Waterpark 19-20 Bandon
4th October 2015
A last minute penalty by the ice cold Richie Walsh for Bandon ended a seven year drought of wins at the top level of the Munster Junior League last Sunday, when they defeated a galant Waterpark side 20-19 in Ballinakill, Waterford.
It was the home side however who started the stronger, scoring a try in the first quarter of the game. This came following a period of sustained pressure from their much bigger pack, which allowed Eoin O’ Connor to find a gap to crash through close to the ruck. The conversion was narrowly wide (05-00). This appeared to wake Bandon up, and they marched down the field for the next two minutes through the boot of Ray Naea, and secure hands of Tom Ferguson in the lineout. An infraction by Waterpark at the base of a lineout gave Richie Walsh an opportunity to open Bandon’s acccount from a penalty, 30 metres out, which he gladly dispatched (05-03). Bandon capitalised on their momentum on the 25 minute mark, when pressure on the Waterpark outhalf led to a wayward kick out of defence from their ‘22, which was fielded by the well positioned Olan Crowley, who immediately flashed the ball wide to Gearoid Crowley. The Bandon winger took the attack to the advancing Waterpark defence and managed to jig his way through with an individual 50 metre break, only to be stopped by the Waterpark full back. Crowley managed to pop the ball off the ground to the supporting Olan Crowley, who had initiated the move to touch down for a try (05-08). Bandon maintained the pressure on their opponent’s defence for the remainder of the first half, until just prior to the halftime whistle, when another example of poor discipline gave Richie Walsh an opportunity to bisect the uprights (05-11)
Waterpark again started the second half strongly, and exerted pressure on the Bandon defence through their larger pack. This was made evident in the 50th minute, when following a scrum 10 metres out from the Bandon line, Waterpark pushed the lighter Bandon pack back. Bandon centre Kieran Essex, believing the ball had crossed the line, dived in at the feet of the Waterpark lock forward. The referee immediately blew the whistle and headed for the posts, awarding Waterpark a penalty try. This was converted by the Waterpark outhalf George Deegan (12-11). The metronomic Walsh kept his side in the game and indeed give Bandon the lead with two fine penalties (12-17). However with five minutes remaining, the Waterpark centre took the ball at full flight from a scrum and sliced the Bandon defence apart give his team the lead. The conversion was added (19-17). After being on the wrong side of last minute score against Skibbereen on the opening weekend Bandon had learnt a lesson in resilience and marched back upfield. With only seconds remaining Waterpark somehow managed to turn over the ball and began to run down the clock. A fine display of tackling from the Bandon defence kept the ever picking and going Waterpark forwards just shy of their own half way line. Having been worn down by the hard hitting blue wall built in front of them, Waterpark were eventually penalised when one of their forwards went off his feet. Up stepped ice cold Richie Walsh, who made no mistake in slotting the ball over from 47 metres. Jubilant scenes followed as Bandon claimed their first scalp in Division 1 of the Munster Junior League on a score line of 20-19.
There were some strong performances around the park from the West Cork side. Kieran Essex again showed showed a few moments of class with ball in hand, especially when he was moved into the pack. Richie Walsh was again very strong from the boot, both from play and from the tee, showing nerves of steel to win the game for Bandon. Outhalf Ray Naea was strong in defence, leading the Bandon line up to good effect. Open side Michael Beecher was strong around the park, and was always available for a pop up from Bandon attacking players. However, best for Bandon on the day was winger Gearoid O’ Leary, who chased every ball kicked out of Bandon hands with determination, continually putting the Waterpark back three under massive pressure, leading to a number of mistakes from them. Bandon will have elements to work on again this week but should be content with the mature attitude of this young team displayed in the final minutes of the game. They will need to follow this performance up with another strong test at home in the Munster Junior Club’s Challenge Cup next Saturday10th October at 3pm v Co. Clare side St. Senans.
Bandon: Olan Crowley, Gearoid Crowley, Christian Mulcahy, Kieran Essex, Gearoid O’ Leary, Ray Naea, Richard Walsh; Ross Bateman, Scott Kingston, Mike Murphy, JP Lucey, Des Prendergast, Dan Switenbank, Tom Ferguson, Michael Beecher. Subs: Dermot Leahy, Philip Murphy, Alan Cremin, Jerry Crowley, Stephen O’ Donoghue