhalf, stepped up to the mark and reduced the deficit. But it was Clonmel that rounded off a good, gutsy first half performance with a penalty from Conor Cooney and an excellently executed try scored by Robbie Carroll. Cooney converted to leave the halftime score Clonmel 17-6.
Clonmel were under a lot of pressure for the first twenty minutes of the second half. Eventually the heavy Senans pack made their prowess count when their second row player Stephen Ryan was at the end of a pushover try. Collins converted to make the score Clonmel 17-13. And then the mobility of the young, light Clonmel pack supported by towering performances by Mark Foley at No. 8, and Jacko Oosthyusen at scrumhalf, set the platform for Conor Cooney to run in two tries, one of which he converted. This gave Clonmel not only the win but a bonus point also.
This was a great start to the Munster Junior League campaign for Clonmel as they were the eventual winners 29-13.
u-7s and u-8s:
On a day for ducks and young rugby players, Clonmel U7s and U8s combined to take on the force of Waterford City. The fire in the bellies of all on the pitch was a welcome source of heat as the rain poured down. From the outset this young team piled on the pressure to claim what they regard is rightfully theirs, that beautiful oval ball. Liam Maher scored the first of Clonmel’s tries as he tore open the opponents defence and touched down with deceptive ease. The late arrival of Michael Connellan helped firm up the Clonmel defence and allowed for some very direct and piercing attacks to be launched by the likes of Ben Hannafin, Archie Clements, Jack Lane and Ben Everard. The enthusiasm of this young team was very much embodied in young Harry O’Keeffe whose quick launching attacks left the opposition struggling to gain any sort of momentum. It was obvious to all who witnessed the tackling power of Zac Ryan that this was a young man that gains much of his strength from the quality Irish beef served at his family’s butchers. Indeed, the opposition found it very difficult to get past the exquisite defensive rugby of Ben O‘Dwyer, Daragh Walsh and John Green. Then just when we thought this team could give no more, Marc Hickey took off at a blistering pace from deep inside the Clonmel half to score a try the likes of which are rarely seen. As legs tired, Cianan Power and Ciara Kennedy dug deep to produce some outstanding rugby. Thanks all Parents for continued support. Great job by the coaches John/Peter/Paddy/Harry
You know your are well and truly into the season when you are in the middle of a pitch in Waterford on a Sunday morning, with torrential wind and rain blowing around you, and in typical CRFC mini’s style, all you hear is the laughter/banter/chat from the U9s. We had two very tough games against our old foe Waterpark, who are always a strong team with lots of skills. Clonmel were up at them from the off with Lennon, Zac, Adam, Fionn,TJ, Harry and Cian P on top of Waterpark before they knew what hit them.
This was the trend for both games. There was some great tackling from both teams with Sean, Tom, Rian, Paddy, Cian O’D, Jack ensuring the defence and wings were well covered. The blistering pace of Paddy/Jack/TJ/Zac/Cian P was too much for Waterpark to handle.
Waterpark were not to be outdone and their determination kept Clonmel under pressure throughout, with some great skills from Waterpark to rack up their tries. But Clonmel came out on top in both games with great individual and team tries. One of the big takeaways was how this team played so well as a team, supporting each other at all times - the discipline/organisation, the tackling/passing and running.
It was very hard to pull out any individual for Player of the Blitz with so many try scorers’ and solid displays all across the pitch. But this honour was awarded to Zac O’Loughlin. His tackling and ball winning was outstanding. Every time a Waterpark player turned with the ball Zac was there tackling and winning possession off them.
All the hard work at training is really showing benefit. Great job by the coaches Ulrik/Trevor/Adrian (and Shane). A big massive “Thanks” to all the Parents for braving the elements to support this team, the side-line was not a place for the faint hearted. Off to Clanwilliam (Mini’s Blitz U7 to U12) next Saturday morning, meet at club 9.15
All Weather Pitches
Clonmel RFC has re-launched its state of the art All Weather Pitch. Sportslawn Ireland have installed a FIFA 2 star VT60 product that meets the necessary performance requirements for top level football.
The pitches are also now fully enclosed with overhead and side netting.
Bookings are now being taken on 087-3724394 and at office @clonmelrfc.com
So please come along and enjoy this wonderful modern facility
1st XV play Old Christians away on Sunday in the second round of the Munster Junior League, kick-off 2.30pm.
2nd XV play in the fourth round of the Gleeson League home against Thurles on Saturday.
Minis’ Blitz - U7 to U12 on Saturday in Clanwilliam. Meet at club 9.15am Sharp.