Abbeyfeale RFC


1 -7 -26 – 31
2 MATCH 3’S @ €75 each

4 LUCKY DIPS, €25 each
1. Kevin Buckley, C/o Corner House,Abbeyfeale
2. Marion Roche, Caherhayes, Abbeyfeale
3. Philip Kavanagh, Cratloe ,Abbeyfeale
4. Jason Foley, Ellis Wood, Abbeyfeale

Promoters prize to The Corner House Bar
Next Week’s Draw on: Monday Night 22nd December 2014
At Cryle View Bar

Jackpot €1,800

If you’re not in you can’t win!
Thank you for your continued support.

Presentation of Lotto Cheque to Friends and Family of Hannah O'Connor

3 -10 -12 – 15
2 MATCH 3’S @ €75 each
1. Emma Scannell, Dromtrasna
2. Siobhán Hassett, Ellis Wood

4 LUCKY DIPS, €25 each
1. Ronan Fitzgerald, Caherhayes
2. Alan Mcdonnell, C/o Ploughman Bar
3. Mary Barrett,C/o Teach Mhuire
4. Fr. Joe Foley, Abbeyfeale

Promoters prize to Garrett Harnett
Next Week’s Draw on: Monday Night 15th December 2014
At The Rugby Club

Jackpot €1,650

If you’re not in you can’t win!
Thank you for your continued support.

Abbeyfeale 7
Clanwilliam 20

The last time these two teams met, Clanwilliam taught Abbeyfeale a lesson by dominating in every facet of play, which resulted in them comfortably beating their counterparts. With their pride ceremoniously dented, an honest assessment by the Abbeyfeale camp, led to them beating Crosshaven, a morale boost leading into this crunch clash. However, it was a case of déjà vu again, with Clanwilliam defeating their hosts, but the score line somewhat flattered the visiting team as Abbey were very much in the reckoning throughout the contest.

Abbey started the game brightly and had the away side under pressure early on. A steal at the line-out from Abbey’s Daniel Ward allowed the pack to pick and drive for a number of phases. A crash up the middle from Michael Enright pushed the home side closer to the oppositions 22 and when Clan were penalised for a rucking offence, it gave Tom Hassett an opportunity to register the games first points. With a strong wind blowing directly in front of him, he uncharacteristically missed.

Clan’s defence was being tested early on in the game, with wave after wave of attacks from the home side. However, despite the phase count amounting, Abbey couldn’t seem to breach the Tipp sides line. With the pack keeping it tight, they tried to muscle their way over from around the fringes. With Clan’s defence holding firm, Abbey opted to go blind and almost found a breakthrough, only for the final pass to have been adjudged forward. Despite losing possession, the home side found themselves just five metres out from the oppositions try-line. A superb counter drive from Abbey forced Clan to concede a penalty. A subsequent powerful scrum resulted in another penalty and one could only wonder, how long more could the referee allow this to happen before awarding a penalty try. The home sides dominant scrum had the Tipp side under the gosh from early on. But despite this early dominance and exertion on Clans scrum, the referee failed to award a penalty try, even though it was evident to see that the home side were in a rather advantageous position with which to capitalise on. Another penalty soon followed, but Abbey opted for the posts this time, hoping to get a return from this early pressure. Hassett couldn’t find the target again though, and with this game poised to be close one, these misses were a worrying sight for the home side.

Abbey were enjoying much of the possession and territory stats at the beginning of this game, and found themselves camped down once again inside Clan’s 22 after finding touch following a penalty. A take from Daniel Ward and a well worked maul gave Abbey the ascendancy, edging them closer to the line, but the away side got a lifeline when the referee awarded them with a scrum, just shy of their own five metre line. With Abbey exerting pressure on the scrum, the Clan No.8 was forced to pick from the base and set it up. The home sides defence was alert to this and counter rucked at the subsequent ruck. A stray boot forced the ball to come loose, with Abbey’s Daniel Ward quick to regather to dive over for his sides first try of the day. Hassett duly converted to further consolidate the home sides early dominance.

