27th September 2015
Bandon 26 – 28 Skibbereen
Bandon fell short at the final hurdle following a physical re-introduction to Division 1 of the Munster Junior League on Sunday afternoon, losing narrowly, on a score line of 26-28 in favour of local rivals Skibbereen.
Following 6 years of waiting for the opportunity, Bandon started very strongly, taking an early lead of 6-0 half way through the first half, from the seemingly infallible boot of their scrum half Richie Walsh, who took advantage of uncharacteristic indiscipline from the Skibbereen side. Skibbereen replied with a penalty of their own 3 minutes later. Both teams continued to trade carries for the remainder of the second half, before again, following a penalty in front of the posts, Walsh gave Bandon some breathing space going into half time, making it Bandon 9-3 Skibbereen.
The visitors dominated the early stages of the second half, using their pick and drive very effectively against a loose Bandon defence, scoring two unanswered tries from K Coombes and M Limerick, the latter of which was converted. Bandon responded, when seemingly out of nothing, winger Gearoid Crowley intercepted a wayward pass and ran 40 metres to put the ball down under the Skibbereen posts with three chasing defenders hot on his heels, giving Walsh an easy tap over conversion to bring the score line to Bandon16-18 Skibbereen. A Skibbereen penalty followed before Bandon fullback Olan Crowley touched down in the corner following some strong pressure from the Bandon pack allowed their backs to spread the ball wide. Walsh quickly followed this up with a penalty after a Skib player was adjudged offside. In the final moments of the game, Skibbereen, now trailing by five, hounded the Bandon line, picking and driving at the now much tighter Bandon defence. Having sucked the Bandon pack into the middle, Skibbereen took advantage by spreading the ball wide and the waiting winger took his opportunity to touch down in the corner. Skibbereen centre McCarthy, under great pressure converted from the side-line, securing a 28-26 victory for the travelling side.
Although this was a tough defeat for this young Bandon side, there was some strong performances around the park. Kieran Essex at first centre showed a few moments of class with ball in hand. Richie Walsh was again very strong from the boot, both from play and from the tee. Outhalf Ray Naea was strong in defence, leading the Bandon line up to good effect. Second Row Des Prendergast appeared calm and composed under the kick offs and in Bandon’s line out defence. While Captain Tom Ferguson lead from the front. However, best for Bandon on Sunday was open side Michael Beecher who appeared to pop up in most situations in both attack and defence, continually seeking the off load from his strong lines of running. Bandon coped with the step up in intensity from Division 2 and will learn a lot from this game. They will have elements to work on during the week and need to follow this performance up with another strong test against an experienced Waterpark side in Waterford next Sunday 4th October at 2.30pm.
Bandon: Olan Crowley, Gearoid Crowley, Christian Mulcahy, Kieran Essex, Gearoid O’ Leary, Ray Naea, Richard Walsh; Ross Bateman, Mike Murphy, Richard Martin, Colin Jackson, Des Prendergast, Dan Switenbank, Michael Beecher, Tom Ferguson. Subs used: Dermot Leahy, Phil Murphy
Subs: Cian Buttimer; Jerry Crowley; Kieran Phelan.