Thomond proved best in the local derby in Liam Fitzgerald Park yesterday, winning comfortably against a disappointing Richmond.
Before a fine attendance, the royal blues ran out deserving winners on a 22-5 scoreline. Meanwhile, Newcastle West marched on with an emphatic 45-10 home victory over Skibbereen that keeps them nicely placed in early season ratings. Three tries in each half proved too much for the Cork side.
The meeting of Abbeyfeale and Mallow produced a cliff-hanger of a game in The Grove with newly-promoted Mallow edging the honours 17-20.
In division two, St Mary’s chalked up a second victory on the trot and are now nicely placed with nine league points. The bonus-point win away to Fethard was impressive with the Saints scoring five tries, three conversions and three penalties for a 24-40 victory.
The game between St Senan’s and Galbally did not take place because of a bereavement in the Shannon Town club.
Munster Junior League 1
Thomond 22, Richmond 5
Thomond got off to a great start and Conor Radcliffe got over after a well-organised lineout maul after six minutes. The home side kept up the pressure and Darragh Hartery was stopped close to the line. Ryan Aherne stole the Richmond lineout, Thomond again went through the phases and centre Ger Finucane touched down to give the home side a 10-0 lead at half time.
Three minutes into the second half Thomond struck again, Ger Finucane crashing over the Richmond line for his second try after a great break. The winning bonus point arrived soon after, Evan O’Connor going in for a touchdown and Adam Guerin kicking the extras to put 22 points between the sides.
Richmond enjoyed a lot of possession after that but the Thomond defence showed stubborn resistance. Going into injury time, the Canal Bank boys eventually got a score on the board, right-wing Jack O’Hanlon finishing off a nice backline move but Brian Mullins’ conversion attempt swung just wide of the left hand post.
This was a welcome win for Thomond after their defeat by Kilfeacle last week-end. They lost players to the bin going into the final stages but they will be happy enough after leaking just the one score at the death. Richmond, who had to field without key player Gearoid Phelan, will be asking how their side could have played so poorly, particularly in the opening half, and improvement is needed.
Thomond: W Kelly; E O’Connor, R Ryan, G Finucane, D Hartery; P Connolly, E Sherlock; D Quinn, E Payne, J O’Shea; C Radcliffe, J Sheehan; K McMahon, R Ahern, L Slattery
Abbeyfeale 17, Mallow 20
After their win the previous week-end over Galbally, Abbeyfeale were fancied to reap more points from this fixture. At the end of an exciting game, they had to settle for a losing bonus point after a tough battle. Abbeyfeale led 5-0 early on and it was 10-7 to the home side after 15 minutes. Mallow led 10-17, Abbeyfeale levelled it at 17-17 before Mallow snatched victory with a late three-pointer.
Abbeyfeale scored three tries, one each from Tom Hassett, Michael Roche and Adrian Enright, with Hassett kicking a conversion. Feale will travel to play Clonakilty next Sunday.
Munster Junior League 2
Fethard 24, St Mary’s 40
The Grove Island side have made a terrific start to their campaign, recording this bonus-point victory away from home on the back of last weekend’s victory over Tralee. The first half was a close affair and there was only two points between the sides. The Saints produced some fine rugby in the second period to see off the challenge of the home side.
Keith McManus scored a brace of tries with one each coming from Alex Kiely, a penalty try and a fine effort from Anthony Morgan. Jade Marlo Pendejito again showed his reliability from the kicking tee, contribution three conversions and three penalties. Next up for the Saints is a home game against Dungarvan next Sunday.