Donnybrook u18.5 34-36 Clondalkin u18.5
Leinster League Division 1

Clondalkin’s u18.5 team secured a brilliant victory in Kilternan against a combined Bective/Old Wesley XV, to remain top of the league and extend their unbeaten run after a pulsating and incident-packed thriller.

The Donnybrook men started well, scoring a penalty and a converted try in the opening minutes but Clon began to make inroads in the home defence with some brilliant carries from power forwards Jake Dunphy, Ben Fallon and Louis Lavin. It was all-action outhalf Cathal Downey who grabbed their first try of the game, his sheer determination to get to the ball first being typical of the team’s performance on the day. The multi-talented Jack Brennan added the extras.

Donnybrook showed great potential with their pacy backline and they edged further ahead with another 5-pointer although the conversion was superbly blocked down by Clon centre, Liam Redmond who had one of his best games in the yellow. Back came Clon and led by vocal Captain, Jake Lusk Browne, they were ferocious in their tackling and rucking with the ever-busy Luke Swayne, Ewan Lester, and Cian Halpin proving a real threat in the loose. After a series of penalties for the away side, it was the powerful Manny Muritala who burst through with an unstoppable run from 5 metres out for try number 2, which Brennan again converted to bring Clon within a point. However, two late first-half tries from the home side put them 29-14 ahead at the break and Clon had it all to do in the second half.

The teams traded scores after the resumption, with Brennan’s pace proving difficult for Donnybrook as he nabbed the Clon try. The quick-thinking Dylan O’Sullivan and Brandon Graham were excellent at punching holes in the Donnybrook defence. Speedsters Danny Farrell and Dean Farrell both made huge contributions in the backline and dynamic scrumhalf Conor Branigan kept the home defence guessing with plenty of quick taps and clever interplay with Downey. Flying winger Luke Noone then closed the deficit to 8 with a brilliant opportunistic intercept try that Brennan again converted before Muritala once again burst through a few minutes later to leave the game in the balance and Clon just a point behind.

Both teams had chances in the closing minutes but an unfortunate error by Donnybrook gave Brennan a chance to steal a win through a penalty with the last play of the game. His kick, from some distance, split the uprights to spark huge celebrations among the Clon players and supporters although the reality was that neither team deserved to lose a cracking contest. New member Josh Farrelly was on hand and is showing great potential while the injured Tarik Aitamor and Mikail Albogachiev once again did a great job looking after the logistics. Next up are St Mary’s at home.

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