Club Notes, 23 September 2014

City of Armagh RFC, one of the oldest rugby clubs in Ireland, paid their first visit to Rosbrien for a competitive fixture when they took on our senior side in the opening round of AIL Division 2B. Hopes were high for a home win to get our season off to the right start but, as has often been the case, Old Crescent were slow to start and Armagh were first on the scoreboard with a converted penalty after 15 minutes.

The visitors followed up with a second converted penalty five minutes later. The Crescent pack was having a tough time at scrum time and at line-outs against the larger Armagh pack, and found it hard to get their hands on the ball for any sustained period.

Just before the half hour, an Armagh attack that seemed at first to been contained but unfortunately wasn’t saw them score a well worked try which they converted to put them 13 points clear of the home side.

There were no further scoring before the break which gave Crescent a much needed chance to regroup. After the break, Crescent began to get a foothold in the Armagh half and won a penalty. Shane O’Brien hit the upright with his penalty attempt and the ball came back into the field of play where an alert Cathal Monaghan pounced on the ball and touched down unopposed for a try beside the posts watched by the dumb struck Armagh side. Shane O’Brien slotted the easy conversion to give us an opportunist 7 points and bring Crescent back into the game with 30 minutes remaining.

Crescent continued to pile pressure on a now rattled Armagh side. Several penalty chances were declined as our team went all out for the win. with ten minutes to go, Armagh had two players in the bin, one red and one yellow, and the local support roared on the Crescent side hoping that the significant numerical advantage in those last minutes could be made to pay.

However, despite wave after wave of Crescent attacks, the thirteen man Armagh defence held solid until the final whistle to give them an important win on the road and leave the home side with the small consolation of a losing bonus point. Next up is Highfield away in Cork next Saturday.

Our Thirds side travelled to Coonagh last Friday evening to take on Shannon in the quarter final of the McInerney Cup. Following on from their 30-3 victory over Richmond in the previous round, our Thirds were hoping to extend their early season good run of form. Crescent started strongly, and after a few surging runs through midfield by Dave Egan, our forwards were able to punch the ball close to the Shannon line and win a penalty, which out half Conor Hegarty slotted to make it 3-0.

Crescent maintained the pressure through the forwards, and after some more solid phases back row Dave Dennehy crashed over for a try which Hegarty converted. Hegarty then extended the lead to 13-0 on the stroke of half time with an impressive long-range penalty from half way.

The strong Shannon side regrouped in the second period and began to make ground, eventually adding a converted try and a penalty to narrow the scoreline to 13-10. Crescent fought back and extended their lead to six points through Hegarty’s boot. The final exchanges of a hard-fought game saw Crescent hold out to win 16-10, led by stand-in captain Cathal Mooney.

There were a number of impressive individual performances, particularly Hegarty, Dennehy, second row Mike Manning and scrum half Ciaran Collins. The Thirds face local rivals Young Munster in the semi final next weekend.

In Under Age News, our Under 14 league side hosted Ballinasloe last Sunday afternoon. The teams had met last season and served up a great game of rugby so much was expected of the teams on Sunday. Missing a couple of players, our coaches used the opportunity to try out new combinations and all was going to plan when Darragh Fenton crossed for an unconverted try to open the scoring. The visitors who were well organised in all aspects of their play began to get better quality possession and scored two tries one of which was converted to give them a 12-5 lead at the break.

In the second half, both teams increased their performance levels but the visitors with their bigger pack and greater share of possession extended their lead with 2 more unconverted tries. Our team continued to compete and were rewarded in the closing minutes with the final score of the game when Ronan Kiely touched down for a try leaving the final score 24-10 to the visitors. An enjoyable post match followed in the club house and we look forward to the return fixture later in the season.

Both our sides return to league action on Sunday with the league team travelling to Bruff and the conference teams travelling to Newcastle West with kick off times to be confirmed later in the week.

Fixtures this weekend, our Thirds take on Young Munster in Greenfields next Friday evening at 7.30pm in the semifinal of the McInerney Cup. Our First team travel to Cork to take on Highfield in the UBL at 2.30pm next Saturday. Don’t forget to book your place on the Old Crescent Supporters free bus to Highfield by calling Anthony O’Dwyer on 087 2214140 asap.

Next Monday evening, our A Team play Thomond at home in Rosbrien at 7.30pm in the Munster Senior Seconds League, and our Under 20 side make the short trip to Dooradoyle to play Garryowen also at 7.30pm next Monday evening.