Clan, second best throughout the first period, needed a response to settle into the game, and when they were awarded a somewhat speculative penalty soon after the home sides try, they converted to register their first points on the board. Clan’s attack, hugely impressive in their previous encounter, were looking to replicate the same feat again. Attacking from deep within their own half, they looked to test the home sides resolve in defence. But Abbeys sustained pressure in defence forced a turnover, when Clan knocked on. The introduction of Colm O’ Sullivan didn’t diminish the home sides scrum and after edging Clan back, a pick from No.8 John Browne at the base, allowed the Abbey man to break down the blindside. With quick, recycled ball, they went wide where it found O’ Sullivan who managed to suck in a number of defenders. Abbey were spreading Clan’s defence and when a gap opened, it was the final pass that just let them down. A penalty soon followed for the home side, when from a powerful scrum, they forced Clan backwards. Another miss from Hassett followed which didn’t help the Abbey man’s confidence. Impressive carries from John Browne, Liam O’ Connor and Adam Roche, tested the Clan defence as well as putting the home side in good positions. However, errors were beginning to creep in which allowed the opposition to counter attack. A knock-on just on half way gave the Tipp side a chance to attack. Following a pick from Clan’s No.5, close to the fringe of the ruck, he offloaded to his oncoming wing forward, who showed tremendous pace to evade two tacklers to race over for his sides second try.

Ill-discipline at the beginning of the second half saw both teams concede a number of penalties, with neither side being able to add points. Abbey’s Daniel Ward was proving to be a thorn in Clan’s side, stealing two notable line-outs when the Tipp side were on the home sides 22. The breakthrough came soon however, when a clever box kick from the Clan scrum half just bounced in front of Abbey’s full back, Philip Collins. The ball was regathered by the Clan fullback who had the presence of mind to offload to his oncoming out half, who duly raced over from close range to score. With the extras added, Clan were now beginning to open up a gap between the sides, something with which Abbey couldn’t afford to do. The home sides ill-discipline was continuing to mount which enabled the away side to get back down inside Abbey’s half. A missed penalty from Clan offered Abbey a reprieve but this was short-lived when moments later, Clan, following a productive counter attack, made their way inside the home sides 22. Quick ball was spread wide, and with Clan creating an extra man in the line, their No.4 dived over in the corner to score. The try was questionable, due in no small part to the fact that the Tipp man’s foot was adjudged to have been in touch. However, the referee still awarded the try to the home supporters dismay.

With the gap widening to twelve points Abbey needed a reply quickly. A line-out following a penalty allowed them to get within the away sides 22. However, the opportunity went begging when confusion from the resulting line-out allowed Clan to clear their lines.

With time ticking away, Abbey desperately fought to find a way through, but Clan’s defence was solid throughout. A kickable penalty was spurned by the away side when they were on the home sides 22. Sensing that Abbey were tiring, and with gaps opening up, they opted for the scrum. However, Abbey’s doggedness in defence kept the Tipp side at bay. Fearing that perhaps the game was beyond their reach, Abbey sought hard for a losing point. But with countless errors stacking up, the home sides chances of gaining a point were too beyond them, with Clan closing out the game. For Abbey, the sombre mood in the dressing room afterwards tells it’s own story. It was a case of déjà vu again with the Tipp side claiming the spoils, their 2nd win over the same opposition in 3 weeks.

Abbey’s overall performance can be best described as mixed. Their performance should be commended and their effort was there to see, but despite possessing the dominance in the scrums ,which resulted in numerous penalties, Hassett’s misfortunes with the boot prevented Abbey from establishing a foothold in the game. Impressive carries from John Browne, who again showed his worth, along with Liam O’Connor and others, were getting the home side into good positions but their over eagerness at times let them down when they forced an error on themselves. Abbey need to be more discipline in their attack and if they do so, they just might be able to convert these chances into scores. Abbey can be guilty of over using their forwards at times and yes, they are effective. But when do we give the back-line a chance?? We need to develop a more all rounded game plan and better decisions need to be made in terms of when to attack and how to attack. The Christmas break will provide the lads with a much needed break, as well as an opportunity to reassess the early parts of the season so far. But expect the lads to be fully charged for the second part of the season when things come down to the wire.

