South Munster U13 League Cup Final 2018 Bandon RFC v Kinsale in The Farm 29th April 2018 @ 01:00pm
The stage was set for a fantastic final between two great teams, that had done battle twice already during the regular season, on both occasions Kinsale narrowly winning both encounters, away and at home. On any day Kinsale wouldn’t rest on their laurels, knowing that Bandon would be very unforgiving in any errors.
Conditions were perfect on the day, both teams arriving the normal 1 hr before kick off to get their preparation completed.
At 1pm Bandon kicked off and immediately unlike the two previous encounters Kinsale got into 5th gear straight away. The ball dropped over Matthew O’Donovan’s head bouncing right in front of Conor Forde who caught it and floated a pass to Zach Allen between the Kinsale 22 and 10. Zach took off and led as a captain should fending off 2-3 defenders down the left wing and powerfully scored the opening try from kick off. Conor Fitzpatrick adding the 2 pts for Kinsale to go 7-0 up.
This try was so important in more ways than one, not only did it shock Bandon and give Kinsale a fantastic start, on the day in a drawn encounter after most tries scored the team that scored the first try would be awarded the match. The Bandon lads knew this would be a tight affair so this must have been playing in their heads.
To their credit and as Kinsale would have expected Bandon didn’t lie down and let such a fast try demoralise them. They gained possession quickly and powerfully built momentum up the field. Kinsale to their credit known as a strong defensive side kept them at bay but it was inevitable with the strength and size of the Bandon team that they eventually crossed the whitewash in the far corner close to the crowd. A tough kick was missed, Kinsale still ahead 7-5.
Yet again as in previous games Bandon were confident in their own ability and with a long passage of strong defence once more Bandon powered their way over the line from short distance, under the posts.
Kinsale kicked off and again Bandon exited well putting Kinsale under pressure but wait for it, ball turned over between the Kinsale 10 and half way line with a full back line to spread the ball, Cathal Barry carried the distance to the Bandon 5 meter line offloading to Max Condon who put in a strong finish.
A drawn game, with a tough conversion missed. As the teams regrouped at half time.
Game restarted and again Bandon had Kinsale under pressure but yet again Kinsale had lots of threats out wide. Once again a ball moved at pace through the backline and David Looney showed pace, strength and guile to out-manoeuvre a number of Bandon defenders crossing the tryline and having the presence of mind to put the ball under the posts, Jonathon Walsh stepped up and popped the ball over.
Kinsale ahead again 19-12.
However this Bandon side had character and courage and weren’t going to lie down with plenty of time left on the clock, yet again built field position through strong running with forwards and inside backs combining. Kinsale had been here before in Snugmore and in Old Chapel, where they had already shown they were a good defensive side, how would Kinsale survive the constant Bandon bombardment. Both sides now starting to feel the impact of the bruising encounter with Bandon forced to make substitutions and Kinsale’s Jonah Dalton being replaced by Diarmuid Whelton after taking a heavy knock by putting his body on the line, the Bandon no 8 having to go off also with that collision. This encounter kept Bandon on the Kinsale 22, again they built momentum through some direct play, move ball through tackle after tackle regaining possession and gaining the hard yards. Eventually from short distance Bandon’s Daniel Lynch crossed the line under the posts to tie the game 19 a piece.
What an encounter, the 5 euro entry fee was cheap the brand of rugby that was being played. The big question now was would time run out for Bandon. Kinsale now started looking to make some substitutions as to the man every player on the field had put massive effort in. Evan O Toole made way for Darragh Collins.
Even though it was a tough encounter and Kinsale were under pressure they still looked energetic and in the last three minutes when they had moved the ball into Bandon half, Bandon yet again turned over the ball but wait for it up steps Matthew O’Donovan who ripped the ball from a Bandon player and any other day he would take on the ball but today was a day for moving it wide, he passed the ball to Joey Desmond and it was time for the Kinsale forwards to step up, Desmond from the Parish of Tracton moved the ball out to his fellow schoolmate Conor Forde, Forde had grown a few inches this year and was one of the tallest Kinsale lads on the pitch, who with stride and strength fended off 2-3 Bandon players crossing the whitewash in the right hand corner.
Again a very tough kick, narrowly missing from Conor Fitzpatrick. Kinsale now ahead 24-19, surely they had done enough with only about 2 minutes left. Another substitution due to injury Matthew O’Donovan making way for Aran Philips.
