St Senan’s 29
In this tense Division 1 bottom-of-the-table clash between two teams who needed a victory to give them a chance of avoiding relegation, the Clare side came out on top.
Both teams started with some nervous play that saw a few early errors and infringements. It was Ballincollig who benefited first when they won and converted a penalty after just four minutes to take the lead.
This early setback was a wake-up call for Senan’s, who began to control the game and pushed the visitors back into their own half but found it difficult to break down a well-drilled defence.
The best chance of this period fell to Senan’s, when a break by Dylan Sonneman saw him offload to Barry Murphy on the wing but as he reached the touchline, he spilled the ball at the last minute.
Following this, Ballincollig made a rare but rewarding incursion into Senan’s half, where on 29 minutes they again won and converted a penalty to extend their lead.
Once again, Senan’s had to dig deep to force Ballincollig back. This effort saw the Senan’s pack drive the visitors back over their try line, where Mick O’Connell successfully grounded the ball for a well-deserved try. Dylan Sonneman converted and Senan’s finished the half with a narrow 7-6 lead.
The late first-half try was a great boost for Senan’s and they built on this momentum early in the second half when, with another good display of scrummaging, they pushed Ballincollig backwards allowing Darragh McCoy to take the ball off the back of the scrum to score their second try.
Unfortunately, the conversion attempt by Declan Collins slipped past the posts but Senan’s had opened up a 12-6 lead.
Senan’s maintained pressure on Ballincollig but allowed them to clear their lines on 12 minutes and again conceded a penalty, which the visitors converted to reduce the deficit to 12-9.
The home side regrouped after this and kept the visitors pinned in their own half of the pitch, eventually driving over the line after 22 minutes only to have the referee signal that the ball was held up. From the resultant scrum, the ball came out to Ian Fitzgerald, who drove over to secure the Clare side’s third try and extend their lead to 17-9.
From the restart, Ger McNamara launched an attack down the wing, which resulted in a scrum for Senan’s. Once again their supremacy in this area was rewarded as they drove the visitors back over their line, allowing Ger McNamara to finish off the move he had started with a try.
The conversion attempt drifted agonisingly wide of the post but Senan’s now held a 22-9 lead and also secured a very valuable bonus point for the home side.
Senan’s finished off Ballincollig in the 37th minute when a good line pass by Dylan Sonneman put Paul O’Halloran through to run in the side’s fifth try, which was converted by Ger McNamara.
This win lifted Senan’s outside the bottom two and they now have a four-week break from the league but will contest a number of cup matches in this period.
On Saturday, Senan’s Gleeson League XV are in action against Cashel in the Webb Cup, at 2:30pm in Jimmy Slattery Park.
St Senan’s: Dylan Sonneman, Declan Coughlan, Barry Murphy, Darragh McCoy, Ronan O’Callaghan, Brian Collins, Declan Collins, Mike O’Connell, Ian Fitzgerald, Duane Horkin, Aidan O’Callaghan, Aaron Skerritt, Patrick Ryan, Fergal Lawlor, Rob Hegarty.
Replacements: Timmy Larkin, Jake Egan, Ger McNamara, Paul O’Halloran, David Webb.
Newcastle West 10
Fresh from their impressive first-round cup win over Nenagh a week earlier, Ennis travelled to Newcastle West for a league tie last Sunday but despite dominating the scrums, returned pointless.
There was surprise when the game went ahead given the weather conditions but the pitch was deemed playable following a late pitch inspection. The home side put the visitors under a lot of pressure in the opening quarter and they took the lead when converting a penalty, which bounded on the crossbar but went over.
Ennis responded well and dominated the scrums but despite having the upper hand, they failed to turn that dominance into scores. Bryan Murphy tied up the game when he landed a penalty and this left the sides level at 3-3, which was the position at half-time.
The Clare side continued to dominate the forward exchanges on the changeover but still failed to translate this onto the scoreboard. When the conceded a penalty, Newcastle West kicked to the corner and this sparked off a period of dominance for the home time, who managed a try under the posts which was converted.
Ennis fought back strongly but when two members of the home side’s front row picked up injuries, it resulted in a number of uncontested scrums. Despite the visitors’ best efforts, there were no further scores and Ennis returned home bitterly disappointed with the result.
Ennis: Dylan Tynan O’Mahony, Niall McMahon, Niall Nevin, Alan Malone, Cian Clancy; Bryan Murphy, David Murphy, Damian Ford, Conor Mahoney, Sean McCormack, John Corry, Jason Considine, Michael McInerney, Joe Moloney, Brian Farrell.
Replacements: Enda Galvin, Andrew O’Neill.
After their impressive win over Nenagh Ormond in round one, Ennis face another difficult tie this week in round two of the junior cup. Limerick side Shannon will visit Ennis for a 1pm kick-off.
Scariff will also be in junior cup action this weekend and they will make a return trip to Cork to play Douglas on Saturday at 2.30pm. The East Clare side travelled to Douglas two weeks ago but the pitch was deemed unplayable shortly before kick-off on that occasion.
Kilrush will be in league action this week when they travel to play Abbeyfeale at 1pm.