Team: 1) A. Roche, 2) L. O’Connor, 3) M. Morrissey, 4) D. Murphy, 5) B. Collins, 6) K. McCarthy, 7) Daniel Ward, 8) J. Browne, 9) T. Hassett, 10) M. Roche, 11) R. Browne, 12) M. Enright, 13) P. Daly, 14) D. Collins, 15) Philip Collins
Subs: 16) C. O’Sullivan, 17) E. O’Connell 18) L. McEnery, 19) S.Daly, 20) T. McCarthy


12 -16 -22 – 26
1 WINNER OF €5,100

4 LUCKY DIPS, €25 each
1. Buddy Barry, Caherhayes
2. Dio O’Connor, Knocknasna
3. Eamon Scannell, Dromtrasna
4. Jack Ryan, C/o Jack Ryan’s Bar

Promoters prize to Seána Sheehy
Next Week’s Draw on: Monday Night 8th December 2014
At Kevin Murphy’s Bar, Main Street.

Jackpot €1,500

If you’re not in you can’t win!
Thank you for your continued suppo

Abbeyfeale 34
Crosshaven 15

Abbeyfeale returned to winning ways after registering a four try bonus win over bottom side Crosshaven in Cork on Sunday last (30th Nov). After having been comprehensively beaten by Clanwilliam in their last outing on the road in the Challenge Shield, Abbey were looking to rectify the issues that contributed to that defeat, namely their defence, but also their attack, which was largely under used in that game against the Tipperary side.

Abbey arrived in Crosshaven shorn of a number of vital players through injury, but it would have been pleasing to both of the away sides coaches to witness the performance of the players stepping into the breaches.

With weather conditions being ideal for running rugby, it was the away side that struck first when Abbeys Tom Hassett slotted over a penalty, having just missed one moments earlier. Abbey, having been synonymous with poor starts during the course of their campaign so far, nullified this notion when they made vital metres towards Crosshaven’s line with some impressive carries. With the referee playing advantage, Abbey attacked the home sides line and breached their defence when winger Stevie Daly dived over for what appeared to be a genuine try. However, the official adjudged the ball to have gone forward and with Abbey having advantage, they opted for the posts with Hassett duly obliging for the games first score.

A further penalty from Hassett and one from Crosshaven had this game evenly poised, but with Abbey showing the greater urgency of the two sides, it was only a matter of time before they breached the home sides line. Abbey further compounded Crosshaven’s early woes, when they broke from within their own half to just inside the Cork sides 22. Quick, recycled ball was needed and when it came back, it was spread out wide. An inside pop pass to oncoming centre, Michael Enright saw the Abbeyfeale man make yards up the middle. A number of pick and drives ensued and with the home side desperately trying to repel Abbeys advances, it was only a matter of time before a try was scored. With Abbey having numbers out wide, the ball was again spread, where it found Kieran McCarthy, who cooly stepped inside to score his sides first try of the game. Hassett added the extras.

For Crosshaven, a response was quickly needed, but with a team lacking in confidence due to their lowly position in the league, you could be forgiven to assume that this game was fast becoming beyond their reach. When Abbey were awarded a penalty they opted for the line-out just shy of Crosshaven’s 22. A superb move straight from the training ground saw Liam O’Connor brush off two tackles to barge his way over for the games second try. Hassett duly obliged with the extras.

Abbey started the second half with the same intent they so purposely inflicted on the home side in the first. With play beginning to open up, Abbey attacked the Cork outfits line once again, when a superb line break from the impressive John Browne, saw the Abbey man make vital yards. With centre, David Collins in tow, Browne offloaded to send Collins in to register their third try and with the gap now widening to twenty four points, the game was very much in Abbeys control.

The away side pressed hard for that all elusive fourth try bonus point, and were duly rewarded for their efforts when after a number of pick and drives, a gap presented itself to Abbeys Tom Hassett, who made no mistake in sniping over to secure both the win and bonus point for the West Limerick outfit.

