Club News

Monivea 13-17 Connemara.

October 20th, 2014

Connemara moved three points clear at the top of the Connacht J1A League this weekend, thanks to a hard fought win over the team with whom they shared top spot going into the weekend, Monivea.

Jack Vaughan’s well worked try and four accurate Shane Sweeney penalties were enough for the Blacks’ to seal a win against, going on the form of the early season, one of their rivals for top spot in the League.

More impressive was the Blacks’ resolve, given they slipped behind early on, virtue of a Monivea try from a rolling maul. Often, young sides can capitulate under duress, but the Blacks reacted with an authority belying the teams age and experience.

After the concession of the early try, Connemara rallied and, soon, through three Shane Sweeney penalties, were ahead, 9-7.

A striking feature of Eddie Walsh’s side is the team’s ability, regardless of position, to play an expansive brand of Rugby. With Connemara’s forwards in bally carrying mood, especially Kevin Barry, Kevin Keogh and Eugene Conroy, the back-line were given the platform to win the game.

It was this route that brought Connemara their only and, in the context of the game, winning try. Patient and probing carries from the Connemara forwards saw the Blacks deep in Monivea’s territory. Eventually, the ball would reach the rapid winger Conor Clarke who combined excellently with full back Jack Vaughan to send Vaughan cantering in for a try of consummate class.

Against a stiff breeze, Shane Sweeney pulled his conversion wide, but Connemara were enthused by their 14-7 lead.

As expected, Monivea threw down the gauntlet and began to bludgeon Connemara looking for a retaliatory try. The Blacks defense, as has become customary this season, was air tight and the home side were restricted to two long range penalties to take the score to 14-13 to Connemara.

With only a point differential, Monivea upped their tempo but were still met with stubborn Connemara resistance.

Monivea’s inability to breach the Blacks defence was compounded when, after a swift counter move, the Blacks were awarded a penalty late on. Shane Sweeney, once again, bisected the posts with an accurate kick, stretching the lead to 17-13.

The last few minutes saw a Monivea onslaught, but the Blacks weren’t to be denied a seminal victory, infront of a vociferous traveling support.

Connemara Return To The Top of The Table with 20-7 Win Over Ballinasloe

October 13th, 2014

Connemara returned to the summit of the Connacht J1A League with a hard fought win over a physically robust and well organized Ballinasloe side on Sunday last.

The game, which was played in glorious and unseasonal October sun-shine, was quite an even contest but Connemara’s win was built on a rock solid defense and that extra bit of magic when close to the try line.

The Blacks had made two changes from their last outing, the 40-5 demolition of Boys Club, with two former captains, Alan Pryce and Kevin Keogh, returning to the pack. Pryce’s return at hooker saw Barry Gibbons move to the back-row and Keogh’s return saw captain David McDonagh move to his regular position, inside centre. For so many of the Connemara player’s to be so versatile is a major fillip for the Blacks’ coach, Eddie Walsh.

Indeed, to accommodate Kevin Keogh’s return, David McHugh, who has been outstanding so far this season moved to the second row to partner Martin Faherty and, Eoghan Bourke, usually an inside centre, moved across one to number thirteen to replace the unavailable Ian Heanue.

Ballinasloe, coached by the former Irish player Noel Mannion, started the game in the ascendancy. Clad in all yellow, Ballinasloe, who have started their own season so impressively, made early forays into Connemara territory with their massive pack attempting to bludgeon Connemara.

Connemara, though, remained characteristically stubborn in defence, and, despite the lions’ share of territory and possession the east Galway side had no answer to Connemara’s resistance.

As the first half progressed, Connemara grew into the contest and, after a patient series of pressure, the Blacks struck first blood.

Scrum half Michael O’Toole, an extremely consistent performer for Connemara over the past season and a half, can claim major credit for the game’s opening try. O’Toole’s incisive inside pass changed the point of attack for the Blacks and back row Barry Gibbon’s intelligent line exploited a chasm in the Ballinasloe defense and the former  Shannon man skipped in for the game’s opening try. Shane  Sweeney’s conversion was a mere formality and the Blacks were delighted with their seven point lead, despite spending most of the opening period on the back foot.

