February 29th, 2008
Connemara team to play Naas RFC on 1st March ‘o8
15. John O’Brien
14. Alan Keogh
13. Paddy O’Toole
12. Mark Foyle
11. Bennie Bester
10. Troy Nathan
9. Sean Joyce
1. Kevin Ward
2. Tomás King
3. Emmet Ferron
4. Aden Kelly
5. Kevin Keogh
6. Oliver DeLapp
7. Bernard Keaney
8. Gerard Burke (C)
16. Alan Pryce
17. Darragh Sweeney
18. Martin Coyne
19. Peter O’Toole
20. Patrick Flanagan
February 26th, 2008
Junior 1B match against Dunmore in Dunmore on 24th Feb 2008
In the first half Connemara played with a fairly stiff breeze, the sun and the advantage of the hill on a bright sunny day in Dunmore applying pressure from the off. Connemara enjoyed much of the possession and territory in the first half and was rarely threatened but Dunmore put up a fairly stubborn resistance which resulted in a scoreless first quarter. Connemara were playing well and the pack were more than holding their own with Alan Pryce hitting Martin Faherty and Noel Walsh in a very solid lineout every time, while the backs were making in roads and making some nice breaks. However Dunmore kept their line intact with some heavy duty tackling and defence but were eventually breached with a fine opportunist try by scrum-half Eoin Bourke, breaking from a close in ruck and wrong footing the defence. Vinnie Heffernan added a fine conversion. Connemara were now enjoying their best spell and right from the kick off drove back deep into Dunmore territory and five minutes later from a maul the ball was spun right from out-half Rob Delaney to inside centre Mark Joyce who put Eoin Bourke through on the loop and shrugging off the tackle of the full back went over for his second try just right of the posts. Vinnie Heffernan added the points. Connemara were really on top with the forwards rucking and mauling well with Cormac McDonald and Johnny Young making great yardage ably supported by the rest of the pack and were making many fine breaks with Darren Little, Brian Joyce and Vinnie Heffernan making a lot of ground down the right which culminated in a beautifully taken try by Vinnie Heffernan taking a great line off a Darren Little pop to split the defence and go over in the corner. So, with only a few minutes of the half left and leading comfortably 19 – 0, Alan Pryce broke left from a ruck on half way did a beautifully weighted chip and chase and almost out sprinted the Dunmore defence to be just beaten to the touch down by the full back. It would have been a spectacular try to end the half with! Anyway Connemara well deserved their half time lead of 19 – 0 and turned around with the expectation of the same but that wasn’t to be. For most of the second half Dunmore seemed to be camped between our 22 and 10 metre line and threatened our line on a couple of occasions but thankfully with some stout defence Connemara kept their line intact. Connemara made a number of forays into the Dunmore half with good breaks by Cormac McDonald, Noel Walsh, Johnny Young, Eoin Bourke and Michael Conroy down the left but never could seem to hold onto the ball and were giving possession away far to easily. It seemed the concentration slipped for awhile. However, with about 8 mins to go Connemara upped the tempo knowing the bonus point was slipping away and crossed the Dunmore line only to have the ball ripped away and sent barrelling down the line. From the ensuing line out a ruck formed on the half way and 15 metres in from the left touch line, John Davis broke left was tackled and popped a lovely inside pass to the ever supporting Eoin Bourke who went streaking for the corner, handed off the full back with aggression to score his third try and round off an outstanding all round display. With seconds left on the clock Connemara almost got a fifth try but it wasn’t to be. However, great jubilation at the final whistle the second five point haul in a week and a job well done, a real team performance. It was a very entertaining, hard fought clean match and credit to both sides. It ended Connemara 24 – Dunmore 0.
1) John Davis
2) Alan Pryce
3) Kevin Barry
4) Martin Faherty
5) Cormac McDonald
6) Shane Austin
7) Noel Walsh ( C )
8) Johnny Young
9) Eoin Bourke
10) Robert Delaney
11) Michael Conroy
12) Mark Joyce
13) Darren Little
14) Brian Joyce
15) Vinnie Heffernan
16) Gerry King
17) Paul Keaney
18) Sean King
Coach – Gerry King
February 24th, 2008
Banbridge 19 Connemara 13 23rd Feb.’08
This match was always going to be a difficult one for 14th place Connemara taking on 4th place Banbridge who are trying to say in contention for a top place in AIL division 3.
The weather was not the best with some wind and rain from early morning and a pitch that looked worse for wear.
Connemara played into the wind in the first half and after missing a penalty in the 5th minute was successful in the 9th minute when Troy Nathan converted the penalty. As the game went on is was becoming obvious that Banbridge with a much bigger pack were going to keep the game tight, this tactic paid off and were rewarded in the 17th min when they scored a push over try, their number 8 touching down the try was converted leaving the score 7 -3 to Banbridge.
At this stage things were not looking good for Connemara, Banbridge looked very strong up front and were controlling the scrums .They always looked dangerous and were making Connemara work hard to keep them out.
Maybe against the run of play but in the 23rd minute Connemara got in for a very good try by Paddy O’ Toole which was not converted leaving the score 8-7 to Connemara.
