Club News

Connemara Continue Good Form With Boys Club Scalp

January 20th, 2014

After a resounding 43-3 victory over Westport the previous weekend, Connemara consolidated their good form with a hard fought 11-6 victory over Boys Club at the Sporsground side pitch.

Twice victorious over Connemara this season, the Blacks exacted a measure of revenge on their Galway City counterparts with a display of defensive solidity which has become a hallmark of new coach Eddie Walsh’s brief tenure in charge. Indeed, in five of the last six games Connemara have kept their opponent try-less and the one try they did concede in the aforementioned glut of games came at the death against Castlebar.

It is extremely encouraging to see the Blacks, an extremely young team relative to their competitors in the Connacht Junior 1A League, having the ability to vary their tactics successfully game from game; last weekend’s victory over Westport was built on a foundation of glistening attacking rugby whilst their triumph over Boys Club was testament to a miserly defence, which was epitomised by the industry of Alan Pryce, the centre duo of David McDonagh and Richard Bourke and the ever improving Patrick Moran.

Connemara started the game brightly, no doubt bouyed by their seven try heist against Westport, and soon had the hosts on the back foot.  Kevin Keogh, so often a source of attacking impetus for the Blacks, made a significant forray into Boys Club territory before, after a series of patient and probing pick and goes, Stephen Mullen became the benefactor of an overlap and sauntered in unscathed for a deserving opening try of the game. Unfortunately, Shane Sweeney couldn’t add the extra’s but the large contingent of Blacks’ fans at the game were suitably enthused by their team’s start. 5-0 to the visitors

The gauntlet was laid down to Boys Club and they duly reacted; sending wave after wave of attack at the Connemara rearguard. However, a lot of the hosts back play was telegraphed and the Monastery Field men shrugged off their attempts.

A feature of Connemara’s play on a rain sodden Sunday afternoon was their kicking for territory, a facet in which first centre David McDonagh excelled. Connemara’s next points had their genesis in one of the Roundstone man’s accurate left footed touch finders. After winning their own line out, Boys Club attempted to run their way out of their own half; however, thanks to some ferocious counter rucking, Connemara won a penalty at the ensuing breakdown. After missing his first attempt at goal, Shane Sweeney made amends with a beautifully struck penalty from all of 35 metres to stretch the visitors lead to 8-0.

The half time whistle sounded with Connemara protecting an eight nil lead.

With little other choice, Boys Club started the second half by blitzing the Connemara line, but time after time their attempts met the same Black wall of resistance. In the eyes of the referee, not all of Connemara’s containment was on the right side of the law and he soon reprimanded the Blacks. Offside was the offence from which Boys Club profited and registered their first points from the penalty tee. 8-3 was now the score and the momentum was definitely with the hosts.

With their tails up after registering their first points, Boys Club pummelled the Connemara line, but the same resistance which greeted each of their attacks in the first half prevailed. The frustration amongst the Boys Club players at their inability to break Connemara down was palpable.

The hosts frustrations were soon to be compounded when, on a rare Connemara visit to the Boys Club 22 in the second half, the Blacks stretched their lead even further. Boys Club incurred the wrath of the referee for the tackler not rolling away and Shane Sweeney punished them with an academic penalty to take the scoreline to 11-3 to Eddie Walsh’s charges. Connemara’s ruthlessness when presented a chance was in stark contrast to the profligacy of Boys Club.

Another Connemara infringement at the breakdown saw Boys Club add another penalty and further reduce their deficit, but their efforts were vain as the Blacks’ defence proved impregnable. The impressive Michael O’Toole thought he had added gloss to the victory late on only for his try to be disallowed for double movement.

After an inconsistent start to the season, a young Connemara team are beginning to show the consistency that coach Eddie Walsh craves. The Blacks recent ressurgence will be put under significant scrutiny in their next fixture, at home to Ballina on Sunday January 26th.

 

Connemara team:

1: Eugene Conroy

2: Alan Pryce(c)

3: Kevin Barry

4: Niall Staunton

5: Martin Faherty

6: Patrick Moran

7: Kevin Keogh

8: Barry Gibbons

9: Michael O’Toole

10: Shane Sweeney

11: Peter O’Toole

12: David McDonagh

13: Richard Bourke

14: Stephen Mullen

15: Jack Vaughan

Replacements: Ian Heanue, Colin Reilly, David McHugh, Mark Staunton, Eddie Walsh.

