Junior Rugby: Rest week ahead for many Limerick Clubs

After five series of games, Newcastle West are one point behind leaders Kilfeacle and District in the Munster Junior League division one and when the competition returns on November 24, these two will clash in Cullinagh. Sunday’s fixtures saw Thomond, Richmond and Newcastle West register victories while Galbally shared the spoils with Skibbereen. In division two St Mary’s were beaten at home by league leaders Old Christians.

The current state of play in the Munster Junior League 1 table sees Newcastle West second on 22 points, Thomond on 19 points, Richmond on 13, Abbeyfeale 10 and Galbally with 8 points. There is a week off now for most clubs with the Munster Junior Challenge Cup fixtures taking centre stage next weekend.

In division two the Saints are currently lying in joint fifth place in the table with 13 points and will be away to Cobh Pirates in two weeks time.

Munster Junior League 1

Richmond 18, Abbeyfeale 14.

This was a cracker of a local derby with the large crowd entertained for the full 80 minutes. It was 10-7 to Richmond at half time with Eoin Hanley getting over for a try and Sean Considine contributing a penalty and a conversion. The first 40 minutes were equally exciting with both sides earning good vocal support.

The Abbeyfeale side was getting the edge up front, earning a penalty try in the opening half and they had a similar score in the second half to bring their tally to 14 points. Richmond worked hard for their victory and they were rewarded when Keith McCarthy scored a spectacular try and Sean Considine’s penalty gave the Canal Bank club a welcome victory.

Thomond 26, Clanwilliam 11

The Thomondgate side had a low-key opening half and it was well into the second quarter before they could get a decent footing in their opponents’ half of the field. Clanwilliam dominated that opening 40 minutes but they should have had more points on the board.

Thomond, who made four changes from their previous game, lost Aaron Dunne with a shoulder injury, replaced by Kevin O’Mahony, and they hit the ground running from the first whistle of the second half. Ger Finucane has been very influential this season and he put his side into 7-3 lead with a try under the posts, converted by Adam Guerin on 45 minutes.

The Tipperary side responded with a penalty but Thomond’s Warren Kelly showed his pace to get his side’s second touchdown to make it 12-6. A quick tap penalty by the alert Ger Finucane saw the centre go over unchallenged and Adam Guerin’s kick pushed the home lead to 19-6.

The bonus point score came before the finish from Richie Ryan, again converted by Guerin and right at the end ‘Clan’ got a consolation try. This win keeps Thomond in the mix for an assault on the leaders when the league resumes at the end of the month.

Galbally 6, Skibbereen 6

This was a typical junior league battle with both sides giving it one hundred per cent from start to finish. No tries, but plenty of honest grafting in this one. Two penalties each was the total reward for the onlookers with John Kearns kicking the two tee-shots for Galbally to bring their league point tally to 8 so far. Their next fixture is a visit to Waterpark in two weeks time.

Clonakilty 20, Newcastle West 21

The scoreline may indicate a nail-biter but Newcastle were leading 13-21 going into the final stages when Clonakilty got their converted try. Once again the Limerick side benefitted from the reliability of Sean Herlihy to keep scores on the board. This time the ‘kicking machine’ contributed three penalties and a conversion with Sean Ivess, who has been showing great form all season, adding to Brian O’Sullivan’s first-half try with a crucial second-half touchdown.

The first half was tight and the sides were level at 13-13 but the ‘West’ eased forward in the second half, their pack controling much of the game, and the win keeps them in the top two of this division going into the week’s league break. Newcastle West’s next league game is a home fixture against league leaders Kilfeacle and District on November 24. Can’t wait for that one!

Munster Junior League 2

St Mary’s 19, Old Christians 30

Going into this fixture word from the St Mary’s camp was that they were under no illusions about the strength of the opposition. They showed that determination during the opening quarter but when they lost a player to a red card, that changed the dimension of the fixture. They also suffered a setback in the warm-up when key out-half Sean Lyons suffered a niggle and had to cry off while Keith Manus had to retire in the second half with an injury.

Heading towards half time St Mary’s looked as if they would overcome these woes and led 9-6 thanks to three penalties from Jade Marlo Pendejito. ‘Christians’ scored a try just on the stroke of the short whistle to lead 9-13 at the break and straight from the kick-off in the second half they got in for a second try and conversion that took the lead to 9-20.

More scores for the Cork side took the lead to 12-30 but a try by Danny Hickey who had returned after a lengthy injury, added seven points to their tally after Jade Marlo’s conversion, his fifth from five successful attempts at the posts.

The ‘Saints’ will now be hoping for some good results from their next fixtures when they meet Cobh Pirates, Muskerry and Ballincollig in that order. They are fifth in the table with 13 points but only four adrift of second-placed Dungarvan who have 7 points. It’s pretty tight in division two with Mary’s also just a single point behind the third and fourth teams.

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