Another defeat for Tralee in Mallow
AFTER weeks of restricted action due to adverse weather conditions most of the junior rugby sides got back to scheduled action last weekend as all the league and cup campaigns wind their way towards a conclusion.
This season has seen the local clubs' experiencing a real mixed bag in fortunes. With Kanturk showing all in division one a clean pair of heels, dominating the J1 pretty much from day one, there has been little joy for most of the other sides challenging for top spot.
One of those sides that came into this season with genuine title aspirations was Tralee. Kerry's top junior side started their league campaign very well, but have seen it all collapse since just before Christmas and now are struggling to get a win from anywhere.
Last weekend's home clash with Mallow represented the Kingdom side's best chance of getting back to winning ways as the visitors have struggled all season to record a win. Tralee came into this side desperate to record a win that would keep them in touch with the top four however things didn't go to plan as they became only the second side to lose to Mallow this campaign.
Andy Cashman was the star of the show for the visitors, contributing a try, three penalties and two conversions. Michael Sweeney and Ronan McCarthy chipped in with the other tries for Mallow. TJ O'Sullivan and Eoin O'Carroll responded for the home side with a try apiece with Kieran Crowley adding two penalties while Garret Walsh added one conversion.
The loss means that Tralee's chances of getting into the All Ireland Junior Cup are now gone so they will need to focus on the remaining cup competitions if they are to take some silverware this season.
If they are to get that silverware it will probably have to come in the Munster Junior Challenge Cup. This is one of the toughest cup competitions in the province as all junior sides are eligible to compete.
Next Sunday, Tralee will entertain J3 side Fermoy in the Challenge Cup. This is a must win for the home side as they attempt to make sure their 2013/2014 season will not be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
In the J2 Killorglin, Castleisland and Killarney all had games last weekend with the former and the latter coming out on the wrong sides of heavy defeats.
Killorglin had the unenviable task of taking on league leaders St Senan's and unfortunately for the Kerrymen, they went the way of all but one of the sides before them. St Senan's may not have been crowned champions yet but this win does mean they will be a J1 side next season.
Tries by Warren Kelly (2) Fergal Lawlor, Jake Egan, Declan Rowe, Emile Mafite, Gearoid Condron and Brian Collins showed the dominance of the Limerick side of their guests with Rowe adding two conversions.
Darragh Woods replied with a try for Killorglin however that was nothing but a consolation score for the side that now look like slipping back to the J3. Things don't look like getting any easier for Killorglin as the face up to Dolphin next Sunday in the Munster Junior Challenge Cup. This will be a real test for the Kerrymen as every team that represent Dolphin will be hard to beat.
Killarney's miserable season went from bad to worse last weekend as they were on the wrong end of a 29 – 5 mauling from Clanwilliam.
A last minute try from Paudie Ryan meant that the Tipperary side secured a bonus point win which means they still have a great chance of gaining promotion while Killarney slip to 10th spot only eight points above the drop zone.
David McCormack scored a brace of tries for the winners with Brian Kissane adding a try, a penalty and three conversions. Damien Carroll was the only scorer for the vanquished side as he touched down for their only moment of joy.
Next up for Killarney is a home cup tie against Sunday's Well. This will be no easy game for the Kerry side as The Well will put forward a very competitive side, however, a break from league action is probably just what the doctor ordered for Killarney.
Castleisland were the only local side to record a win last weekend as they took the spoils against bottom of the table Newport. Shane O'Connell scored two tries for the victors with Eugene Cronin bagging the other. Connie Reynolds added a penalty which sees the Kerry men move up to sixth place in the table.
Next Sunday, Castleisland will get a chance to keep their good recent record going as they make the trip to play Cork side Youghal in the cup.
This will be a good opportunity for Castleisland to go on a cup run which may go a long way to save a season that failed to deliver on plenty levels.
Sunday February 23
Tralee v Fermoy
Killarney v Sunday's Well
Killorglin v Dolphin
Youghal v Castleisland
Galbally v Abbeyfeale