John O’Sullivan

 

 

 

Blacks Secure Crucial Win Over Westport

January 13th, 2014

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Connemara put Westport to the sword on Saturday last, producing a master-class of back play in a comprehensive 43 points to 3 victory at the Monastery Field. With both teams lurking around the foot of the Connacht 1A league this result could prove seminal come the final totting up of points.

Westport, including three former Connemara players, Michael Ryder, Niall O’Malley, and Kevin Corcoran, were looking to avenge their home defeat at the hands of the Blacks earlier in the season; Connemara, of course, are coached by former Westport Backs Coach, Eddie Walsh, which added spice to a vitally important fixture for both teams.

However, the visitors couldn’t have wished for a worse start-as, with the game just a couple of minutes old, Connemara scored the game’s first try. Patient and probing play by the Blacks’ loose forwards say them in an advanced position in Westport’s 22 and, after another set of pick and goes from the hosts,  the ball was spread wide to lock Martin Faherty who deftly offloaded for Kevin Keogh, who was playing in the unfamiliar position of openside flanker, to touch down. A stalwart of the Clifden based sides twelve years in the AIL, Keogh’s return to action halfway through the season has proved to be a catalyst for Connemara- offering much needed experience to a young side.

Westport’s inauspicious start to the game was compounded when, soon after restarting the game, they conceded another try. This time, after a neat backs move instigated by his brother and scrum half, Michael, form winger Peter O’Toole showed an evasive step and pace down the left hand side as he cantered in for Connemara’s second try, which fly half Shane Sweeney converted from an acute angle.  The game was barely twenty minutes old and Westport found themselves twelve points in arrears.

The Mayo side’s reaction was to play with abandon and, after a botched backs moves from the visitors, Connemara had another try. With Connemara’s rush defence making space at a premium for Westport, a long looping pass was intercepted by Peter O’Toole and the winger turned on the acceleration for his second and Connemara’s third try of the game.  A missed conversion left the score at 17-0 to Connemara.

After the concession of their third try, Westport, to their credit, improved and they soon registered points of their own as fly half, Matt Dempsey, slotted a penalty after Connemara went off their feet at the breakdown. Westport’s penalty was the last score of the first half and the Mayo men were glad to be offered the sanctuary of the half time whistle.

With Connemara chasing a so far elusive try bonus point and Westport looking for an avenue back into the game, the second half was played at a high tempo with both teams fully committed to attack. Westport, via their giant forwards, Chris Ryan and Liam Scahill, made a few significant forays into Connemara territory at the beginning of the half, but alas, Connemara’s defence, which has kept four shut outs in their last five league games, proved too strong.

The game was becoming increasingly fractious, which suited Connemara and their fleet footed backs.  The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Connemara secured their try bonus point and ended the game as a contest. Full back Jack Vaughan exploited a gaping chasm in the middle of Westport’s defence, making all of 60 metres with a mazy run before offloading to Martin Faherty, who, in turn, offloaded to flanker Patrick Moran to score. Shane Sweeney caressed the conversion between the posts to stretch Connemara’s lead to 24-3.

With the result a forgone conclusion, Westport looked increasingly jaded and gaps started to appear in their defence and, with the confidence gained by their four tries, the Blacks’ took full advantage. After good work from his centre partner, David McDonagh, Richard Bourke showed his trademark pace around the outside as he glided in for Connemara’s fifth try in the corner. Shane Sweeney’s conversion attempt went narrowly wide to leave the score at 29-3.

From there on in, Connemara, with their tails up, dominated proceedings-adding two further tries one from Richard Bourke and another, completing his hattrick, from Peter O’Toole, taking the score to 43-3- Crucially for Connemara, not only did they deny Westport, who after the game, sit two points below the Blacks’ in the table, a losing bonus point, they also added their first try bonus of the season.

With the result a formailty, coach Eddie Walsh even allowed himself a brief playing cameo against his former club, playing all of five minutes on the wing.

Next Sunday, Connemara travel to OLBC, who have beaten the Monastery Field side twice in League and Cup this season. Hopefully, with the confidence gained from their brilliant performance against Westport, Connemara can register another win.

Connemara Team:

1: Eugene Conroy

2: Alan Pryce(C)

3: Kevin Barry

4: Niall Staunton

5: Martin Faherty

6: Patrick Moran

7: Kevin Keogh

8: Barry Gibbons

9: Michael O’Toole

10: Shane Sweeney

11: Mark Staunton

12: David McDonagh

13: Richard Bourke

14: Mark Staunton

15: Jack Vaughan

Replacements: Rory Hogan, Stephen Mullen, Chris Heneghan, Michael Savage, David McHugh


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