NORFC U16s continued their Cup campaign with an away fixture in Garryowen on Sunday. These two teams met over Christmas in the North Munster League Semi Final with the Nenagh lads coming out on top in a very competitive game on that occasion.
This game proved even more competitive and there was no score for most of the first half. Garryowen started strong and spent most of the first twenty minutes on the attack. Nenagh defended well but the home side won two kickable penalties during this period which, fortunately for the visitors, they narrowly missed. The Nenagh lads then worked their way into the Garryowen half where they got into a couple of good attacking positions but were unable to convert the opportunities to points.
As the half went on, the Nenagh forwards came more into the game and both lineouts and mauls were excellent. When they won a penalty, Nenagh kicked to the corner where the forwards secured the ball and set up a maul. Twice Garryowen infringed and on the second penalty, Nenagh decided to tap and go and Kedagh Broderick touched down in the corner.
Nenagh started well in the second half and worked very hard to get a foothold in Garryowen territory. They kept the pressure on and, after putting some good phases together, winger Marcus O’Mahony went over for Nenagh’s second try.
At this point Garryowen really lifted their game and started to retain possession well. They made great ground through their forwards and eventually got in for a try which they converted. Nenagh fought back and won a penalty which Cillian Healy slotted to put the visitors ahead by 6 points but Garryowen weren’t done yet. The Limerick team came back and scored a second try which they again converted to go 14-13 up. With about seven minutes left, Nenagh upped the tempo and threw everything they had at Garryowen. They came very close on a couple of occasions but Garryowen managed to hold out till the final whistle.
This was a tough, close game that the lads were disappointed to lose but both players and coaches often learn more from defeat than from winning and that is certainly the case here. The lads now have two weeks to work on these lessons before they travel to Ballincollig for their final pool game where they will be hoping for a strong performance to secure a place in the top 8 teams in the province.
Nenagh Team: Cillian Healy, Daniel Quinn, Shane Cleary, Brehon O’Donnell, Marcus O’Mahony, Billy O’Brien, Thomas O’Brien, Donncha O’Meara, Jack Casey (c), Cathal Quigley, Valters Janitens, Cillian Lewis, Nathan Mannion, Emmet Jones, Kedagh Broderick, Jamie Horan, Ryan Gratton, Dylan Gamble, Alex Ryan, Luke Shelly, Conor Ryan, Paul Kennedy, Gonzalo Martinez.