Munster U-16 League, Conference 2, Killarney v Tralee/Listowel, 2/11/19, played at Aghadoe.
Killarney 15 Tralee/Listowel 12
Report by Stephen O'Brien, photo Ccourtesy of Mary McCarthy
Following last weeks exploits away to Killorglin, Killarney sought to build momentum at home to a combined Tralee/Listowel team with a large panel and a clear size advantage on the day. Miserably wet conditions awaited but the recent work on the pitch at was solid underfoot with no water accumulating, providing as good a surface could be played on anywhere in such conditions. The visitors started with a long kick-off sending Killarney to their own ’22, putting the onus on them to find their way out in poor handling conditions. It didn’t faze them though as possession was provided of a scrum for the backs and Dara Looney lit the afterburner to scorch the defence and score from just inside the Tralee/Listowel half off first phase possession, but conditions made the conversion a tough ask.
Killarney held a 5-0 lead and at every opportunity sought to attack knowing they had the pace and skill to beat the defence and there were some good chances created however such wet and greasy conditions made execution very challenging with knock-ons and turnovers coming in the tackle to thwart many attempts to lift the siege. In a contrast of playing styles, Tralee/Listowel kept a tight grip on possession and territory perhaps wary of the damage that could be inflicted by Killarney’s pacey backline on a turnover. Pinning Killarney in their own half of the pitch for most of the first half, testing Killarney’s defence relentlessly with their size advantage and having forced a penalty from a maul created at a lineout they won in the corner, the forward pack delivered in the rain as Tralee/Listowel crossed the whitewash for a classic forwards driven score and added the conversion to take a 7-5 lead at half time.
Tralee/Listowel came out of the blocks a bit sharper in the early stages of the second half and with conditions clearing up they stuck to the plan that had them leading at the break with their back row bulk again paid dividends to get them over the line from a quick-tap penalty from 5 metres. Killarney now trailed 12-5 at home with work to do but drier conditions now suited the Killarney attacking backline who attacked fearlessly off scrum possession inside their own half, executing a planned move called by the players themselves, displaying confidence in their own and each other’s ability and put the Tralee backline under pressure to react fast to a well-placed kick to space in order to snuff out the danger but hesitated and were swarmed by the advancing black & red troops bearing down on the ‘22 and possession was recovered leading to a fine team-score finished by Cormac Rowe with a brilliant conversion from Dara Looney levelling the match.
While their opposition held a size/weight advantage in a tight game that did pay dividends, there was some superb tackling a defensive work from Killarney with some excellent & brave tackles on physically bigger opponents with Chris Doody, Darragh McCormick and Marco Caruz making brave and composed defensive physical commitments at important moments in what proved to be a tough outing. With the game in the melting pot as the clock ticked down neither team wilted and a tense finish ensued as both teams eyed up the win but it was Killarney who made the telling attacks taking advantage of the improved conditions & gained a foothold in Tralee/Listowel territory and gained a penalty at a kickable range.
Cool heads on were show from Killarney recognising the opportunity and elected to kick at goal, with Dara looney again showing composure to put Killarney back in the lead which they managed to defend for the remaining couple of minutes before turning over possession to close out the game. Final Score Killarney 15, Tralee/Listowel 12 Great to see such vocal support on such cold & wet day. Hopefully we’ll see ye all and more again for the next game against Abbeyfeale in 2 weeks at home again in Aghadoe.
Team: Pierce Slattery, Marco Caruz, Dara Looney, Caelan Sheehan, Callum O’Grady, Harry Kelly (Captain), Hugh O’Malley, Chris Doody, Cengizhan Koyn, Mike O’Donogue, Jer McCarthy, Shane McAllister, Darragh McCormick, Darren Ryan, Cormac Rowe. Subs; Stephen Dalton, Oliver Pilch, Sean Dineen, Ben Gaughran, Fin Kennelly, Evan Keogh, Cameron Rowe.