Club News

Connemara v Banbridge 3-3-2012

March 4th, 2012

In years to come the records will state that Connemara have lost consecutive games, but regular Connemara followers will realise that the previous fixtures came against the top two teams, Cashel and Banbridge respectively, and had it not been for misfortune Connemara could have won both games. Connemara’s latest defeat came at the hands of Ulster side Banbridge, but Connemara’s 20 point haul and positive performance is encouraging. The game was barely minutes old when Connemara took the lead. A jinking run by centre Paddy Madden caused havoc in the Banbridge defence, Madden’s intuitive pass was received by winger Richard Bourke who showed the pace he is renowned for and finished for a fabulous try. Sean Joyce added the conversion to take the score to 7-0 to Connemara.
Despite taking the lead, Connemara had to spend long periods of the first half under pressure from Banbridge. Banbridge’s pressure eventually paid dividends when full back Brendan Ward, who proved an extremely elusive runner throughout, went in for a virtuoso try. Banbridge were wide with their conversion attempt leaving the score to 7-5 to Connemara. Banbridge’s class showed as they went in for a second try after some good hands by their backs, the successful conversion lead to Banbridge taking a 12-7 lead. Captain Sean Joyce looked assured in both play and with the boot, and it was a Joyce penalty that clawed back another three points for Connemara. With the momentum generated by Joyce’s penalty, Connemara pressed for the lead and were dually rewarded when Joyce slotted a penalty from near the half way line, taking the score to 13-12 to the Clifden based side. Connemara went into half time with the slenderest of advantages.
Banbridge started the second half with renewed vigour and were rewarded with a try, taking the score to 19-13 to Banbridge. For the neutral this game would have been spectacular, and keeping with the games pattern Connemara once again took the lead. Lock Bernard Keaney showed his considerable experience by picking a great line off Sean Joyce’s pass to go in under the posts to take the score to 18-19 to Banbridge, Sean Joyce once again converted to once again give Connemara a slender one point lead. Staring down the barrel of a defeat, Banbridge rallied and put Connemara under concerted pressure. Connemara’s Kiwi flanker Richie Byrne was sin binned for a tackle off the ball, Byrne acted to save a certain try. From the resultant penalization Banbridge opted to take a scrum instead of a penalty, and were rewarded after various picks and goes saw the Ulster side cross for their fourth and bonus point try. The conversion was missed, but the Ulster side still held a five point lead. Banbridge’s powerful scrum was evident all day and they were rather harshly from a Connemara point of view rewarded a penalty try in the final minutes to deny Connemara a losing bonus point. Connemara can take many positives from the defeat, they scored a respectable number of points against a team chasing promotion, and had it not been for a number of questionable refereeing decisions could have won. Saturday’s game also saw young Renvyle man Derek Heanue start his first Senior game for the club, and he looked extremely assured throughout. Winger Peter O’Toole also made his seasonal debut; it is encouraging to see young locals coming through the youth ranks.

John O’Sullivan

Our Connemara Boys

March 3rd, 2012

CASHEL VISIT AND OUR PLAYERS

On our visit to Cashel, one had an opportunity to reflect on the great commitment of our players, coaches, and all concerned with Connemara rugby. Many of our players travel great distances to practice and play, for example, Emmet and James from Dublin, Paddy from Athlone, David from Galway etc. Connemara could have beaten Cashel on Saturday, if all our players could train twice a week every week. This is also the opinion of our coach Peter Bracken. Cashel have a regular panel of twenty five players available for training at their disposal every week, also they possess extra pitches to train on. So one must appreciate the great efforts of everyone in our club, and see if any arrangements can be made for a number of extra sessions.

Our visit south was very enjoyable, and we had a very genuine and warm welcome from all in the Tipperary venue. Sadly, we lost a bonus point, as Cashel scored a try in the last play of the game, in the eight minute of injury time. In the first half, they got three easy tries when playing with a huge wind. Connemara shattered them midway through the second half, with two excellent converted tries and a penalty in a ten minute blitz. Then a number of Cashel “injuries” broke the momentum. Hopefully, many will come and support our team in the last four games of the season, Banbridge and Barnhall at home, and Sligo and Suttonians away.
At the beginning of the season, Connemara’s ambition was to win all games, and at least be in the top half of the table. In the past two years we have lost, Gerard Burke and Michael Aspell to Canada, Gary Conroy and Martin O’Malley to London, Eoin Bourke and others to Australia, Macdara Breathnach and Conor O’Malley to fishing trawlers and Martin Coyne and Oisin Conneely to college’s in Dublin and Cork, Darragh Sweeney to Madagascar, and many other talented youngsters who had to emigrate. So, we produce a multitude of talent, and sadly because of a lack of investment in our area, we will continue to lose many more great players. On the positive side, we have all our own players from under eights upwards, and two young men who learned their rugby here, have starred for Irish teams, John O’Brien and Tiernan O’Halloran. So if players, coaches, parents and committee members keep up the great work, we will have many more international and inter pro players.