Crosshaven did manage to cross over twice late in the game to bring some respectability to the score line.

With Abbey recording this four try victory, it will provide them with a little breathing space down near the bottom end of the table. However, with teams capable of beating one another, it would be prudent to assume that Abbey may not be dragged into a relegation battle just yet. The win on Sunday will most certainly help, and with the positive attitude and application shown by the Limerick side today, it can only bare fruitful for the remainder of the season. Despite conceding two sloppy tries, Abbeys defence was a vast improvement from their previous outing at Clanwilliam. At scrum time, Abbey showed their dominance, operating more efficiently than their Cork counterparts, while the line-out performed well, even managing to steal a few of the oppositions throw-ins. The intensity that was so blatantly absent at Clanwilliam, was very much evident, and with the Tipperary side visiting the Grove Grounds on Sunday next (7th Dec), the lads can and should take confidence heading into that game.

Team: 1) A. Roche, 2) L. O’Connor, 3) M. Morrissey, 4) B. Collins, 5) D. Murphy, 6) K. McCarthy, 7) Philip Daly, 8) J. Browne, 9) T. Hassett, 10) M. Roche, 11) S. Daly, 12) M. Enright, 13) D. Collins, 14) R. Browne, 15) Philip Collins
Subs: 16) C. O’Sullivan, 17) G. Walsh,18) E. O’Connell 19) J. O’Mara

U16 who played Newcastlewest/Estuary on Saturday 8th November


11 -14 -18 – 30

4 LUCKY DIPS, €25 each

Promoters prize to MARIA HARNETT
Next Week’s Draw on: Monday Night 17TH November 2014

Jackpot €4,800

If you’re not in you can’t win!
Thank you for your continued support.

Abbeyfeale 16
Castleisland 13

The once revered American football coach, Vince Lombardi, once said that “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing”, a statement that was sure to circle the minds of all players involved on Sunday last at the Grove Grounds. Castleisland were entering the fray on the back of four consecutive wins in their league campaign and after having beaten Thurles the previous weekend, they were coming into this game with high expectations as well being tagged as favourites. However, with local derbys, you never know who’s going to win, but one thing you do know for sure though, is that it’ll be one hell of a battle.

Abbey played up in the first half and with a strong breeze behind them they were looking to take advantage of it in order to get points on the board. But as has been the case in so many matches this year, Abbey started off poorly when they knocked on directly from the kick off. With ‘Island possessing a big pack, Abbey knew they needed to show some dominance from the beginning. From the scrum ‘Island No. 8 picked from the base and worked his way down the blindside. With pressure mounting up, Abbey were forced to concede a penalty just shy of their own ten metre line. In what was a kickable position, ‘Island opted for the corner instead and ended up on Abbeys five metre line. Stern defence from the home side kept ‘Island at bay, but after a number of pick and drives, Abbey again were penalised for not releasing. Again, ‘Island eschewed the opportunity for three points and instead sought touch. But their decision was to pay dividends when from a well worked line-out, the ball was popped down from the jumper to his wing forward looping around, who in turn offloaded to his hooker who broke through the tackle of Kieran McCarthy to dive over for the games first score. It was a dubious decision to say the least as the ‘Island hooker was adjudged to have his foot in touch. However, the referee disagreed, much to the dismay of the home sides support.

Abbey were somewhat rattled from this early pressure from Castleisland, but they slowly began to gain parity in the game. After a solid take from a high ball, Abbey full back, Philip Collins took it into contact, but with Castleisland rushing up they were penalised for being offside. With points on offer and the wind with them, Tom Hassett opted for the posts but the attempt went begging. Abbey were still in ‘Islands half and from the 22 metre drop out, they attacked again. They worked their way out wide and were making steady ground until a knock on stopped their progress. Abbeys scrum was proving to be an asset, operating more efficiently than the performance suggested against Thurles earlier in the campaign. With ‘Islands scrum being put under pressure, their No. 8 picked from the base, however, a superb tackle from John Browne resulted in Abbey being awarded a penalty just inside the away sides 22. Having missed one just moments earlier, Abbey opted for the corner this time and were looking to showcase their maul. A crooked throw in spurned any opportunity for the Fealesiders, but they were to be given a lifeline when from the resulting scrum, the away side conceded a penalty for hands in the ruck. After having enjoyed much of the territory in the opening minutes of the game, they needed to convert this into points. Abbeys goal kicker, Tom Hassett duly obliged and got Abbeys first points of the game.

