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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Waterpark put halt to Kanturk's gallop

Rugby

Diarmuid Sheehan

Despite the recent drop in temperatures all the Munster Junior Leagues are beginning to hot up right now as the challengers position themselves for a shot at glory, promotion or mid table safety from impending relegation battles.

Six or seven weeks in for most clubs and the leagues have begun to spread out with genuine challengers looking to consolidate early season good form, while those that started in a less than spectacular fashion try to push their way up to a more advantageous position.

Kanturk's recent run of good form in the J1 came to an end last weekend when they came up against a Waterpark side that were well up for this particular encounter.

The Waterford city side came into the game with relegation fever beginning to rise but this 37-10 result against a Kanturk side that had moved up to mid-table in the last number of weeks, will have eased those worrries for now.

A brace of tries by Paddy Kiersey set Waterpark on their way with James Liew, David Fitzgerald and Scott Hornibrook managing to secure touchdowns which not only secured the bonus point win. The boot of Alex Molloy added to Kanturk's pain as he hit three conversions and a brace of classy penalties.

For Kanturk this was to be a poor day on the road with just Conor Sullivan and Navarone Papali'i getting in for five pointers. Kanturk are better than they showed last weekend and will look to get back to winning ways when they entertain Kilfeacle and District next Sunday at Knocknacolon.

Kilfeacle sit fifth in the table coming into this one with three wins from their opening five encounters. This game will be a measure of where Kanturk are at this year with a win likely to ease any concerns of a relegation battle. A loss however could see Kanturk back in the mire which is hardly the ideal situation heading into the Christmas busy period.

There was no action in the J3 for local rugby fans with Mitchelstown sitting out the limited action this Sunday. Next weekend the only north Cork side in the J3 will entertain Tralee in what will likely go a long way to deciding this season's title race.

Tralee currently lead the division by three points from second placed Mitchelstown with the latter enjoying the luxury of home advantage this weekend as well as having what will likely be an all-important game in hand.

Mitchelstown will be going for six wins from six this Sunday but would likely take a draw right now if it were offered - that said, a win over the Kerry side this Sunday may well mean that J2 action next season is just three or four more wins away and that should be enough to drive this hugely talented bunch to victory.

There was a north Cork derby game between Fermoy and Charleville in the J2 last Sunday with the winners bound to push right up to the business end of the table while the vanquished side were likely to fall into the chasing pack and on the day, that is exactly what transpired as Fermoy moved up to fourth in the table thanks to their 12-8 win at home against a Charleville side that now find themselves ninth in the table, seven points back.

Eoin Lacey bagged Fermoy's only try of the first half which was converted by Dylan Lacey while Damien Leahy kept Charleville in it in the first 40 with his side's only try of the game. Peter Skuse snatched the winning score when he claimed the game's final try however Altus Meyer kept the pressure up all the way to the finish with a penalty for Charleville.

Charleville will look to get their recent run of good form back on track next Sunday when they welcome a Castleisland side that currently sit one spot behind them in 10th to the north Cork venue. Both sides will target this game as a good opportunity and while a negative result is hardly fatal to this season's chances of success it would be difficult to stay in touch from such a distance back.

Fermoy are also in action this weekend but they must head Deise side to take on Waterford City. The hosts have done well enough this year but will need to improve on recent displays if they are to see off a Fermoy team that have enough in their locker to cause a host of problems for the Waterford men.

The Old Christians versus Muskerry game failed to make it to post on Sunday due to an unplayable pitch. A trip to bottom side Thurles is on the cards for Muskerry this weekend and the mid-Cork side will be hell-bent on making sure that this is an away win to keep them firmly in the promotion race.

Last but by no means least was the all-conquering Mallow side's game with Ballincollig last Sunday. Mallow came into this one with five bonus point wins from five while the home team were firmly at the wrong side of the J2 table.

On a perfect day for rugby, on a Ballincollig pitch was more akin to a carpet than a winter rugby field, the home side started much the stronger opening the game's scoring with an unconverted try on 10 minutes from Vinnie Browne. Some sloppy defending on Mallow's part, particularly around the fringes and 10m either side of breakdown led to the first score however Mallow were quick to get a foothold in the game with a pushover scrum soon after. Mike Lenihan dived on the ball as the Mallow scrum decimated their opponents from five metres out. Dave Breen added the extras to put Mallow into a lead that they would never relinquish. The away side were next to dot down as they slowly started to exert their dominance. Ronan McCarthy fired out a pass to Owen Glynn who identified a mismatch down the blindside. He popped it to Sean Glynn whose quick hands found Conor O'Donovan on the wing. He beat his opposite number with ease and raced away to score. Breen was next to add to the score line sending a deft chip over the top and collecting his it before touching down under the posts for Mallow's third try of the game. Mallow led 21-5 at the turn.

Mallow managed to secure the bonus point within 10 minutes of the restart exploiting their strength in the scrum. Lenihan picked off the back of the scrum and made excellent yardage with Hugh Keena, Timmy Fitzgerald, Chris O'Regan and Tysone Stephens punching holes in the Ballincollig defence with O'Donovan bagging his second and Mallow's fourth try.

Ballincollig never gave up with a try from Tony Keating and three penalties and a conversion from Charlie Boland but Mallow were not going to let this one go. Mallow did respond to put the game beyond doubt late on with a great try from Mike O'Flynn before Breen got in on the act again bagging his second try and fifth of the campaign to date.

Next Sunday will be a huge test for Mallow as second in the table Clonakilty make the trip to St Joseph's Road. A huge day for the home side who will need all the support they can get, on and off the field.

Fixtures

Sunday, December 2 at 2.30pm

Munster J-League Division 1

Kanturk v Kilfeacle & District

Munster J-League Division 2

Charleville v Castleisland

Mallow v Clonakilty

Thurles v Muskerry

Waterford City v Fermoy

Munster J-League Division 3

Mitchelstown v Tralee

Corkman

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