The new rugby season kicked off in fine style when Clane were the visitors to Gordon Park for an evenly-contested U14s match in front of a sizeable crowd. Eight-try Clondalkin were good value for their win but the scoreline didn’t reflect the performance of a good Clane side who were missing several players due to other sporting commitments.
A great start by Clon saw powerful forward Nathan Mazingu crash over in the corner for the first score early doors and the boys in yellow didn’t look back as they ran in five first half tries to one in reply. There were scores for outside centre Dylan Clarke, who had an outstanding game, and Brandon Graham who brilliantly finished off a great team try. Speedsters Jack Brennan and James Lindopp contributed two fine individual finishes on either wing and, at half time, captain Luke Swayne will have been happy with the levels of intensity shown.
Two early second half tries from Clane brought the Kildare boys back into the game but the rewards for a tough pre-season training programme began to show as the home side came back with three further scores from debutant Dylan Stack, a second for Graham and another fine Clarke effort. It was an excellent overall team performance by Clon, for whom Eoghan Kelly had a superb game in an experimental back line where half-backs Cathal Downey and Conor Branigan swapped roles. Downey, in particular, was brilliant at the breakdown, as were David Hughes and Louis Lavin, with turnover ball being a big feature of the team’s success.
The squad have set a high standard for the season ahead and coaches and parents will be delighted if the same level of commitment is shown as the lads continue to develop.
Clondalkin: Forwards: Luke Swayne (Capt.), Brandon Graham, Louis Lavin, Jake Browne, Jake O’Reilly, David Hughes, Jamie Brady, Sam Keegan, Nathan Mazingu, Dean Farrell, Ben Fallon, Tarik Pitamor, Josh Martyn Keyes. Backs: Jack Brennan, Eoghan Kelly, Dylan Clarke, Cathal Downey, Conor Jordan, James Lindopp, Conor Branigan, Luke Noone, Dylan Stack.