Unfortunately Saturday brought an end to what has been an incredible journey for our Senior team this season. Having reached a historic first Senior Cup final in Thomond Park, amassing 61 points to finish third in Division 2A of the AIL and reaching Saturday’s playoff for a shot at a place in Division 1B, not to mention turning over league champions Queens University both home and away during the regular season, this was a very creditable season regardless of Saturday’s result.
The Nenagh men lost no credit in this defeat. On an unseasonably bad day weather wise in Stradbrook conditions were difficult for both teams but that did not prevent an enthralling contest with plenty of endeavour from both sides. For an hour of the contest Nenagh just about shaded the contest, dominating territory and gaining a slight edge at the scrum in particular. A well worked try finished by Kevin O Flaharty after a good break and offload from Conor McMahon on 20 minutes to lead 5-0 was improved early in the second half by a penalty from Conor O Brien after a dominant scrum to lead 8-3 going in to the end game.
Unfortunately for Nenagh a few elements conspired against them. Injuries to John Healy, Nicky Irwin, Conor McMahon and captain Willie Coffey meant a lot of disruption to the back line and simultaneously Blackrock very much hit a purple patch monopolising possession which they struggled to retain up to this point. Playing the elements smartly they pinned Nenagh in their own 22 for most of the last quarter. Nenagh’s response was heroic and after winning a penalty to lift the siege as the game entered the final ten minutes it seemed Nenagh might just have done enough with the 5 point cushion. Alas the relieving kick was kept alive by the Blackrock defence, another penalty against Nenagh followed and once more they were pinned back on their own line. Eventually with about 2 minutes to play Blackrock’s pressure paid off breaching the try line a few metres to the side of the posts. Inevitably the conversion was added and Nenagh had to go in search of a winner having led exclusively up to this point.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be with Blackrock seeing out the remaining time smartly in possesion and it is they who will go forward to the playoff final with MU Barnhall in 2 weeks time.
This Nenagh team can be very proud of their efforts. They can have no regrets having showed up, leading for most of the game, absorbing a lot of bad luck on the injury front and still being there with a shout on the final play. As a season it is more than anyone could have predicted after hanging on to Division 2A status by a thread last season. Most pleasingly huge squad depth has been developed and this is a team with a huge amount of potential to build on this year’s progress if they can retain everyone involved from both a playing and coaching perspective. Well done to all on their efforts from all at Nenagh Ormond RFC. A massive thanks too to our supporters who were there in droves again on Saturday despite awful conditions for spectators. We are very thankful for all the support we have had right throughout theyear for this and all our other teams. The future is bright for all in red and white!