Sunday’s Well 8 Bruff 3.
It was a day for the brave on Saturday at Irish Independent Park; as Sunday’s Well were involved in a tough slog against Bruff. When both sides met the last time out in County Limerick; Bruff broke the ‘Well hearts with a last ditch victory but this time; it was the ‘Well who stood firm to hold on to a crucial win.
There was a minute’s silence before the game in memory of several members of the local rugby community that have passed away over the week. Among them was Jim Turnbull who we are sure would have been looking down on this game with great pride and admiration for the effort and determination that the ‘Well produced.
There was a strong gale-force wind driving up to the Sunday’s Well with the rain teeming down at different severity throughout the match. The ‘Well had the advantages of the elements in the first half and made good use of them early on. They looked to play at pace with Eoin Geary and Ryan Buckley racing through gaps.
They had an early line-out in the Twenty-Two that Conor O’Brien claimed and a magnificently controlled maul saw them drive 15 metres up to the Bruff line. They were held up but the referee awarded the penalty. The players elected for a quick tap and Jonathon Gardiner raced onto the ball and used all his power to burst his way over the line for the opening score. Brian Derham’s conversion bounced unluckily off the post.
As the half progressed; Bruff came more into the game. Andrew O’Byrne made the score 5-3 with a penalty after some sustained pressure and they continued to press. The ‘Well had their own moments; with Buckley in particular catching the eye with some powerful bursts. Indeed the ‘Well finished the half strongly and again drove over the line but were held up and Bruff managed to hold out.
The County Limerick team had an early penalty which O’Byrne couldn’t slott over. With a strong wind behind them; Bruff had more of the ball but couldn’t make any major inroads inside the Twenty-Two. The pressure was often lifted through the running of Cormac Kelliher who regularly made strong metres.
The ‘Well gradually worked their way up the field after the hour mark and won a penalty in the middle of the attacking Twenty-Two. On such a blustery and wet day; no kick was easy and Derham hit the ball with conviction to extend his side’s gap.
Bruff threw everything they had in the closing minutes in the search of a try. The ‘Well were determined to minimise their opportunities to handle the ball and were regularly having forwards carried inside the Twenty-Two. It was a risky strategy which did lead to a Bruff scrum but having turned over the ball again; the ‘Well were able to hold out for a hard-fought victory.
Scorers: Sunday’s Well: J Gardiner try, B Derham pen.
Bruff: A O’Byrne pen
Sunday’s Well: B Derham; R O’Keeffe, E Geary (c), R Buckley, J Kiernan; B Pope, P Arigho; E O’Connell, J Barry, I Murphy; J Barnes, J Gardiner; S Desmond, C Jouve, C O’Brien. Replacements: M Moynihan, C Kelliher, G O’Sullivan, D Lacey, J Ruuiz-Herrera.
Bruff: T O’Callaghan; S D’Arcy, J O’Grady, J Simpson-Te Pari, G Whelan; A O’Byrne, C Clifford; B Bulfin, J Clery, K O’Dwyer; B Morrissey, T Jones; S Hartigan, C Fitzpatrick, C Rea, T Quigley. Replacements: T Quigley, D Barrett, T O’Dwyer, D O’Leary, L Treacy.
Referee: G Crabtree (IRFU)