Tuesday 16 July 2019

Difficult weekend for the local sides

Rugby round-up - Diarmuid Sheehan

All round it was a bad day for north and mid Cork rugby last weekend as the only two sides scheduled to play league action failed to make the impression required.

With just Muskerry and Kanturk on the starting blocks the weekend was never likely to be the most productive from a local standpoint as both sides continue to plough their own furrows in the J2 and J1 respectively.

Kanturk went to Richmond last weekend looking to get something from the title chasing Limerick side that currently sit second in the table and, while the boys from Knocknacolon had some joy in the game, overall this was another day to forget for a side that are now firmly in a relegation battle.

48-10 was the final score line in this one with the home side touching down on no fewer than eight occasions, while for their part the visitors only managed to cross the whitewash twice.

Sean Considine was the hero of the hour for the victors with three tries and a conversion to his name and while Considine's tally on its own was enough to take the spoils Jack O'Hanlon, James Reeves, Shane Halpin, Gareth O'Hanlon and Ryan Meagher added to the Kanturk pain with a try a piece to round off what was a great day for a side that now sit just one point behind an impressive looking Clonmel side.

For Kanturk, Michael Bradley and Eoin O'Sullivan were the try scorers however when all is said and done this losing margin and the fact that the side have now lost five of their seven league fixtures will have raised the stress levels all over the club, but no better bunch of men to drag themselves out of the mire when their backs are to the wall.

The other local side to stride into action last weekend were mid-Cork side Muskerry and like Kanturk, last weekend won't be one that lives in the memory for too long.

Muskerry have done reasonably so far, this season, without ever really lighting up the J2 division. Muskerry have been competitive and hard to shake off for a number of seasons with a never say die attitude that has brought them plenty wins and even more bonus points and while they again came out on the wrong side of last week's home fixture against fellow cork side Cobh Pirates the Ballyanly boys did manage to collect another losing bonus point, something that may come in handy come season's end.

The 18-16 away win over Muskerry was the highlight of the year for the Pirates as they have been languishing at the wrong end of the table since the first day out. After playing to a stalemate in the opening 40 minutes the scoring floodgates opened after the break with Glen O'Sullivan and Ruairi Geary touching down for the seasiders Jack Hickey adding two penalties and a conversion.

Joe Treacy was Muskerry's try scorer with Jonathan Buckley kicking a conversion and three penalties to round off what can't be considered a total disaster of an exercise.

The result sees Cobh jump up a couple of places to 10thin the table while Muskerry are now fifth, five points behind a Fermoy side in fourth that have done really well to this point.

Early January will be the next league outing for Muskerry and while catching top of the table Mallow might be considered something of a long shot at this stage they are just two bonus points wins off second placed Clonakilty - still a tall order, but far from impossible with six games still to play.

It will be a couple of weeks before any action returns to the junior club rugby fields with a well-deserved Christmas break taking most of the attention in the coming days however when rivalries recommence in the new year there is little doubting that all local sides will need to up their respective game if they are to get what they want from this season's campaigns.

Mallow, Fermoy and Charleville are all doing really well in the J2 with the former in a really strong position to win-out while Mitchelstown are still well in the hunt for a title in the J3.

All local sides have room to improve on past performances however if the last four months are anything to go by then 2019 looks like it may well produce more than one success story.