NEWCASTLE West’s brave bid for that elusive Munster Junior League division one title looks set to come up short once again with Kilfeacle and District showing no signs of slipping up in an exciting run-in.
The Tipperary side’s bonus point win this week-end away to Skibbereen leaves them with just two more games to play and even though Newcastle have a game in hand, it looks like they will be pipped at the post.
Kilfeacle have won every one of their 11 games in this campaign and their five winning bonus points have proven to be crucial. Success in the league coupled with their crowning as Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup champions would crown a remarkable season.
Abbeyfeale are making a late charge for a top four place but it looks as if Thomond and Mallow will hold off the challenge for the third and fourth spots.
The relegation battle is also hotting up. St Senan’s have just two points , Skibbereen have eight points and Waterpark have 12 points, while Skib and Senan’s have a match in hand over the Waterford side. Limerick’s other contenders Galbally are safely occupying 11th place with 20 points and will avoid the drop.
Richmond 13, Mallow 26:
Mallow came to the Canal Bank on Sunday in search of a winning bonus point and that is how this division one clash ended. With three matches remaining, it looks as if Richmond will look back on this season with some regret and strengthening their squad will be their priory before the start of next season.
At half time Richmond led 8-7 and their coaches would have been looking forward to a second half when they could push on for victory. Mallow, however, had other ideas and they went on to score three tries, two converted, in the second half.
Shane Halpin scored a first half try for Richmond while Brian Mullins kicked a penalty. Mikey Kelleher’s try was their only return from their second half efforts. The result was disappointing for the home side and their chances of challenging for a top four place have evaporated over recent weeks.
Skibbereen 19, Kilfeacle and District 24:
This bonus point win for Kilfeacle was hard earned but it keeps them very much in control of their own destiny. They now move nine points clear of second placed Newcastle West on 40 points with Thomond and Mallow trailing in that order.
Newcastle West have a game in hand. Played on Saturday, Skibbereen put on one of their best performances of the season and grabbed a losing bonus point for their efforts.
There were only four points between the sides at the final whistle but the four tries that were scored by Kilfeacle gives them a precious bonus point as both themselves and Newcastle face into their final games in this thrilling league race.
MJL1, Bandon 10, Newcastle West 15:
Newcastle West returned to second place in the Munster Junior League division one table when last Thursday night they held out for a vital away victory in Bandon. The Limerick side had to dig deep into their resilience stock to get the victory.
They lost a player to a red card for a high tackle a minute before the break when they led 6-3 and they had to play the second 40 minutes a man short. Sean Herlihy continues to be a saviour for the ‘West’ and it was his accuracy from the kicking tee that once again played a major part in this victory.
Two first half penalties had Newcastle three points ahead going into the second half and while Bandon scored a converted try, Herlihy’s coolness under pressure saw him add a further nine points from three penalties that keeps the Limerick side clinging on to their title hopes.
Bandon put on fierce pressure in the last the last ten minutes but Newcastle West stood firm with some heroic defensive work that gave them a well-deserved victory.