Matt O’Sullivan

Brave Connemara Push Cashel To The Limit

March 3rd, 2012

The juggernaut that is Cashel R.F.C. continued apace at the expense of a brave Connemara on Saturday last, the eventual 31-17 score-line flatters Cashel somewhat.
The old cliché says it’s a game of two halves, and Saturday was indeed a game of two halves, Cashel dominated the first half, scoring three unanswered tries, whilst Connemara dominated the second, scoring all of their seventeen points and looking the better side. Aided by a massive wind at their backs, Cashel spent the entire first half assaulting Connemara’s line, and were rewarded by scoring three tries. As impressive as Cashel looked in the first half, two of their three tries came off the back of Connemara mistakes. It seems that scoring from chargedowns is nearly fashionable in modern rugby, and Cashel profited it from it on Saturday. Windy conditions made kicking extremely difficult, and Connemara’s kick was charged down, the ball fell into ‘no mans land’, the ball was seized by Cashel scrumhalf McGlinchey who rode a Connemara tackle before going in for the games opening try. Cashel centre Silke added the conversion to take the score to 7-0.
Aside from their excellence in the set piece, Cashel were extremely impressive at the breakdown and this nous at the breakdown led to their second try. A Connemara fielded a long Cashel kick and opted to run, he ran hard and straight at Cashel defence, he was tackled hard, and in the process the ball was turned over, Cashel scrum half McGlinchey’s box kick deceived the Connemara defence and the ball fell into the hands of Cashel’s other winger Quinlan who went in for the Tipperary sides second try. Silke added his second conversion for a 14-0 lead for the Spafield based side. Cashel scored their third when winger, and brother of Munster flanker Denis Leamy, crossed for Cashel’s third, Silke converted for 21-0. The half time whistle blew with Connemara staring down the barrel of a big defeat. Connemara made some changes at half time, David Keogh replaced Michael O’Toole at scrum half and Emmet Ferron replaced Kevin Barry at prop. Making his seasonal debut, O’Toole was very impressive, his distribution was top notch all game long and he never looked overawed against a very impressive Cashel team. The introduction of Keogh added extra experience to the Connemara backline. Emmet Ferrons looked extremely impressive when he was introduced, he solidified the Connemara scrum and looked impressive in the loose. Connemara seemed the much fitter side in the second half and Cashel looked ramshackle at times. The first Connemara try came from a familiar source. After one of his typically mazy runs, full back Alan Keogh sauntered through the centre of Cashel’s defence before touching down for Connemara’s first try of the game. Whilst Connemara were dominant in the second half, they still needed to defend, and will be thankful to Bernard Keaney for some big tackles.
The second Connemara try came from another familiar source, Alan Keogh once again ran at the heart of the Cashel defence, he eventually offloaded to winger David McDonagh, who continued his impressive season, to cross the line. Sean Joyce converted for 21-14 to Cashel. Despite all the superlatives they have received this season, Cashel looked nervy when under the cosh. There was another Connemara debut as young Derryinver man Derek Heanue made his senior bow. The former Galway minor footballer looked like he had played seniors for years and was extremely impressive, particularly in his tackling. Cashel’s aforementioned dominance at the breakdown continued, and they were rewarded with a penalty which Silke slotted to make the score 24-14 to Cashel. Connemara then added a penalty of their own, after Cashel had infringed at the breakdown, Sean Joyce impressively added a long range penalty to take the score to 24-17, enough to give Connemara a losing bonus point. Cashel were desperate for their bonus point, and were fortunate to get one. Connemara knocked on from Cashel’s restart and after Cashel’s scrum and various pick and goes, Cashel scored through scrum half McGlinchey, it was cruel luck for Connemara as the score came eight minutes into injury time.
Looking at the game in perspective Connemara can be extremely proud of their efforts, particularly in the second half. Connemara’s 17 points at Cashel was the most any team have scored at Cashel this season, lets not forget that Cashel had run every single one of their League games this season, winning on average by 27 points in each game. The Connemara team was composed wholly of players from, or living in Connemara. Add to that the impressive debuts of O’Toole and Heanue and one could rightly assume that the future’s bright for Connemara R.F.C.

John O’Sullivan

 

Connemara Team

1: Eugene Conroy
2: Alan Pryce
3: Kevin Barry
4: Bernard Keaney
5: Kevin Keogh
6: Barry Gibbons
7: Richie Byrne
8: Tomas King
9: Michael O’Toole
10: Sean Joyce ©
11: David McDonagh
12: Paddy Madden
13: Jack Vaughan
14: Richard Bourke
15: Alan Keogh

Replacements

James Mannion
David Keogh
Martin Faherty
Emmet Ferron
Derek Heanue


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