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Clonmel end century-old wait for glory

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The Clonmel squad crowned Munster Junior League Division 1 Champions

The Clonmel squad crowned Munster Junior League Division 1 Champions

The Clonmel squad crowned Munster Junior League Division 1 Champions

History was made last weekend as Clonmel RFC lifted the Division 1 trophy of the Munster Junior League for the first time in the club's 123-year history.

In front of a huge crowd in Clonmel, the hosts took on Cobh Pirates in their penultimate game of the league campaign.

Going into the game with a game in hand over nearest rivals Newcastle West, the Clonmel side knew a bonus-point win would see them crowned champions.

Clonmel got off to the better start and controlled much of the play with pressure exerted on the visitors from the outset.

It wasn't long until that pressure was rewarded with the opening score coming from Luke Hogan.

Conor Cooney converted and the intensity continued unabated with Morgan Lyons ending a superb sequence of play to increase the lead to 12-0.

On 28 minutes a magnificent move culminated with Hogan crossing the line for his second try of the game, with Cooney delivering a well-taken conversion.

The sides went to the half-time break with Clonmel leading 19-0 and the home crowd daring to dream that this was going to be the day a new chapter in the club's proud history was going to be written.

There was to be no let-up in the second half, and 12 minutes in Neville Melbourne made a sublime run to cross the line and secure the fourth and bonus-point try.

The game continued to flow and great open rugby resulted in Darragh Foley making the break to secure try number five on the 60 minute mark.

EPIC

Billy O'Kelly made it 34-0 before a late converted try by the visitors gave Cobh their only scores of the day. The game finished 34-7 with the bonus point secured and the league title decided in a truly epic 80 minutes of rugby.

The win on Sunday continues a remarkable run of form for the club which has seen the Clonmel side win the Munster Junior Cup for the first time last May in Irish Independent Park, the Munster Junior Club of the year for 2013/14 and the Munster Junior Clubs Cup.

The club now heads into the round-robin play-offs with the other provincial Junior League title winners as they seek promotion to the senior club ranks.

While the squad continue to deliver on the pitch, huge credit equally goes to Denis Leamy and Joe Winston, head coach and team manager respectively for their huge commitment and dedication.

Irish Independent