St Senan’s 18-18 Bandon
8th November 2015
Bandon and St. Senan’s could not be seperated on the score board, at 18-18, or in the league after 80 minutes of intense and hard rugby, in Shannon Town last Sunday.
Although Bandon were dealt a dodgy hand before a ball was kicked, with significant injuries to powerful center Phillip Murphy and openside Michael Beecher, in the warm up, Bandon started strongly against the Clare side. Again showing dominance upfront, both in set pieces and open play. This early pressure was rewarded after 5 minutes, when they were awarded a penalty 26 yards out. This came from a scrum, when the Senan’s loosehead, who seemed to be fighting a losing battle against Bandon Prop Timmy Crowley all day, was judged to have bored into center. Richie Walsh did not make any mistake in converting the penalty, although striking it from his knees, after slipping on his approach (00-03). Bandon gathered the kick off well, and Richie Walsh cleared his lines. Gearoid Crowley chased hard and put pressure on the Senan’s full back, forcing him into an error. Bandon were awarded another penalty from the resulting scrum. This was tapped quickly by Captain Tom Ferguson, who brought the attack to Senan’s, before flashing the ball to outhalf Ray Naea. Naea made a break up field before popping the ball off to his support runners. What followed was an exhibition of offloading from the Bandon side, with quick interlink play from left to right, involving Mighty Okafor, Des Prendergast, Mike Murphy and finally Gearoid O’ Leary who touched down just right of the posts. This was easily converted by Richie Walsh (00-10). Senan’s responded well and began asserting pressure on the Bandon backline. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 13th minute when, from a scrum, they worked a well planned move to perfection, the scrum half picked and slotted the ball to the on running center who crashed over the Bandon line, taking a Bandon winger with him. The Senan’s outhalf failed to convert the kick (05-10). The next 9 minutes saw Senan’s hammering at the Bandon line from 5 yards out, Bandon stood up well to this onslaught with both discipline and strength in the tight, finally forcing Senan’s into a mistake and putting the ball back in blue hands. Richie Walsh cleared the ball back up to the half way line. This lifted the Bandon team once again and swung momentum back in their favour, however, their penalty count ensured that they were not able to benefit from their dominance and build on their lead. An over eager Bandon back gave Senan’s the opportunity to slot their first penalty of the day when he stepped out of line in his own 22, which the Senan’s outhalf dispatched easily (08-10). Richie Walsh kicked off deep into the Senan’s 22, forcing them to run the ball out. Sustained pressure by the Bandon chasing line forced Senan’s into a knock on in their 22. From the resultant scrum, Tom Ferguson picked and popped quickly to Richie Walsh who drew the two blindside defenders before laying the ball off to the advancing Gearoid O’ Leary, who touched down in the corner. Richie Walsh missed the conversion but was awarded a penalty by the referee, as he punished the Senan’s defence for mouthing at their displeasure with the touchdown by O’ Leary. Richie Walsh calmly kicked the penalty from the half way line, making up for his previous uncharacteristic conversion miss (08-18).
Senan’s started the second half the stronger of the two, and found themselves deep in the Bandon half almost immediately. From the line out 10 metres out, they flashed the ball across the pitch to the left, and immediately back to the blindside, where only for a last ditch tackle from Bandon winger Gearoid Crowley, they would have touched down. Crowley positioned himself under the attacking winger and managed to turn him into touch. Bandon, however, failed to claim their own lineout and Senan’s again spread the ball wide into open field, creating an overlap and allowing their winger an unopposed run in to score out wide, too wide for their outhalf who missed the conversion (13-18). Bandon were dealt a further blow 52 minutes in when their outhalf Ray Naea was sent to the sin bin for tackling the Senan’s scrumhalf as he attempted to take a quick tap penalty in his own half. The game continued to ebb and flow for the next 20 minutes with both teams exchanging terms in defence and attack. With 70 minutes gone, Senan’s worked a lineout well and moved the ball from their jumper to a lifter in the air. Bandon sacked the jumper, allowing the maul to spin off and breach the Bandon line. The Senan’s outhalf failed to convert, leaving the scores level (18-18). The last 10 minutes could not divide the teams, leaving them both with 2 valuable league points a piece.
There were some stand out performances for Bandon of the day. Scott Kingston did well, asked at last minute to slot into openside, winning a number of balls on the floor. Olan Crowley was solid at fullback, while scrumhalf Richie Walsh again marshalled the game. Dan Swithenbank made some big hits, while Gearoid O’ Leary secured an impressive brace of tries from the wing. However, best for Bandon on the day was the front row unit of Timmy Crowley, Mike Murphy and Riobaird Wilmot. As a unit they allowed Bandon the front foot from set pieces and all featured high in the tackle count when on defence. Fourth placed Bandon will have elements to work on again this week but have put two strong performances together. They now welcome Limerick’s St Marys to Old Chapel next Sunday at 2.30pm.
Bandon: Olan Crowley, Gearoid Crowley, Jerry Crowley, Mighty Okafor, Gearoid O’ Leary, Ray Naea, Richie Walsh; Riobaird Wilmot, Michael Murphy, Timmy Crowley, Colin Jackson, Des Prendergast, Dan Swithenbank, Tom Ferguson (C), Scott Kingston
Subs: Cian Buttimer, Phillip Murphy, Michael Beecher, Dermot Leahy, Neill Canniffe