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Failing to close out the game proves costly for Newcastle West

By Tim Mulcahy
MJL1, Clonmel 24, Newcastle West 19:
DESPITE a perfect kicking day for Newcastle West from their captain Sean Herlihy it was not enough to win the spoils in Clonmel yesterday. For the uninitiated, who have not had the opportunity to see a first division league game, I advise you to make your way to one in the near future.
This was played with a high skill level by both sides and an intensity that would be similar to anything seen in Thomond Park. Thank you to John Liston, his coaches and parents who brought the Under 9s to witness this game. There support is much appreciated.
Clonmel opened the scoring with a try on two minutes by spreading the ball wide at the first available opportunity and touching down in the right corner for an unconverted score. It was all the home side in the first ten minutes and they were rewarded for their pressure with a converted penalty to take the score to 8-0 and it looked like the visitors were still on the bus.
All this changed from then on and NCW upped the ante and started to use their young backline. A clever kick through by Ed Powell saw Iain Corbett gather and touch down with Herlihy adding the conversion to make it 7-10.The visitors were a different team now to what they were in those opening ten minutes and constant pressure up front gave them a penalty which Herlihy again converted in the fifteenth minute to give the lead to NCW 8-10.
Clonmel scored in the 31st minute and made it 11-10. As can be seen from the scoring sequence, both teams were conceding penalties and Herlihy made it 11-13 to the visitors four minutes later. Clonmel added two more penalties before the break to leave the half time score at 17-13.
Herlihy was again on target early in the second half with a huge penalty from the half way line to reduce the lead to 17-16.
The pressure from the visiting side was being rewarded and they were held up over the line after great work by the pack lead bravely by James Kelly and Kenneth Browne. Another penalty for Herlihy and the visitors now lead with thirteen minutes on the clock by 17-19.
Having been to Clonmel on a number of occasions, the need to close out the game at this venue can be difficult and the home side came in to the ‘Blacks’ 22 for only the second time in the half and got a converted try to take the score to 24-19.There were five minutes extra played and try as they may the the West could not cross the whitewash. A tough day at the office for players and supporters, but a great performance and at least a losing bonus point. I don’t tend to mention individual performances too often but Sean Herlihy’s kicking on the day was impeccable with 5/5 from different distances and angles.
The 1st XV play Abbeyfeale in the Challenge Cup away on Saturday 10th in Abbeyfeale at 2 pm. Note Saturday and early kick-off as it is a cup game.
Scores, Iain Corbett Try, Sean Herlihy 1 conversion,4 Penalties
Squad; Shane Magner, Kenneth Browne, Declan Moloney, Jason Woulfe, Dave Foley, Keelan Headd, James Kelly, Martin Mullane, Sean Herlihy, capt., Tommy Kelleher Jnr, Ed Powell, Sean Murphy, Michael Bourke, Sean Ivess, Damián Kelly, Iain Corbett, Donal O Sullivan, Stephen Kelly, John Healy, Rossa Dooley, Taliolega Tuaau, Ger Flaherty, Sean Corbett, Aaron O Brien, Ben Geary, Gerald Griffin.

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