(Our mighty Under 9s after a successful blitz in Roscrea RFC last Sunday)
Senior: After a break week to get the walking wounded in order Nenagh faced back in to Energia AIL action last Saturday. A long away trip to Banbridge in Co. Down was the assignment that faced Nenagh for round 13 of the 18 match campaign and it proved to be a game to defy logic in many ways.
Firstly the form lines in the year so far would naturally have made Nenagh warm favourites. On top of that consider the fact that Nenagh had what in a scoreline sense would have seemed an easy victory in the reverse tie back in Nenagh earlier in the season. The odds would seem to have been heavily weighted for Nenagh. However, any seasoned followers of the Ormond brigade would have known that Rifle Park, home of the men from the Bann, has been anything but a happy hunting ground for Nenagh visitors in the past. Moreover, despite the lopsided scoreline in Nenagh earlier in the year (39-3) when the sides last met, ironically in it Banbridge proved to be one of the more accomplished looking teams that Nenagh faced and for the first half in particular that day, were particularly hard to break down.
That feeling of potential danger was strengthened even further when from the kickoff on Saturday, the home team immediately went on the offensive, forced an attacking scrum and then all too easily waltzed in out wide for the day's opening score. Who’d have thought that 7 pointer would be the first of 82 points on the day?!
Then the script flipped once more. Nenagh, perhaps jolted awake by that early warning shot embarked on one of their most impressive periods of play all year. In the remaining 35 mins of the opening half they unleashed a blitzkrieg offensive on the home team. This yielded a penalty try as well as 5 pointers for Josh Rowland, Davy Gleeson and John Healy. All three scores were converted by Conor McMahon and at 28-7 ahead, the bonus point was secure and a five point win looked ominous.
In such games the first score after half time is vital. If the team in front get it you feel it’s contest over, give the trailing side a lifeline and sudden;y it’s game on. Nenagh seemed to do everything right again. They thundered back in to action. Firstly they established territory deep in the Bann half. A period of scrum resets saw Nenagh awarded a penalty. This was dispatched to touch where clean lineout possession was won and from there a well set maul trundled its way for the line forcing panic in the defence who duly pulled it down. The referee didn’t hesitate in running under the posts to award another 7 point penalty try. So 35-7 ahead, game over one would think. Think again!
If anyone had the opportunity to watch the Scotland vs Wales game the previous weekend in Cardiff what happened next will read quite familiarly. One team looks locked in for victory, the other seems devoid of inspiration, ideas or hope of any kind, and then it all just turns on its head from nowhere.
Perhaps hunting for pride alone, Banbridge came back down the field and ran in a converted try. Nenagh once more responded sharply and cancelled it out with a 2nd Davy Gleeson try to bring the score to 40-14. Logic would say both teams empty the benches, time ticks away and perhaps a score or two between the sides leaves a similar margin at the end. Logic disappeared here though. With another score leaving Banbridge within a try of a bonus point they suddenly had a workable objective. When that score came it was now 40-21. With quality strike runners like Rob Lyttle in their ranks, a man regularly capped for Ulster in recent years this was a side who wouldn’t refuse opportunities to run the ball. With a few knocks stealing Nenagh of Patrick Scully, Josh Rowland and then Derek Corcoran suddenly Nenagh were the ones looking a little devoid of inspiration. The 4th Banbridge try duly came. The gap was now down to 12 points, and with time still on the clock, Bann were sniffing at least a 2nd bonus if they scored another try. And, maybe just maybe a maximum points victory if they could score twice. Nenagh, having looked every inch the champions in waiting for 55 mins fell into the trap so many teams do when rowing against the tide. Battening down the hatches and seeing this one out was what was unquestionably needed. Perhaps naively they were guilty if anything of trying to play too much rugby in the end game. So often such an approach throws up opportunities to the opposition. Supporters watched through their hands as the home team capitalised to close the gap to 5 with about 3 mins to play. It was now an all out shellacking coming from the home side. Right from the restart they came again and scored far too easily for what 30 mins earlier seemed an impossible 42-40 lead.
In a game that surely had no more to give there was amazingly still time for one last twist. Banbridge, having done everything right for the previous 15 or so minutes elected unwisely to kick away possession in their own half from the restart. Regathering on the half way line Nenagh had a mountain to climb to get into scoring range with Banbridge pushing all 15 up in defence. Heroically, Nenagh carried phase after phase to work their way to the Banbridge 22. Bann deserve credit for not infringing and keeping their line largely intact. Nenagh too showed mettle in grinding out the hard yards despite fuel tanks running on fumes. With the clock long expired Conor O brien dropped into the pocket for a last gasp drop at goal. Alas it was wide and the great escape wasn’t to be. The final whistle blew to elation for Banbridge and shellshock for Nenagh.
This can't be dressed up as anything other than a massive collapse for Nenagh. For all but 15 crazy minutes they did everything right and played some scintillating rugby along the way but matches don't end any sooner than the final whistle. The video review will not be pretty but negativity aside Nenagh actually earned two bonus points for their efforts. That along with Cashel losing too meant it was not all bad news for Nenagh. In a day of crazy twists they wound up two points further ahead of the chasing pack in the league table than they were at the outset.
can take the learnings necessary from this harsh tutorial in finishing games out, they can still achieve all the goals set for the year. Next up is a home tie with Ballymena and a chance to steady the ship. All support would be greatly appreciated in Lisatunny next Saturday at 2.30pm.
