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It’s a battle at the top as Kilfeacle jump into leadership

(Pictured, Abbeyfeale who continue their good run in division one. Pic JOE BUCKLEY)

By Aidan Corr
THE Bandon v Newcastle West game was called off on Sunday but otherwise there was a full fixture list completed in all three Munster Junior League competitions this week-end. Kilfeackle return to the top of the table. They had to dig deep to overcome a spirited Galbally but they failed to get the bonus point try. They are now three points ahead of Newcastle West, both sides having played nine games. The Newcastle v Bandon game fixed for the Cork venue did not take place. In other games Thomond had a win over Crosshaven, Richmond had a bonus point victory over Skibbereen, Abbefeale had a good away bonus point win over Waterpark and in division two St Mary’s were beaten by Kanturk. In other games Clanwilliam 27, St Senan’s 6; Clonakilty 14, Mallow 17.
MJL 1, Thomond 26, Crosshaven 14: Played on Saturday night in Liam Fitzgerald Park, Thomond had a well-earned bonus point victory over their Cork visitors. They got an early shock when on their first incursion into home territory, Crosshaven worked a clever try off a close in scrum that gave them a 7-0 lead with only five minutes played. The home side settled well after that set-back and a break by Ger Finucane set up a try for Adam Guerin who also added the conversion to level the tie at 7-7.
Before the break Thomond got their noses in front. A brilliant lineout steal put Crosshaven on the back foot, Warren Kelly made the hard yards and Evan O’Connor got over for a well-taken try that put his side 12-7 in front. The home side got the perfect start to the second half. Ger Finucane showed his football skills by flicking a loose ball off the turf and into his hands and he ran clear for Thomond’s third try, converted by Adam Guerin but almost immediately Crosshaven cut the deficit to five points again, when they were awarded a penalty try. Thomond’s Leonard Slattery shown yellow and his side had to see out the rest of the game with 14.
Any hopes of a dramatic comeback by the visitors was dashed before the finish, Luke Costelloe scoring his side’s fourth bonus point try and Adam Guerin kicking a conversion and a late penalty to put Thomond into third position in the league table.
MJL1, Richmond 23, Skibbereen 12: They had to wait until the 78th minute to get the bonus point, but Richmond will be happy with this performance at the Canal Bank on Sunday. Shane Halpin got the home side off to a good start with a try after three minutes but it was 5-7 on 15 minutes when Skibbereen got in for a converted try. There was very little between the sides from there to the break, the only score a Brian Mullins penalty giving Richmond an 8-7 lead two minutes before the break.
‘Skib’ scored three minutes after the restart, their unconverted try giving them an 8-12 lead but that was to be their last score of the day. Richmond lifted their game and on 60 minutes Eoin Hanley got over to put his side 13-12 ahead. A Sean Considine try pushed the lead to 18-12 and with two minutes remaining, Jeff McNamara earned his side a winning bonus point when he ran in the final score of a very enjoyable game. Next up for Richmond is a home game against Galbally next Saturday.
Waterpark 17, Abbeyfeale 22: Inspired by their in-form out-half Derry O’Connor, Abbeyfeale recorded their fifth win of the campaign with this hard-earned away victory. Not for the first time this season, O’Connor’s contribution was significant and his brace of tries helped to reap a winning bonus point.
‘Feale have settled in well in this top division and since their promotion a couple of seasons back, they have shown that they have the talent in the squad to compete with the best at this level. A try by John Browne and a fourth from Colm O’Sullivan shortened the journey home while Derry O’Connor also added a conversion to his scoring tally.
Kilfeackle and District 19, Galbally 16: The Limerick side may be third last in the table but they certainly gave the league leaders a fright on their own patch. The losing bonus point could be crucial for Galbally who had their scores from Brendan Childs a try and a conversion and three penalties from the boot of John Kearns. The result puts Galbally on 11 points, four clear of second last Skibbereen and nine ahead of bottom side St Senan’s.
MJL2, Kanturk 13, St Mary’s 8: With the Kanturk pitch used for another fixture the previous day, conditions for this division two clash were described as ‘atrocious’. Despite that, both sides served up a great game of rugby with the home side shading it to maintain their bid for promotion. It was 10-8 to the home side at the break, St Mary’s scores coming from a try by Glen Johnson who finished off a flowing move and a penalty by ace kicker Jude Marlo Pendejito. The second half was a torrid affair and while Kanturk increased their lead with a penalty, the ‘Saints’ were camped close to their opponents’ line for long periods before the finish but just could not get that important try to level the tie.
The result sees Kanturk remain second in the table, two points behind leaders Old Christians while St Mary’s losing bonus points puts them in sixth spot with nine games played.

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