Castleisland pressed ahead from the restart, attacking Abbeys half at will with a number of drives, but a loose ball which was hacked on by Michael Roche had the ‘Island defence scampering back. However, ‘Island were to concede a penalty, when after a great tackle from Abbey centre John Murphy, the away side were penalised for holding onto the ball. With Abbey opting for the line-out, they mauled their way closer to the visitors line but ‘Islands defence remained stern. A penalty soon followed for the home side and sensing that ‘Islands line could be breached, they again opted for the corner. However, ‘Island were unnerved by this and when the home side lost the resulting throw in, the away side cleared their lines. Abbey still remained in the oppositions half but when the ball was spread wide, they tried to force the play too much resulting in a knock on. With the referee playing advantage ‘Island regathered the loose ball and made their way to the half way line before conceding a needless penalty. When the resulting kick for the corner went out on the full, the home side were to be dealt with a further blow with the withdrawal of the stoic Liam McEnery.

Castleislands indiscipline was proving costly in terms of territory, with Abbey capitalising to get themselves inside the visitors half. A great take from Philip Daly at the line-out and a resulting maul, pushed Abbey closer. With out half Michael Roche looking for quick ball, he sensed that something was on. Having broke through the first tackle, he offloaded to Michael Enright who just couldn’t release the ball on time, before being tackled. With Abbey having numbers out wide, it was an opportunity lost in an otherwise close knit game.

‘Island were looking to get back into Abbeys half, having been camped inside their own half for much of the first period. A penalty saw them get over half way and from a well worked line-out, they got over the gain-line with ease. With Abbeys backline being stretched, they spread the ball wide where they had numbers. Abbeys defence desperately tracked across but a high tackle from John Browne resulted in Castleisland being awarded a penalty. With ‘Island now on the ascendancy, they opted for the line-out option just on Abbeys five metre line. A further penalty followed and from the resulting line-out, ‘Island mauled their way over for their second try of the day.

From the restart, a thunderous hit from Kieran McCarthy had ‘Island peddling back. The away side desperately cleared, but a fantastic counter attack from the impressive Philip Collins, got Abbey on the front foot. However, the final pass let him down. ‘Island were trying any means possible of breaching Abbeys half and were testing the home sides back three with high kicks. This option was proving to be futile though with Abbey full back Philip Collins coming to the forefront with a number of takes. With Collins spotting a gap in behind the visitors defence, he put through a majestic kick to peg ‘Island back into their 22. A poor clearance followed after some pressure from Abbey winger Robert Browne. Abbeys maul was impressing and having gained a number of metres, Castleisland were penalised for coming in from the side. With a seven point gap between the two sides, Abbey opted for the points to try and claw their way back. However, Hassetts attempt just shaded right and wide. But he was to make amends just moments later, when from the restart, a wicked bounce from a Robert Browne kick through caused all sorts of problems for the ‘Island full back. With Abbey piling on numbers at the ruck, ‘Island conceded a penalty directly in front of their posts. Hassett atoned for his earlier miss to claw Abbey back to within four points.

With half time fast approaching, ‘Island made their way back down field again and were awarded a penalty after a scrum infringement. The away sides out half eschewed the opportunity to kick for goal in favour of setting up a line-out on the Abbey five-metre line. Having scored an impressive try at the beginning of the game through a well worked line-out, ‘Island almost replicated that score only for their effort to be thwarted by an Abbey knock on.

