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Alan ‘O’ steals the show as Newcastle West march on in MJL1

By TIM MULCAHY

MJL1: Clonakilty 20, Newcastle West 21
‘WILL I travel that far?’ is often the question when you are heading for West Cork but I’m very happy that I did last Sunday. With most of the usual suspects on board the weather was fine and the company was good.
This game had an added factor to it, as long serving ex-Newcastle West prop Shane Magner is now playing with Clonakilty having moved there earlier in the year. It is not too often that a prop gets the by-line in a report, but Man of the Match , Alan O Riordan turned in an excellent performance helping the team to another win on the road.
The game kicked off at 2.30pm but it seemed like the visitors had not arrived yet as they were struggling in the scrums and lineouts and were down 10-0 after ten minutes having conceded a converted try and a penalty. You don’t win a match in the first ten minutes but the visitors were being hit by a juggernaut and there were worried faces amongst the travelling support.
NCW began to come more into the game and the service from the men up front improved significantly but it would be the 19th minute before they registered their first score from the boot of Sean Herlihy to make it 10-3. Clonakilty, again applying pressure and using their running game, pushed up the field and after a harsh penalty they brought the game to 13-3.
Sometimes the game has to be grabbed by the neck and both forwards and backs upped the ante, Darragh Fox used his outside backs and they moved the ball through fast hands getting into the ‘Clon’ half for only the second time. Through twenty two phases they moved the ball left and right maintaining great control and eventually Brian O Sullivan got over and Sean Herlihy added the conversion. Now at 13-10 the tide was beginning to turn in the visitors’ favour and they levelled the game on the stroke of half time 13-13.
The match was poised for a pulsating second half after a very entertaining opening 40 minutes. However it did not live up to the standard of the opening half and it became very much a stop/start game. The backline threatened on a number of occasions with great lines being run by Ted and Sean. Davy Foley gave eighty minutes and the veteran continues to defy the years on the clock.
Conor Nash one of our youngest players also stepped up to the mark on Sunday when he got a late call up.
The visitors crossed the whitewash in the sixteenth min after a well-rehearsed move saw flying winger Sean Ivess run the touchline and touch down in the corner.13-18. The game was on a knife-edge but the home side were hanging in and conceding penalties, one of which Herlihy converted from the halfway line to leave Clonakilty now requiring two scores. The visitors started to play a more expansive game in search for two more tries but ‘Clon’ took advantage and an interception brought the game from the home sides five metre line all the way to fifteen metres from the NCW line. A brilliant chase back and tackle by Michael Bourke saved a certain try.
Clonakilty got a converted try in injury time and what we all thought was the final act of the game. However there was a restart and a few more heart-stopping minutes before he blew it up. Thank you again to our die-hard supporters who made the long trip to West Cork.
Score’s. Sean Herlihy 3 Penalty’s, 1 Conversion, Sean Ivess Try, Brian O Sullivan Try.
Squad; John Walsh, Eoin O’Halloran, Allan O Riordan, Gerald Griffin, Aidan Quinlivan, Sean Corbett, Keelan Headd , Dave Foley, Sean Herlihy, Ted Walters, Sean Neville, Daniel Normoyle, Sean Murphy , Michael Burke, Cormac Nash, Gavin Reidy, Declan Moloney ,Stephen Lyons, Dayle Danaher, Kenneth Browne, Liam Tierney, Brian O Sullivan. Niall Kelleher, Tommy Kelleher, James Kelly, Evan Donovan, Conor Nash.

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