Clondalkin 20-10 Newbridge
Towns Cup Round 2
Sunday 13th March
Clondakin’s Men 1st XV headed to Newbridge on Sunday with wind in their sails after a last ditch win in Round 1 at home to Portlaois.
Simon King got Clondalkin out of trouble on that occasion with the First’s last ever try in Gordon Park to get Clon into the pot for Round 2.
Head Coach Dave Plummer has welcomed back a few faces to his panel in recent weeks with Neil Finley & Tom McGrath adding a bit of steal to the pack, Eoin Delaney offers his trademark high energy in midfield & Thomas Ankers has returned from a knock at scrumhalf.
Clon came out of the blocks flying with some initial pressure in defence as they forced a turnover & made a break into the 22. Newbridge strayed offside and the resultant penalty was confidently slotted by outhalf Jack Holland to give the away side a 3-0 lead.
Clondalkin’s brilliant start wasn’t finished and two breaks from Aaron Donnelly & Niall Nolan immediately brought Clondalkin back into the Newbridge 22. The halfbacks moved the ball to hooker Brian Doyle and as he drew in the Newbridge midfield he linked up superbly with full-back Ryan Maher. Maher gave a perfectly timed pass to wing Darren Madden who powered in from outside the 22 for the game’s first try. It was by far in away the First’s best passage of play all season as backs & forwards interlinked perfectly for a fantastic team score. Holland duly added the extras and Clon had a well deserved 10-0 lead, with as many minutes gone.
With a strong wind advantage in the first half Clon continued to punish any Newbridge errors by pinning them back into their own half. Clon’s front row of Doyle between props Kev Dunphy & Ken McMahon also got the ascendancy at scrum time and won a second penalty for their efforts. Holland again split the uprights and Clon lead 13-0 with a half hour gone. Newbridge finally woke up and a great line break from their 13 was shut down by scramble defence from Darren Madden off his wing but Clon infringed and Newbridge quickly added 3 points themselves to end the half trailing by 13-3.
Turning with the wind in the 2nd half, Newbridge realised that despite their slow start they were still very much in the game. They went about returning the favour and used their kicking game to pin Clon back in their own 22, however Clon’s defence lead all day by Captain Marcus Doyle & Tom McGrath in the row, flanker Neil Finley & centres Delaney & Dave Jebb had the answer for every question asked.
More scrum dominance relived the siege without any damage done on the scoreboard. In fact it was Clon who got the breakthrough score in the second half. Clever play from Ankers at 9, sent a grubber kick down the blindside and winger Niall Nolan was first to get a foot to the loose ball. Nolan superbly chipped past the Newbridge full back and won the sprint to dot down Clon’s 2nd try of the game. Holland made it 4/4 off the tee to stretch Clon’s lead to 20-3 and few could argue with it.
Newbridge to their credit never gave up and keep throwing everything at the yellow wall but just couldn’t find the soft shoulders that they were looking for. Eventually they found a way around the Clon line rather than trying to go through it and their winger finished in the corner. At 20-10 heading into the last 10 minutes it looked like we were in for a tense finish, but more scrum pressure got Clondalkin field position and they managed to see out the tie very assuredly.
The Cup run has completely changed the outlook of what has been a tough season for the Firsts. The two wins and returning bodies have clearly lifted the group & they’ll take confidence from that going into the next round & next season’s league campaign where they will join both Newbridge & Portlaois. The draw for the Quarter Finals took place immediately after the game and an away tie to Mullingar awaits in two weeks. The sides won 1 a piece in the league head to head this season so another tight encounter awaits as Clon go in search of their 3rd ever Towns Cup Semi-Final Place.
Special thanks to Newbridge who were fantastic hosts as always and all the best to them for the remainder of their season.
Towns Cup Quarter Final, March 27th v Mullingar away, 3pm.