Balbriggan u17s 12
Clondalkin u17s 21
Friday 25 June
Clon signed off on an interrupted 2020/21 season with a solid win in Balbriggan in an evenly contested game. Missing a lot of players through injury, every one of the 17 available men put in a big shift and the coaches will be happy with the first up tackling in particular.
A pre-match downpour made for tricky conditions and both sides took time to settle into the game but the yellow wall kept the home side at bay and Nathan DeBotte, Dave Hughes, Tarik Aitamor and debutant Luke Groome all made key contributions. In the scrum, a strong front row of Ben Fallon Corcoran, Jake Lusk Browne and captain Louis Lavin more than held their own whilst no.8 Manny Muritala was a constant threat in the loose.
In the first half, it was two identical tries from Jack Brennan that gave Clon the lead with Brennan on both occasions running from deep with a burst of speed that left the Balbriggan defence scrambling. He converted both himself to leave it 14 nil at the break.
The home team made changes at half time and saw an immediate impact with a couple of tries after some great offloading in the tackle to bring them back to 14.12. Dylan O’Sullivan and Conor Branigan switched roles between 9 and wing and both kept the opposition on their toes in attack and worked tirelessly in defence. No. 12 Dylan Clarke made several of his trademark crunching tackles at key moments and Luke Noone’s positioning at full back was excellent. No. 10 Cathal Downey had a big influence on the game, setting up Brandon Graham who made several clever kicks to pin Balbriggan back and the speed and power of John Velez was on show yet again.
As the clock ticked down, Clon upped the pressure and a series of penalties and quick taps saw them march into the home 22 and it was Muritala who burst through for the all important try to seal the win with Brennan once again adding the extras. There was still time for more but Ewan Lester went on a storming run that led to another penalty for Clon and the men in yellow were able to close out the game from there and set themselves up nicely for the summer break.
Special mention to the injured Craig O’Brien, Nathan Mazingu and Luke Swayne who came out to support their team mates. With warm hospitality from our hosts who laid on a fine spread for the lads after the game, we can all now hopefully look forward to a full season in the autumn and the unlocking of the great potential in the squad.