With Castleisland holding a slender four point lead heading into half time, Abbey knew that the next score could prove vital. With their scrum proving to be solid, it was giving the lads a platform to attack the away sides defence. However, indiscipline and poor execution at the line-out were having a detrimental effect on Abbeys game plan.

Stern words at half time were needed for Abbeyfeale and it looked like it ignited them when they began impressively at the beginning of the second half. With ‘Island being penalised for coming in from the side, Abbey sought touch just over the half way line. A loose ball from the resulting line-out was gathered by Tom Hassett who looked to spread the ball, where he found Michael Roche. Roche, spotting a gap, jinked his way through and with Abbey now on the ascendancy, they worked their way through a number of phases. From the base of a ruck, Abbey scrum half, Tom Hassett spotted a slight gap and picked to make a clear break through. Hassett did superbly to fend off one tackle and with players in support, he was able to set up a ruck again. With Abbey piling on numbers and with ‘Island desperately trying to force a turnover, the referee awarded a penalty to the home side when an ‘Island player was adjudged to have not released the player. Hassett went for the kick at goal, but with his effort ricocheting off the upright, John Murphy chased and regathered the rebound. A number of pick and drives ensued from the home side but their efforts were frustrated with a knock on just metres from the opposition try-line.

With ‘Island clearing their lines, Abbey still found themselves camped inside the oppositions half. They again looked to attack, but with the home sides line-out not functioning well at times throughout the game, it was proving to be a bit problematic. A crooked throw in gave the away side a scrum, but having failed to find touch, Abbey winger David Ward counter attacked, slipping through three tackles before offloading to Michael Enright, who crashed up the middle to within metres of the line. Quick ball was needed but ‘Island were slowing it down, allowing their defence to make it back into position. Abbey eventually spread the ball wide and almost made the breakthrough, but with the ‘Island defence holding firm, the home side was finding it difficult to find a way through. Michael Roche changed the direction of play and when the ball was spread from left to right, Abbey seemed to have numbers. However, a poor floating pass from Roche allowed the Castleisland defender to rush up, and when John Browne gathered the loose pass, he was instantly tackled. Abbey were awarded a scrum when the referee adjudged the ‘Island defender to have knocked on the ball, much to the anger of their bench. With Abbey just metres away from the oppositions try-line and with their scrum functioning well, it gave the home side an ideal platform with which to attack. John Browne picked from the base and worked his way down the blindside before offloading to Tom Hassett, who drew in one defender before he too offloaded to Robert Browne. Browne managed to gain yards despite having little or no room to maneuverer. Abbey kept it tight with Kieran McCarthy leading by example, driving at the heart of the oppositions defence. With the ball being recycled, quick ball from Hassett found Michael Roche outside ,who sidestepped magnificently to dart over for Abbeys first try of the game. With Hassett adding on the extras, Abbey now held a three point lead with a 13-10 score line.

There was little time to catch breath with an immediate ‘Island riposte; having worked their way up field, ‘Island found themselves within five metres of Abbeys line. From a line-out the away side set up a maul but with Abbeys defence being stubborn, ‘Island were forced to spread the ball wide. Abbey were penalised just under their posts for not rolling away and with John Murphy being sin binned for the offence, Abbey were now down to fourteen players. The visitors slotted over the kick to draw the sides level after twenty minutes of the second half.

But tensions soon boiled over when a scuffle erupted between both sets of players and when it came to an end, the referee sin binned Abbeys Gerard Walsh while brandishing a red card for the Castleisland hooker.

Abbey made their way inside ‘Islands half, with Michael Enright powering his way through to set up a ruck inside ‘Islands five metre line. A penalty soon followed for the home side and with three points on offer, Tom Hassett duly obliged to put Abbey back in the lead.

But Abbeys good work almost came undone, when direct from the restart, they conceded a penalty for holding on. Castleisland, having passed up on numerous kicking chances throughout the game, opted for the posts this time, but with pressure building, the kick just went left and wide.

Abbeys indiscipline was proving costly in terms of territory, with their penalty count mounting. With this in mind, ‘Island made their way inside the home sides half, when their winger broke through the middle to come within metres of the home sides line. A superb tackle from John Murphy prevented a possible score and with the referee penalising ‘Island for punching, and subsequently sin binning a player, Abbey survived the onslaught.

