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Newcastle West overcome gritty Richmond to maintain their challenge

(Richmond supporter Kieran O’Hanlon pictured at yesterday’s local derby)

By Aidan Corr

NEWCASTLE West got their league challenge back on track at a well-attended Richmond Park today but they had to dig deep in a thrilling second half to edge out their city rivals by just two points. Missed chances proved to be Richmond’s downfall but their losing bonus point keeps them within reach of a top four place. With Kilfeacle beating Crosshaven 21-7 over the week-end, the West remain in second place in the MJL1.

Thomond maintained their challenge with an impressive victory over visitors to Liam Fitzgerald Park St Senan’s. The royal blues ran in seven tries with the bonus point secured by half time. Abbeyfeale lost away to Bandon while Galbally fell back in the table when they were beaten by Mallow 35-6. In MJL2 St Mary’s had a fine victory over visitors Ballincollig in Grove Island, a victory that keeps sets up another home fixture next Sunday when Muskerry come visiting.

MJL1, Richmond 10, Newcastle West 12: A big crowd at Richmond Park served up a hard-fought 80 minutes of rugby. The home side were first to score when after good work by the pack, they were awarded a penalty and Brian Mullins slotted over for a 3-0 lead. Richmond had to defend for long periods after that, their defence holding out courageously until 30 minutes when Newcastle West went ahead with an unconverted try at the pavilion end. Richmond struggled to exit after turning over the ball close to their own line and when Newcastle West swept the ball wide, left wing Michael Bourke got over near the corner. Sean Herlihy missed the difficult conversion.

The game entered a stop/start phase after that and although the home side failed to add to their tally before the break, indications were that they could well cause an upset in the second half. There was very little between the two sides in an exciting second half. Both sides scored tries, James Kelly getting what proved to be the winning score for Newcastle West while Richmond were awarded a penalty try for a high tackle on Shane Halpin close to the try line.

Bandon 19, Abbeyfeale 12: The Limerick side were very disappointed with this result and they regretted a few missed chances and the conceding of what proved to be the winning try. Three first half penalties from ace kicker Derry O’Connor had the Feale fans in good spirits at the break as their side led 9-6.  Bandon upped the pressure as the second half got underway and despite Derry O’Connor’s brace of penalties the Cork side took the four points to go level with their opponents in the league table.

Thomond 49, St Senan’s 21: With the winning bonus point secured before the short whistle, Thomond put on a sparkling second half by running in a further three touchdowns. A Ger Finucane try on 20 minutes eased the anxieties of the home fans with Adam Guerin converting the first of his seven successful attempts from the tee. Two Shane Airey penalties pulled St Senan’s back into the game at 7-6 but when Richie Ryan broke through the middle and off-loaded to Jordan O’Donnell the home side were 14-6 in front. Luke Costelloe scored try number three for Thomond to make it 21-6, Shane Airey kicked a penalty for the Shannon Town side to reduce the lead to 21-9 and before the break a try for each side, Ger Finucane getting the home side’s five pointer, gave Thomond a 28-16 lead.

St Senan’s reduced the lead in the second half with an unconverted try but with the home side playing some highly entertaining running rugby, further scores from Corey Brown after a fine break by David O’Halloran; a spectacular score from Luke Costelloe and a final try from Jordan O’Donnell gave Thomond an easy victory.

Mallow 35, Galbally 6: There was joy for the county side on their visit to Mallow and this result sees Galbally rooted at the wrong end of the table.

MJL2, St Mary’s 17, Ballincollig 12: Another win for St Mary’s but there was some disappointment when after getting two first half tries, they failed to add more points in the second period which would have given them a welcome bonus point.

“We’re happy with the win but with teams above us getting a winning bonus point we still have some ground to make up in this league,” the ‘Saints’ Christopher McNamara told us. “We are struggling to get our strongest side out this season but hopefully now we can get a good result next Sunday when Muskerry visit us.”

St Mary’s were leading 17-5 at half time thanks to a penalty try, a touchdown by Andy McKenzie and a conversion and a penalty by Jude Marlow Pendejito. Ballincollig put in a decent shift in the second half and their reward was a converted try which gave them a losing bonus point.

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