Tralee's J1 title ambitions take a hit with home loss against Skibereen


AS the season heads round the half way point in the Munster junior rugby leagues, teams are beginning to position themselves for the battles at the top and bottom of each division.

In the J1 Tralee have made a solid enough start and found themselves still in the hunt for league honours come season's end.

Skibereen were the visitors to Tralee last Sunday with the Cork side also in the hunt for the J1 crown. Both sides would have come into this clash well aware that any slip-ups could be catastrophic to their title ambitions.

Unfortunately for the home side it is Skibbereen that now find themselves in second place after they stole the victory in the last minute thanks to a converted penalty by Steve Hansel.

The 18-16 win over Tralee positions the west Cork side six point behind the leaders Richmond and four points ahead of Kerry's top junior side.

Tralee led 10-8 at the break with a try by Liam Quaid and a conversion and penalty by Dan Clark. Patrick Ryan got the visitors back into the game with a try with Hansel adding a penalty.

Clark added two penalties for the home side after the interval but Donal Mehigan replied with a try for Skibbereen with Hansel adding the extra points before his last minute penalty took the points back to Cork.

Tralee will now take a few weeks off and hope to regroup for what will have to be an unbeaten run till season's end if they are to get league silverware this time campaign.

With Muskerry's game against Presentation falling foul of the weather there was a great opportunity for Castleisland to take control of the J2 division but unfortunately for the Kerry men they not only failed to take advantage of the oppositions cancellation but they also lost their unbeaten run as they went down 8-7 at home to Bandon.

Both sides managed a try with Gearoid Crowley bagging one for the visitors while Willie Nolan touched down for Castleisland.

The difference on the day was that Cathal Crowley kicked a penalty while Connie Reynolds only added a conversion.

The loss is far from season ending however as Castleisland still have a game in hand over the others sides at the top and if they win that game they will still take top spot heading to the Christmas period.

Killarney dragged themselves back into league contention with an impressive win 15-0 win over Kinsale. Adrian Hegarty and Eoin Deasy bagged the tries for the victors with Paudie Sheahan adding a conversion and a penalty.

The win sees Killarney head back into fourth spot only four points off Muskerry at the top.

Next up for Killarney is a home game against bottom of the table Carrick-on-Suir. A win in this one will see Killarney claim top spot for Christmas and mark them down as one of the danger sides heading into 2013.

Killorglin won the battle of the top two in the J3 last Sunday after they took care of second placed Fermoy in Tralee, 29-3.

Tries by Darren Curtayne and Barry Sheehan had Killorglin 10-3 ahead at half time. Joe Lee responded with a penalty for the Cork side before Trevor West, Andrew O'Reilly and Peter Slattery secured the win with a trio of tries in the second half. Luke O'Shea converted two of the three to round off what was a great day for the Kerry side.

Abbeyfeale lost their second game of the season as they went down 22-9 away to Douglas. Stuart McLoughlin, Barry Hynes and Dan Lehane all scored tries for Douglas with Eoin Philpott kicking two conversions and a penalty.

Tom Enright replied with three penalties for the Abbeyfeale but it never looked to be enough as Abbeyfeale find themselves down in seventh place in the table.

Finally for the local sides Corca Dhuibhne slumped to five losses in a row last Sunday as they went down to Scariff by 13-8.

A try by Conor Minogue, a conversion and penalty by Barry Gibbons and a penalty by Conor McNamara did the damage for the winners with Corca Dhuibhne's Ciaran Slattery bagging a try for the Kerry men and Kevin Moriarty adding a penalty.

The loss sees Corca sit rock bottom of the table with almost half of the season complete.