Bandon restarted and was there going to be time for anymore drama. Ball was played between Kinsale 22 and 10, Bandon gaining possession and moving forward but up steps Zach Allen to get his hands in on an isolated Bandon player, Kinsale penalty with the clock ran out. One final bit of cleverness from the Kinsale players, showing their rugby brains, saw Conor Fitzpatrick tap on a full penalty and then kick to touch, knowing that if he kicked straight out the lineout would be played, with that the ref blew the whistle and the celebrations started for Kinsale.
In true rugby spirit, even though they were upset after the loss, the Bandon captain came right over to the Kinsale side and congratulated them. Zach Allen, Kinsale captain of course reciprocating the gesture by giving a massive tribute to a fantastic Bandon team.
After receiving the cup the Kinsale squad had one more move to execute and that was to make a call to one of their team mates who couldn’t make it on the day due to family commitments, Ted O’Callaghan.
As always a League isn’t won by a team of fifteen but a squad, that have all played throughout the season. All 23 players and two that weren’t available on the day, Ted and Ben O’Reilly deserve huge credit for the commitment, dedication and hard work throughout the season, which brought them to the final.
A Great Victory!
Kinsale RFC U13s and 14s still on track for a historic ‘double double’
Straight after Kinsale RFC U13s’ win over Bandon RFC in the South Munster A League at Curraheen Farm, both clubs faced off for the second local derby of the day, this time at U14s, again in the South Munster ‘A’ League final.
When they met at the end of the regular season, it was Bandon who edged it 24-18, so there was every reason to expect another tight, hotly-contested game.
Playing into the breeze, Kinsale started at a furious tempo, and had the lion’s share of the ball in the first quarter, and were rewarded with a 3-pointer through the boot of out-half Paul Graham. No. 8 Sean Coughlan made big inroads for Kinsale, with Dylan Mullen, Fionn Aherne and Eric Lynch also giving Kinsale good go-forward. They provided very quick ball for their backs, with Graham and centres Billy O’Riordan & Eoin O’Rourke all running good lines and moving the ball slickly from one wing to the other. Eventually the breakthrough came, as left wing Kris O’Callaghan beat the cover out wide to score in the corner to give Kinsale an 8-nil lead.
The tide turned somewhat in the second quarter as Bandon started to dominate proceedings. With several big ball carriers up front, notably No. 8 Darragh Collins-O’Brien- and with wings Eamon Twomey and Jack Callanan showing plenty of pace out wide, the Kinsale line came under real pressure. Just before half-time, Bandon scrum-half Paddy Gaffney ran a clever diagonal and breached the Kinsale backline to score. Gaffney converted his own try to make it 8-7 at half-time.
In the second half, after a further period of Bandon pressure, Collins-O’Brien picked off the base of a scrum and powered over for their second try. The conversion went wide but Bandon now had a 4-point advantage, 12-8.
But again the momentum swung, as Graham made a huge territory gain with a long breeze-assisted kick into the Bandon 22. From a Kinsale lineout, hooker Max Dillon threw an inch-perfect dart long to Coughlan at the back. He rumbled, Kinsale recycled quickly and spun the ball wide to left wing O’Callaghan who skipped down the touchline, beating two defenders to score his second in the corner. The touchline conversion went wide, but Kinsale now had the slimmest of leads, 13-12.
For the last 10 minutes, Bandon threw the proverbial kitchen sink at their neighbours, and the screaming and shouting from the large crowd indicated how close they were on occasions to scoring. Kinsale scramble-defended for their lives, and openside Daniel Woods made one super last-ditch tackle to prevent an almost certain try. Eventually, Coughlan made the decisive jackal only metres from his line to secure a Kinsale penalty. With only a couple of minutes to go, Kinsale were able to clear their line and hold onto that precious one-point lead.
So a historic day for Kinsale, winning two underage ‘A’ finals, and also a game that was an exhibition of beautiful running rugby, in which both teams virtually refused to kick the ball, but rather sought to run it at every opportunity and win by scoring tries.
With their U13s also in the South Munster Cup final (Wed v Muskerry), Kinsale U14s now meet Skibbereen in the Cup final next Friday in a bid to win a historic ‘double double’ for the club. Kick-off in Clonakilty RFC 7.30pm Fri 4th May.