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U13 V Bantry 24th Nov 2018   28/11/2018

U13 Match Report

Youths U13 South Munster Friendlies

Clonakilty 36: Bantry 34

Clonakilty U13’s took on Bantry this past Sunday in a challenge match. The Bantry side arrived as a completely unknown quantity. All Clonakilty did know was that Bantry were short on numbers in the U13’s so by mutual agreement had added some of their newer U14’s to supplement the side. Newer should not be misinterpreted to mean weaker; what the Bantry U14 new lads lacked in experience and rugby acumen they certainly made up for in pure athletic ability and eagerness. Despite the blend of U13’s and U14’s Bantry still only had 13 men and so Clonakilty struck an agreement with their counterparts to lend them two players. Darragh Clancy who has just returned after a long injury lay-off and Dillon Van Dam who was away for a few weeks himself, agreed to play with Bantry and avail of plentiful game-time as a result. Their willingness to help out was appreciated and noted!

The Clonakilty lads seemed to be a little lack-lustre in parts of warmup. Perhaps the change to a Sunday morning threw them a bit, and it was taking a while for the lads to fully wake up. This carried into the game and Clonakilty were quickly under the pump.

The first 20 mins was spent mostly defending. There were a few good attacking runs from Sean Coffey and Connor Daly, playing together in the midfield, and a good strong carry up the middle from Adam O’Leary. The Clonakilty set piece was also functioning well with Finn O’Boyle Rafferty finding his mark in the line outs, and the second row of George Russell and Daniel McCarthy providing a solid platform in the scrums. The back row of Shane Keohane playing for the first time at 8, John Deegan having another run at 6 and captain fantastic for the day Sean Flood at 7, were all working hard at the breakdown. Cailim Van Dam was playing front row but was working hard around the field like another loose forward too. Despite all the efforts Clon were on the back foot and in their own half for nearly all of the first 20minutes, and despite brave tackling from Tom O’Donovan and Adam Barry on the wings, and Conor Creswell at full back, Bantry were able to get around Clon for 4 tries, fortunately none of them being converted.

The game had been set up as 3 x 20min tranches to allow Clonakilty scope to rotate players and try different combinations. At the first break on 20mins, Clon were 20 points down. Words were spoken in the huddle about keeping their width as Clon had been sucked in and bunched a lot making it too easy for Bantry to run around them. Clon also agreed they needed to be pressing harder on defence so as to give Bantry less space. The other area of concern was a need for clearing the rucks more aggressively to give Fionnan Bennett and James Murnane, at 9 and 10 respectively, a chance to play with clean front foot ball.

The team talk seemed to work and Clonakilty struck straight back as the next 20 started. Clonakilty had rotated a few players to provide fresh legs and now played more directly and aggressively for the next period. Sean Flood led by example making some lovely runs. Eventual man-of-the-match Cian Wilson had some super carries and nearly got in for a try himself. Super tries from Marcus Kelly, Fionnan Bennett and Calem Harte, along with two conversations, brought the score back to 20-19 before Bantry struck again and converted themselves to make it 27-19 at the end of period 2.

Period 3 saw Caleb Soden, Fionn Ruane-Crissun and Colum Kennifick all enter the fray and make strong contributions on the wings. The handling was superb and some of the off-loads were breath-taking, with the pass of the day coming from replacement hooker Ethan McDermott. While at the breakdown Clonakilty were now working much harder to secure clean ball. Culann Fionn was being his usual hard-working self at the break down and Jack Burton continued to put in big tackles. Matt Murphy was having a lovely cameo at 10. But it was Calem Harte who got in for another brilliant break away try having run nearly the length of the pitch. Dara Walsh was not to be outdone and repeated the feat, also from well inside his own half. Neither try was converted and the game hung in the balance at 29-27 to Clonakilty with 5 mins to play. Clonakilty were to get in for one more with Calem Harte racking up his hat trick and being another very worthy candidate for man-on-the-match. The conversation followed and Clonakilty looked to have clinched the game at 36-27 with time expiring. Bantry however decided they were not done and struck back in the dying moments with a converted try of their own to bring the score back to 36-34 with 30 seconds remaining.

The game ended however with a knock-on as Clonakilty were just busy working their way into another strong attacking position. Clonakilty were happy to hear the whistle and take the win. It was a great comeback from a spirited Clon team and the victory was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

A 50/50 record at this stage of the season is probably a fair reflection of where Clon U13’s are at the moment. 2 good wins against Skibb and a great comeback win against Bantry. But losses to the trickier teams at the moment, Cork Con, Bandon and Kinsale.





This weekend coming brings Bandon again who are riding very high at the moment after some huge results. They are probably the benchmark for Clonakilty U13’s at present. But hopefully Clonakilty are lying quietly like mambas in the long grass, waiting to show Bandon what has been worked hard on over the last few months since the last meeting. Time will tell, and Clonakilty will likely have a good gauge of how far along they are in their long-term development after the next outing.

Squad for Bantry:  Cailim Van Dam, Finn O'Boyle Rafferty, Adam O'Leary, George Russell, Daniel Mcarthy, John Deegan, Sean Flood, Shane Keohane, Fionnan Bennett, James Murnane, Tom O'Donovan, Sean Coffey, Conor Daly, Adam Barry, Conor Cresswell, Ethan McDermot, Cian Wilson, Caleb Soden, Dillon Van Dam, Darragh Clancy, Fionn Ruane-Crissun, Colum Kennifick, Culann Finn, Matt Murphy, Calem Harte, Dara Walsh, Jay Hayes, Jack Burton





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