Waterpark seal dream double on joyous day at Thomond
Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30
Waterpark RFC are Munster U-18 and U-16 clubs champions following their respective wins in the Bank of Ireland underage finals in Thomond Park Stadium.
In a thrilling U-18 decider, Waterpark edged out Bruff 35-28 in a game that swung from end to end and produced nine tries.
Bruff enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the opening half and went ahead with a penalty, their only successful kick of the day, but out-half Alex Molloy soon levelled for Waterpark.
A try from a maul after a lineout and one by Liam Barrett gave Bruff a 13-3 half-time lead.
Waterpark hit back with tries from Dave Murphy and Daniel O'Keeffe, and Molloy converted both and also kicked a penalty for a 20-13 lead.
A third Bruff try, from Joe O'Connell, reduced the deficit to 20-18, but a drop-goal from Molloy and a second try by O'Keeffe in the corner made it 28-18.
Bruff soon crossed the line, but Pádraig Gannon scored try number four for Waterpark, with Molloy adding the extras.
Battling Bruff replied with their fifth try but it was not enough to deny Waterpark a great double.
"It's a very proud day for Waterpark," said coach Billie Leslie. "Coming up here with two teams and being able to finish with two wins is a fantastic achievement for the club."
"There's a very strong culture within our team. I knew that if we could keep getting a little bit of possession in the first half we could move the ball, take it through the phases and the gap would open up."
"In the second half we made a lot of changes and brought on a lot of skilful players who transferred the ball well and luckily scored a number of tries."
Captain James Lieu said: "It was really physical, they were running at us from the first minute till the very end and you could tell they wanted it as much as us.
Commenting on the large number of supporters that travelled from Waterpark Lieu said: "You couldn't even hear the ref, all you could hear was them chanting for Waterpark - it was fantastic.
"Today was something I'll never forget, it was a great experience - I can now say I've played in Thomond Park and won!"
With their youth section going from strength to strength, preceding their U-18 counterparts, the Waterpark U-16 side claimed the Munster Clubs Cup title for the third year in a row.
Ben Daly opened the scoring with a drop-goal for Waterpark but a penalty by Jack Crowley drew Bandon level to leave the sides 3-3 at half-time.
A try by Oisin Daly and a conversion and penalty by Daly put Waterpark 13-3 ahead after 41 minutes. Joshua Brady kept Bandon in the contest with a try that Crowley converted.
Gavin Corbett put Waterpark 18-10 ahead with a try, and a second Bandon try from Sean Galvin could not prevent Waterpark from retaining their crown.
Waterpark manager Tommy Bowe said: "It's been a fantastic day - three-in-a-row is a fantastic achievement."
Captain Harry Jephson added: "Every single person on the squad worked so hard throughout the season and each individual wanted the cup so badly they gave it everything they had on the day and we are delighted with our three in a row!"