Monday 17 December 2018

Fermoy battle through for victory

Rugby round-up

Diarmuid Sheehan

The Munster junior league and cup competitions are edging their way to something like a conclusion in the coming weeks with many of the province's sides already finished their league exploits.

Cups competitions always generate that little bit of extra excitement among fans and players alike, but at this stage most of the north and mid-Cork sides have also finished those campaigns.

From a local standpoint, there was little to play for, for the majority of sides last weekend with just Mitchelstown and Fermoy in the hunt for anything like an improvement in their current situation.

J2 side Mitchelstown fell into relegation trouble many months ago and have been battling with the likes of Killarney since well before Christmas to see who would face the drop.

Recent results have condemned Killarney to the J3 with Mitchelstown having to wait to see what happens at senior grade to see where their fate lies as Bruff's potential relegation would have a knock-on effect to the numbers in the J2.

All that said, Mitchelstown were scheduled to take on Kinsale last Sunday as they looked to finish off their campaign with a morale boosting win.

Mitchelstown would have been looking forward to the game however Kinsale gave the north Cork side a walkover which meant their season will now all come down to a waiting game.

Fermoy's J3 Promotion Play-off semi-final game with Fethard and District did go ahead and credit to Fermoy they bucked the trend here by seeing off the side that were favourite to secure elevation.

Fethard looked like they had top spot in the bag for most of the season however Charleville slipped in at the death to take the title and the promotion place which sent Fethard into the playoffs.

Both Fethard and Fermoy won their quarter final clashes which set up last weekend's all or nothing game and while the pundits may have fancied Fethard for the win it was Fermoy that battled through in the most dramatic of circumstances to secure victory by the narrowest of margins.

Fermoy snatched a last minute try to beat Fethard 21-20 in a moment that will be remembered for a long time at the north Cork club.

This game had to be played in UL as other pitches in the area were unplayable but the change of venue seemed to have no impact on the men in green. These sides' obviously met in the league just over a month ago and on that day Fermoy stopped Fethard winning the title. That result saw fellow north Cork side Charleville go up so there little doubt the incentive to take out Fermoy was there for the Tipperary men.

Well, Fethard may well have had plenty reasons to be up for this one but you still have to do it on the day and credit to the Premier County men they battled all the way to the final whistle. A brace of tries from James O'Driscoll gave Fermoy a 10-6 lead at the turn with the boot of Gary Kavanagh kicking two penalties for the opposition.

Fermoy hit their opponents hard after the break with two penalties from Dylan Lacey however Fethard stuck to the task and led heading into the final minutes thanks to tries from Kavanagh and Chris Large with both tries converted by Kavanagh.

Fermoy looked beat at this point, but from nowhere Peter Stapleton scored his side's third try which sent the Avondhu men through and Fethard home.

Fermoy will now face up to Clare side Ennis in the Division 3 play-off final which will be one of the biggest days in the club's recent history and hopefully the game will end with the Cork side grabbing promotion to the J2.

That game will take place next Sunday afternoon in Ennis and while home advantage will benefit Ennis this may well still be Fermoy's best chance of promotion in a few years.

The last game involving local clubs was the J2 league clash between mid-table Mallow and mid-Cork side Muskerry. These sides would know each other well and there is rarely anything between them when they go toe to toe - and this time was no exception as Mallow took the spoils, just. 15-14.

Muskerry had home advantage here and would have fancied their chances of taking the spoils however Mallow have had a very impressive second half to the season, which saw them move from the foot to the middle of the table with consummate ease.

Sean Glynn and Luke O'Brien scored the majors for Mallow with the ever-reliable Jimmy Glynn adding the rest, a conversion and one penalty.

Muskerry had their own moments to cheer with tries from George O'Mahony and Daniel Horgan. Both touchdowns were converted by Jonathan Buckley however on this day it just wasn't to be enough for the boys from Ballyanly.

This loss is a microcosm of Muskerry's season. Played well, in it till the end, but ultimately just one or two points short of what is required.

For Mallow, the win is more reward for patience and dedication and after a poor first half to the season there is plenty reason for optimism heading into the next chapter of the club's history.

Mallow will entertain Thurles at St Joseph's Road this weekend in the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Plate.

Little doubting this will be a tough ask for Mallow however recent form shows the Avondhu men have every chance of progressing to the semi-final.


Sunday April 15, 2.30 pm

Munster Junior Plate

Mallow v Thurles, Mallow

J3 Playoff Final

Ennis v Fermoy, Ennis