Abbeys defence was defiant in it’s resistance and with the clock ticking away, they needed to maintain this facet of their play. ‘Island never gave up though and attacked with every opportunity. However, Abbeys doggedness in defence repelled their advances and when Abbey forced ‘Island into an error, it was left for Tom Hassett to kick the ball out to record a moral boosting victory.

Despite securing a fantastic scalp over one of the top teams, the lads will know that there are certain areas to work on. The scrum functioned well along with their defence but a main area of concern would have been the line-out and the coaches would not have been happy with the home sides penalty count which pushed into double figures. Nevertheless though, this is a morale boosting victory and the lads effort must be commended. Castleisland however, will rue some big calls in the aftermath of this match, having passed up on a number of kickable penalties throughout the game. Abbey will now look to get a winning run under their belt when they face Clanwilliam next in quarter final of the Challenge Shield. But, in the words of Lombardi, “Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” Let’s just hope this habit can’t be kicked for a while.

Team: 1) A. Roche, 2) K. McCarthy, 3) M. Morrissey, 4) G. Walsh, 5) B. Collins, 6) L. McEnery, 7) Philip Daly, 8) J. Browne, 9) T. Hassett, 10) M. Roche, 11) R. Browne, 12) M. Enright, 13) J. Murphy, 14) D. Collins, 15) Philip Collins
Subs: 16) L. O’Connor, 17) T. McCarthy,18) D. Murphy, 19) S. Daly, 20) David Ward

Abbeyfeale 2nd XV…20
Clanwilliam 2nd XV…14

It was 6th against 8th in the next round of Gleeson League fixtures when Abbey hosted Tipperary side, Clanwilliam at the Grove on Saturday last (8th Nov). Having been agonisingly defeated against a much fancied Newcastle West outfit in their previous outing, the lads were looking to bounce back with fashion and claim a scalp against a Tipp side who were also slowly finding their feet in this league campaign.

Like their 1st XV counterparts in recent games, the 2nd XV started poorly when they conceded a needless penalty directly from the kick off. With Clan opting for the corner, they were showing their intent, with their game plan very much focusing on attacking at every opportunity. Despite working their way through a number of phases, Abbey were defending well and were awarded a penalty when Clan were penalised for holding onto the ball.

But Clan were to make amends just shortly afterwards when Abbeyfeale were penalised for a rucking offence. They again opted for the corner and mauled their way closer to the line. When the ball was spread, the Clan out half gave it to his inside centre who in turn gave a delightfully deft pass to his oncoming centre partner, who took a great line to run unopposed under the posts to register the first points of the day.

Abbey, reeling from this early setback, needing a response and they couldn’t believe their luck, when straight from the restart Clan knocked on just short of their 22. This gave Abbey a platform to attack and with the home side possessing a potent backline, nothing less than a score would suffice. A solid scrum from Abbey followed and when the ball was spread to Cormac Roche, he found Donagh Kelly, who crashed up the middle, getting over the gainline, before offloading out of the tackle to his centre partner, James O’Mara, who in turn found the mercurial Cormac Roche looping around to finish off the move in style for Abbeys first try.

Abbey were looking to continue playing an expansive game, one which proved to be successful against NCW. When Abbey were awarded a penalty after Clan pulled down a maul, Roche opted for the corner, and with Craig Smith impressive at the line-out, the lads sensed a scoring opportunity. Quick ball was spread wide and when it found debutant Tom McCarthy, he placed a neat kick through to force Clan to scamper back. From the resultant line-out, and after numerous warnings from the referee to use it, the Tipp side were penalised. But Abbey coughed up the opportunity due to indiscipline at the scrum, much to the disgust of their coach.

The tempo of the game was beginning to ebb and flow with both sides trying desperately to find a way through, but with the rain now beginning to force it’s way down, mistakes and indiscipline were creeping in on both sides.

