Clane U13s vs Clondalkin U13s
Clondalkin U13s kicked off their season with a great win away to a very good Clane side. There were some fine individual performances in yellow but what was most pleasing for the coaches was the team spirit, support play and defensive grit shown by the whole squad. Team captain Oran Murphy will have been happy with how the lads gelled together so well in this opening friendly and with the great communication skills of scrum-half Thomas Carter, who had positive words for his team mates throughout the game, the clever thinking of out-half Pádraig Downey and the strong running of centre Dylan O’Sullivan, the Clon lads grew steadily into what was their first full pitch XV-a side game.
Despite going a try down in the opening five minutes, Clon bounced back, led by some strong running up the middle by powerful forwards Shane Cleary, Rían Gannon and Liam Goodwin. Clon were quick to the breakdown and the fine rucking skills of Jack Quinn, Conor Langabeer and Jack Daly were on display right through the game. This allowed Carter and Downey to move the ball quickly and lightning-fast wing Thomas Walsh finished a flowing move in the corner, after great hands in the backline, to level the scores.
On the other wing, Dylan Freeman was a real nuisance for the Clane defence and was fearless in the tackle while Eoin Whelan, Cillian Lowth and Danny Steed worked non-stop in a Clon backline with bags of pace and loads of skill. Another fast-moving play out of their own half, with Sumsoar Khan and No. 8 Cillian Walsh-Phillips leading the way, led to Murphy finishing off an excellent team move that used the full width of the pitch, with O’Sullivan adding the extras.
Clane came storming back but the Clon defence held firm and a great try-saving tackle on the line by Mikey Branigan prevented the home side getting a foothold back in the match, although Branigan suffered an injury in doing so. However, Josh Domican came on and played a great game, both in tight and in the loose.
Murphy was back in action minutes later, spotting a gap and going on a brilliant run all the way to the line to leave the half time score 17-5 to the away team.
In the second half, there was sustained pressure from Clane but the defensive work by Clon was superb as they worked together as a unit, with great line speed and some ferocious tackling including from all-action forward Tommie Xin-Wilkie. Although Clane crossed for a try with the last play of the game, the Clondalkin victory was never in doubt. The squad will have plenty to work on as the season progresses but with this level of performance, the future looks bright for youth rugby at Gordon Park.
Clondalkin U13s: Shane Cleary, Mikey Branigan, Josh Domican, Rían Gannon, Jack Daly, Liam Goodwin, Jack Quinn, Tommie Xin-Wilkie, Sumsoar Khan, Conor Langabeer, Cillian Walsh-Phillips. Thomas Carter, Pádraig Downey, Dylan Freeman, Eoin Whelan, Dylan O’Sullivan, Oran Murphy, Thomas Walsh, Daniel Steed, Cillian Lowth.