Nenagh Ormond U16s hosted Bruff in the quarter final of the North Munster Cup on Sunday last in Lisatunny. Having suffered a heart-breaking last minute defeat to the same opponents in the League Final the week before, the Nenagh lads went out determined to win this one.
From the start, Nenagh held on to the ball and went through phase after phase, making their way into the Bruff half where Brehon O’Donnell, who had another superb game, got through for the first try. Six minutes later dynamic flanker Nathan Mannion added another try to his tally for the season and Cillian Healy converted to put the home side ahead by 12 points. Then a fumble from the kick off saw Bruff gain a foothold in the Nenagh half where the Limerick side spent the next ten minutes on the attack. Some outstanding defence from the entire team and excellent clearance kicks from Healy kept them out and when Nenagh got the ball again they were determined to keep it. Openside flanker Emmet Jones, whose workrate was outstanding throughout the match, went over for Nenagh’s third try and another Healy conversion pushed the score out to 19 points. However, Bruff then upped the tempo and won a lineout in the Nenagh 22. After a well worked maul, their scrum half showed great footwork to slip through the defence for their first try. Bruff converted for a half time score of 19-7.
The visitors kept the energy up in the second half with their number 8 crashing over for their second try followed by another out wide 5 minutes later to even up the score. At this point, considering the recent history between the sides, anyone would have forgiven the Nenagh lads if they started to doubt themselves. But these players have shown their mental toughness time and time again this season and it was there for all to see on Sunday. Resolute, they dug in and made their way back up the pitch where they won a penalty. Healy continued his excellent form with the boot, slotting the kick and putting Nenagh ahead by 3 points. Bruff came back on the attack again after that and almost went over in the corner with the cover defence just getting there in time to put their winger into touch. Time was ticking down but, not content to just hold on, Nenagh stayed playing and when they got a penalty 5 metres out they decided to run it. Second row Ryan Gratton showed great strength to break through the Bruff defenders and touch down for a final scoreline of 27-19 to the home side.
This was a great win for our U16s with every player on the team putting in maximum effort but special mention must go to Valters Janitens whose defence at outside centre was excellent and to Luke Shelly who put in a great performance in the second row. The lads now travel to Ennis next Sunday for the North Munster Cup Semi Final.