Ballinasloe, to their immense credit, never floundered after the concession of a try and upped the ante soon after. Wave after wave of the visitors pressure, saw Connemara infringe once too often at the break down and prop Eugene Conroy was deemed the guilty party and was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.

With a man advantage, Ballinasloe turned the screw and, eventually, their pressure paid dividends as a strong eight man push from their scrum saw the referee award a penalty try. The conversion, like Connemara’s, was straight in-front of the posts, and their ten, K.Head, made no mistake in levelling the game up at 7-7.

The half time whistle sounded with the score at the interval 7-7.

Riled by the breach of the defense at the end of the first half, Connemara started the second half in bloodthirsty fashion, which was personified by David McHugh.

McHugh, a Connacht underage representative, claimed Connemara’s next try as his barnstorming run couldn’t be contained by the Ballinasloe rearguard. Swatting away several attempted tackles, McHugh stretched and touched down to restore Connemara’s lead. Once again, Shane Sweeney found the conversion elementary and the Blacks found themselves deservedly 14-7 up.

The game was extremely physical and the excursion caught up with Ballinasloe late on with two of their players limping off injured. From then, their game lost the direction it had in the first half and the new found fractious nature of the game suited Connemara.

Connemara’s next score had its genesis in a massive carry from Kevin Keogh. Picking the ball from the back of a retreating scrum, Keogh evaded the attention of two would be tacklers , one of which he bounced out of his way, and gained over thirty metres. With Ballinasloe on the rack and the Blacks primed to go wide, one of the visitors back rows infringed at the breakdown and gave Shane Sweeney a penalty attempt. Accurately, Sweeney bisected the posts to stretch the lead to 17-7 Connemara.

From there on in, the Blacks were in the driver’s seat and, on the stroke of full time, Sweeney added some gloss to the scoreline with another successful penalty, taking the final score to 20-7 to the Blacks.

Connemara Team:

1: Eugene Conroy

2: Alan Pryce

3: Kevin Barry

4: Martin Faherty

5: David McHugh

6: T.J. Berry

7: Barry Gibbons

8: Kevin Keogh

9: Michael O’Toole

10: Shane Sweeney

11: Conor Clarke

12: David McDonagh

13: Eoghan Bourke

14: Peter O’Toole

15: Jack Vaughan

Seconds XI Make Good Start To Their Campaign

October 12th, 2014

Well done to Paul Keaney’s side on their strong start to their season, which has included two victories, one in the League over Westport and another in a challenge game against Oughterard.

Today, the 12th of October, the Seconds will look to continue to their good form with a victory away to Gort.

Underage Making Strong Start

October 12th, 2014

Connemara’s various underage teams have made a strong start to their respective seasons.

Last Sunday, the U18’s triumphed over Ballina by a score of 27-18 at the Monastery Field.

Dara Heanue’s U16 side comprehensively defeated Buccaneers 52-0 at the Monastery Field yesterday in a display of offensive potency from the young Blacks.

 

Connemara Top J1A League

October 12th, 2014

Connemara are now top of the Connacht J1A League, thanks to some exciting Rugby, which has yielded three wins from four games.

The Blacks host Ballinasloe this weekend, before traveling to title rivals Monivea the following weekend.

The weekend after, Connemara entertain St.Mary’s of Limerick, a robust outfit, in the All Ireland Junior Cup. Hopefully a bumper home crowd will turn out and support the Blacks in what should prove to be a cracking game.

 

Mick Cummins RIP

October 12th, 2014

Connemara RFC’s members and friends were saddened at the recent death of Mick Cummins, a stalwart member of the club since 1973, including his playing career as a back row player.

Mick, amongst other roles, was captain, fitness coach, and president of the club.

Mick had just retired from the vice principles role at Kylemore Secondary School when  he was overcome with illness.

Some fifty past players and committee members escorted his remains through Clifden, starting at the Westport Road and ending at the Hospital grounds.

Mick played Hurling for Liam Mellows as well as basketball and soccer. Additionally, Mick was a brilliant musician and poet.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and his siblings.

 


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