After a lot of pressure in the 30th minute Banbridge scored another push over try this left the score 12-8 at half time.
Connemara were still well in this game and now with the wind in their backs started the second half well but in the 12th minute Banbridge scored their 3rd push over try. This was converted leaving the score 19-8.
Banbridge were now on course for their 4th try and the extra bonus point which would help in their attempt to stay in the top four.
Connemara had it all to do now to get something out of this game. At this stage Connemara seemed to changed into a different gear and started to run at Banbridge this was rewarded in the 27th minute with a push over try, again the conversion was missed.
With the score now at 19-13 and Connemara coming at Banbridge it looked like Connemara might get more than the bonus point out of this game. But, despite their best efforts, they could not get in for a try.
On the full time whistle Banbridge gave a big sigh of relief at getting away with the win.
This was another great performance from Connemara and while not getting the result this time they showed they can mix it with the best in the division.
They will still need to pick up a few more points to ensure Connemara will continue in the AIL next year. All the teams they have left to play are in the top half of the table
Again next Saturday’s home game against Naas is huge. (P. Walshe)
February 23rd, 2008
Photographs submitted by C. Hickey
February 23rd, 2008
Castlebar 15 – Connemara 36 17th Feb.‘08
Connemara u18 travelled to Castlebar for their last Div 2 league game and put in their best performance by far this season.
From the outset the Connemara backs were punching holes in the opposition with David McDonagh breaking the gain line at will. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty on 12 mins converted by Tiernan O’Halloran. Castlebar then capitalised on some poor fringe tackling and scored a converted try.
The blacks then showed their attacking skills. With a scrum in the Castlebar 22 the ball was fed to David McDonagh who crashed over for a great team try. This was converted by Tiernan O’Halloran. Unfortunately from the kick off Castlebar again made the best of a slight mistake, scoring a try which wasn’t converted.This left the half time score 12-10 to the home side. After the break the Connemara forwards went into overdrive and played outstanding rugby. Fast rucking , fierce tackling and hard running by the backs caused all sorts of trouble for the home team. After some severe pressure no.8 Cathal King went over for what was the first of his 3 tries. Ronan keane then got in on the act and added a superb individual score. Jack Vaughan converted 3 of the four second half tries.
Without a doubt this was a fantastic display by all from 1 to 15 and the replacements were extremely effective. It was just the display needed before our first cup game on Feb 24 at home to Ballyhaunis. (R. King)
February 22nd, 2008
Starting XV to play Banbridge 23-02-08
February 17th, 2008
Connemara 25 City of Derry 19 Sat. 16 February 2008
Connemara travelled to Judges Rd. on Saturday for one of their most important fixtures this season so far. This was an eight pointer and with both teams in the relegation zone it was all to play for.
Derry had beaten Nenagh 20 -14 away and Connemara had gifted Nenagh a home win last week 21- 20. So this was always going to be a big ask for Connemara.
Derry started like a team that meant business and were unlucky not to have put points on the board as they relentlessly attacked the Connemara line in the opening 5 minutes. To add to Connemara’s problems they had a man sin binned in the fifth minute for a foot trip.
Derry failed to convert from the resulting penalty from a very kickable position.
Against the run of play Troy Nathan landed a penalty for Connemara in the tenth minute, 3-0 Connemara.
Connemara now got into the game and the backs started to play very attractive rugby and were rewarded in the twenty sixth minute with a wonderful try from Benny Bester. This was converted by Troy Nathan, 10-0 Connemara .Things were going well for Connemara and the loyal supporters that had travelled all the way to Derry felt we were in with a great chance.
In the 35th minute Derry got in for an easy try when Ioane picked up a ball and sprinted for the line. He went on to convert making it 10-7. Connemara responded well with a great try in the 39th minute from Ollie DeLappe this was after some of the best ball handling seen from the Connemara team this year The try was converted by Troy Nathan to make the score 17-7 at half time
In the 52nd minute Connemara went 20-3 ahead from a penalty by Troy Nathan.
Derry dug deep and were getting on top up front this was rewarded with a push over try in the 61st minute the failed to convert that left the score 20-12.
Memories of recent games where Connemara failed to put the game away came to mind but this was a team that had learnt from its past mistakes and in the 65th minute John O’Brien finished off a great move after a pass from Tomás King who was having the game of his life went in on the left to score a third try to make it 25-12 with 15 minutes to go. Was there a chance of a 4th try and a bonus point or would we settle for a win?
Derry realising that the game was slipping away from them put every thing they had into it at this stage and on the 75th minute were rewarded for their efforts with a try under the post which was converted, 25-19. With 5 minutes plus injury time to go Connemara dug deep and were never going to let this match slip away they played out the time in the Derry half of the pitch. It was some relief when the full time whistle went as this was Connemara’s first win in the North in some time.
This was a good away performance from an improving team and a well deserved victory and will give Connemara a boost they need for their home game next Saturday with 3rd placed Banbridge.
February 15th, 2008
The Connemara team to play City of Derry in AIB League on 16th February ’08 is listed below.