Munster under 18 Club Cup (group 2)
Sunday 10th February, New Ormond Park
Nenagh 21 Kinsale 12
Still in with a shout of progressing to the Munster Cup Quarter final stages, Nenagh Ormond under 18’s welcomed table toppers Kinsale to Lisatunny last Sunday afternoon in a crucial tie for both teams.
Having overcome Newcastle West in their last match to remain unbeaten and move top of the table, Kinsale made the 2 hour journey north hoping to secure themselves a home quarter final by beating a resurgent Nenagh side who’s game with Old Christians scheduled for the previous week had been cancelled due to a frozen pitch.
Nenagh played with the advantage of a freshening breeze in the first half and started the game well, gaining good territory without threatening the Kinsale line. A number of penalties against the home team gave the visitors relief from Nenagh pressure and with 15 minutes gone, they made their first foray into home territory. Well organised and retaining the ball well, Kinsale looked certain to break the deadlock on 20 minutes and were only denied by a brilliant steal by flanker Cathal Ryan who ripped the ball from his opposite number on the line, allowing out-half Danny Molamphy to relieve the pressure with an excellent kick to touch.
Slowly but surely, Nenagh started to get their talented backline moving and looked dangerous out wide, as they have throughout the season. When winger Eamon Hough made ground down the left, the pressure was now seriously on the away team and after a number of drives close to the line, the defence was finally broken by number 8 Jack O’Keefe who touched down for the game’s opening try.
Kinsale responded immediately, gaining ground from the restart and from a well-rehearsed backline move, centre Faelan Stewart ran an excellent line to split the home defence and score under the posts to tie the game at 7 points apiece to the delight of the travelling supporters.
Nenagh however were in determined mood and it was not long before they were once again putting pressure on the Kinsale line. First Jack O’Keefe scored his second by bursting through the scrambling visitor defence and then Kian O’Kelly finished off a good Nenagh attack when taking the opposition by surprise from a quick-tapped penalty to give his side a 21-7 half time lead.
With the strong breeze now blowing straight down the pitch in the second half, it was clear that stern defence would be required if Nenagh were to hold out for the win. Conditions demanded that the home team kept the ball in hand and this they did brilliantly, with Jack O’Keefe, Eamon Hough, Cathal Ryan and Cathal Delaney all prominent in a fine team effort to hold onto possession and frustrate their opponents.
Faced with such resolute defence, Kinsale began to run out of ideas as they were continually knocked back or forced into errors. Although second rower Dylan Fitzpatrick finally breached the Nenagh line to score his side’s second try with 2 minutes remaining, it turned out to be only a consolation score as Nenagh closed out the game comfortably for a thoroughly deserved victory.
Nenagh now travel to Glanmire next Saturday for a “winner takes all” match against Old Christians and a Munster quarter final place on the line.
Nenagh Ormond: Cathal Delaney, Dylan Murphy, Conor Sullivan, , Eoghan Slevin, Tadhg Maguire, Jack O’Keefe, Cathal Ryan, Peter Rainsford, Daniel Molamphy, Patrick Finn, Conor McMahon, Eamon Hough, Kian O’Kelly, Eoin Farrell, Dylan Knight. Reps: Ruan O’Hanluain, James Meagher, Jack Keays, Sean McAdams, James Ferris, , Shane Whelan, Eoin O’Meara, , Aaron Sharkey, Joe Cooney, Richard Donaldson, Ronan McNamara, Danny O’Connor