Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hogan seals historic crown for Leamy's Clonmel

Clonmel 27 Clanwilliam 9

Clonmel celebrate after beating Clanwilliam in the Munster Junior Cup final
Clonmel celebrate after beating Clanwilliam in the Munster Junior Cup final

Clonmel RFC – coached by former Munster and Ireland back-row Denis Leamy – have been threatening to become a force in junior rugby in recent years and eventually stepped into the winners' enclosure last Sunday when they claimed their first Munster Junior Challenge Cup title.

Clanwilliam kept battling until the end, but tries win matches and Clonmel scored four as the Tipperary Town side failed to cross the line.

Clanwilliam were rocked on their heels in the second minute when a break by Clonmel flanker Frankie Quinlan set up a try for full-back Conor Cooney in the corner.

David Kinehan and Kieran Merrigan were putting in big hits for Clanwilliam as Clonmel threatened to run rampant.

Gradually, the Clanwilliam pack began to get on top, and Brian Kissane kicked two long-range penalties to put them 6-5 ahead.

Kinehan made a great break and chipped over the Clonmel defence, but the ball went dead before he won the race to ground it.

Then disaster struck again for Clanwilliam as a quick break up the blindside by Morgan Lyons and Greg Carroll sent Brian Smith in for a second try for Clonmel.

Kissane reduced the deficit with his third long-range effort on 29 minutes, but he elected to kick for touch when presented with another chance penalty just before half-time.

Clonmel extended their advantage on 54 minutes when a break by Cooney and Luke Hogan saw his chip ahead being kicked away by the Clanwilliam defence, but winger Greg Carroll was up to touch down and Cooney converted. Cooney made it 20-9 with a penalty on 60 minutes.

With time slipping away, Clanwilliam rallied in the final 10 minutes and had Clonmel camped in their own '22'.

Yellow cards to Frankie Quinlan and Neville Melbourne saw Clonmel reduced to 13.

But Hogan put the icing on the cake when he gathered the ball on his own '22' and raced the length of the field to score. Cooney's conversion brought the game to a finish.

Clonmel – C Cooney; G Carroll, L Hogan, B Smith, D Lonergan; M Lyons, A Sheehan; M Sheehan, G Mulcahy, M Corby; R Crosse, J Long; J Gallaher, F Quinlan, N Melbourne. Reps: P Keating, B Lonergan, T Cantwell, S Pyke, D Cadogan.

Clanwilliam – R Doyle; G Ryan, K Merrigan, R Childs, P Ryan; D Kinehan, D Shiels; J Whelan, I O'Rahelly, D O'Brien; B Kissane, P Ryan; R Merrigan, C Doyle, D McCormack. Reps: B Quinlan, E Ryan, J Richardson, K O'Donnell, V Grisewood.

REF – A Brace (MAR).

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