U20.5: Nenagh took on Dolphin RFC in the UL 4G on Saturday afternoon in their penultimate Donal Walsh Trophy fixture. Needing a win to consolidate their place in the Plate competition at the end of the year Nenagh did not disappoint. Tries from Seán Tormey, Ryan Thompson and Mason Cawley as well as 2 penalties from Evan Fitzpatrick left Nenagh as 21- 5 victors.
The team have a daunting away trip to UCC on Valentines night to round off their regular season. Regardless of that game it would look like Nenagh probably have enough done to earn a home semi final in the Plate playoffs. Many of the team will also have Junior Cup action to look forward to in the next fortnight with the 2nd XV.
U16: Our U 16s played the North Munster League Cup semi final vs U.L Bohs on Sunday in U.L's 4G due to home pitch issues. The boys came away with a good win.
After a strong start, two minutes in Darragh Murphy got a try after a run from outside the 22. Dean Carey converted with a good kick. Darragh crossed again after 17 mins after a tap and go penalty on the 22. Again Dean converted the kick giving the lads a 14-0 lead.
The boy’s confidence was up and 2 mins later Darragh scored yet again, this time off the back of a ruck and from great build up play including a lovely kick and chase from Matt Leyden. Dean Carey converted and things were going well in both attack and defence. On the 26th minute, off a line-out maul, the boys worked the ball across the field to Matt Leyden whose pace saw him go over the try line. Carey converted giving the Nenagh lads a 28-0 advantage at half time.
Bohs came out after half time and attacked hard. They scored 2 tries on 40 and 44 mins. Nenagh had got 2 sin binnings within a few mins of each other leaving 13 on the pitch at one stage. However, under a bit more pressure, the lads still looked threatening and defended well. After 50 mins Sean Stone crossed for another try demonstrating great skill and vision. 5 mins later Bohs scored another try bringing there tally to 19 points. Nenagh however always looked the stronger and finally on 60 mins James Kennedy scored for Nenagh bringing Nenagh’s final score to 38 points. This gives them a deserved spot in the League Cup final vs the winners of Young Munster and Shannon. We also continue our Pan Munster Cup campaign, awaiting fixtures for the Quarter Final stage after beating Kilrush last weekend to qualify. The panel is doing well and improving all the time.Thanks to everyone.
Panel: Armandas Kiaulakis, Liam O'Brien Dunne, Ronan Maher, Billy Hodgins, Oisin Ryan, Jack Kennedy, Jack Cleary, Darragh Murphy, Max Austin, Dean Carey, Matt Layden, Adam Boland, Michael Cleary,Keith O'Donaghue, Diarmuid Gleeson, Brandon Rosney, Thomas Ryan, James Kennedy, Benjamin Deegan, Alexander Finn, Sean Stone ,Shaun Kennedy, Martin Heveli, Shay Óg Kennedy.
U13: The under 13’s travelled to Birr on Sunday morning to take on a very strong Birr team who are in the Leinster semi final vs Terenure College next week. Management were a bit apprehensive before the game as it was a bit of an unknown. Watching the respective warm ups didn’t assuage us of our nervousness. However we need not have worried with the lads getting off to a flying start and pinning their opponents in a vice-like grip which they pretty much didn’t relinquish for the whole game, with the first period almost being completely played in the Birr 22. Paraic Sheehy capped an impressive overall performance with an excellent try to put us up 7-0 at the break. The only worry was that we hadn’t enough points to reflect our dominance. The second period went the same way with half backs Christopher Ryan and the excellent Robbie Powell tormenting their opponents. With the back row of Callahan, Comerford and Hogan a constant threat in an impressive unit performance, tight head Justin Ziolionis caught the eye with a powerful display in the tight aided by his second row Michael Cullinane who impressed with some tough ball carries into the heart of the defence putting them on the back foot.
A try from Robbie Powell and a lung bursting intercept from Jack Comerford sealed the win and Oliver Duff dealt the fatal blow with another well taken try
All tries were converted impressively into a strong cross field breeze by Powell.
The third period saw the emptying of the bench with all the lads getting a full 20 minutes at least. The game had got loose as bodies tired by then. But some to catch eye were Michael Donnellan on the wing with some good carries and also Dara
Dillon at full back while Tommy Morgan in the forwards caught the eye with some great carries
U9: Nenagh Ormond's Under 9s travelled into Old Crescent to play their first blitz of 2024. They have been eager to get some gametime with lots of cancellations due to weather lately.
Despite the rain all week ,the weather on Sunday morning was perfect for rugby & we had over 30 kids playing. The progress they are making really showed with some great rugby played.
Split the Bucket: Our Split the Bucket Draw continues to hand out a minimum of €500 in prize money every week. This is our main fundraiser and supports the work of the club at all age levels. Go to nenaghormondrfc.com/products to enter and be in with a chance to win our next weekly jackpot.
Senior: Nenagh vs Ballymena RFC. Saturday Feb 17th @ 14.30 (Lisatunny)- Energia AIL
U20.5: Nenagh vs UCC RFC. Wednesday Feb 14th @ 19.30 (Mardyke)- Donal Walsh Trophy
Underage Fixtures: TBC, please follow social media updates for details.