Abbey finally made the breakthrough when the ball was spread wide to Paul Murphy who placed a neat kick through, to put Clan under pressure in their own 22. The Tipp side desperately cleared their lines, however, having not found touch, Tom McCarthy counter attacked before passing to Donagh Kelly. Kelly fended off a couple of would-be tacklers before he in turn passed a deft offload inside to Cormac Roche, whose support line was fantastic, to find himself crashing over for a wonderful worked try, to give the home side a 12-7 lead just before half time.

Abbey started the second half in bright fashion when Dean Smith gathered a loose ball following a Clan knock on. With the ball being spread wide by Smith, it found the enigmatic Cormac Roche who showcased his magical feet by sidestepping a number of Clan defenders before passing outside to the speedy Gavin Dillion, who made no mistake by racing unopposed for a try to extend the home sides lead.

Abbey weren’t letting their foot off the accelerator, when from the restart, they made massive inroads up the field. Gavin Dillion, not long on the field, was causing problems for the away sides defence, opening them up with ease. Despite, having this dominance, Abbey needed points to keep the score board ticking over, and when they were awarded a penalty just shy of the half way, Roche duly kicked it to give Abbey a somewhat commanding lead.

Clan were reeling from these early scores and if they had any chance of clawing their way back into the game, they needed to throw everything at Abbey. They did so by piling pressure on the home side with numerous and effective pick and drives. They continued to work through phases, with Abbeys defence desperately defending. The ball was spread wide, and with Clan having numbers out wide, it was a case of who would score it. However, Abbeys never-say-die attitude came to the fore, when Kelly and James O’Mara rushed up in defence forcing the Clan player into making a forward pass, with only the line in sight. The Tipp side were making silly errors when they found themselves in good scoring areas, however, they still continued to battle bravely to get themselves back into the game.

They were duly rewarded for their efforts when, having found their way inside Abbeys half, they drove their way closer to the home sides line. The pressure was telling and when the ball was picked from the ruck, poor defending allowed Clan to score under the posts to narrow the gap to just six points between the teams. Abbey, guilty of taking their foot off the accelerator, needed to control the game better and try and close it out by pegging balls into the corner. However, Clan seemed to be instilled with a new sense of confidence after their try scoring exploits and weren’t letting Abbey have it all their own way.

The home side were beginning to tire but they were still holding on and despite wave after wave of attacks from the visiting side, the homes sides defence stood up. But Abbeys indiscipline was proving costly in terms of territory. With penalties going in favour of the away side, it allowed them to edge closer to Abbeys line. With the clock edging closer to full time, Clan desperately sought a breakthrough and almost did, through a number of crash balls, but the chance went begging when they agonisingly knocked on just short of Abbeys line. The home side were living dangerously but with time almost up and their defence bravely holding out, they needed some bit of luck to finish the game. With the last play of the game, Clan were awarded a scrum inside Abbeys 22 to set up a tense finale. However, the Tipp sides efforts were thwarted when they knocked on to give Abbey the win on the day and record their second victory in the league.

Despite recording a victory here, a main worry for coach JD Harnett will be how tired his players looked towards the end of the game. This played a contributing factor against Newcastle West as well, and although the lads held out Clan, they could be severely punished against stronger opposition if they don’t improve their fitness. With that be said though, the lads do deserve praise with Craig Smith being impressive both in the line-out and in the loose. Abbeys line-out and scrum were solid, and with Abbey playing a more expansive game plan they caused numerous problems for Clan’s defence. Liam O’Connor showed how highly he’s regarded by the coaching staff with an impressive ball carrying display while the mercurial Cormac Roche continues to impress and one could only wonder how long more before he’s promoted to the 1st XV.

1) Danny Hartnett, 2) W. Cremin, 3) W. Walsh, 4) D. G. Harnett, 5) C. Broderick,6) C. Smith, 7) D. Smith, 8) L. O’Connor, 9) C. Hassett, 10) C. Roche, 11) Patrick Murphy, 12) D. Kelly, 13) J. O’Mara, 14) Paul Murphy, 15) T. McCarthy. Subs-G. Dillion.

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