Bruff 17 Sunday’s Well 14
A strong powerful performance: particularly in the first-half did not come with the desired result, as Bruff claimed the victory in a hard-fought encounter. While bitterly disappointed; there are positives to take away from the game. The ‘Well claimed their first point on the road and the manner of their performance suggests there is plenty left in the tank for the run-in; where the ‘Well will enjoy home advantage in four of their six matches.
The ‘Well set their stall out from the opening couple of minutes. A magnificent driving maul from near half-way bought play to within ten metres of the Bruff line. Eventually Bruff were able to create a turn-over and went on the offensive themselves. Their centre Warren Loulanting directing attacks with a mix of off-loads and powerful bursts.
The ‘Well defence resisted several attempts with Shane Duggan being pushed into touch while Pa Maher was held up short. Eventually Bruff opened the scoring as they shifted the ball out to the wide left where Mark Fitzpatrick raced in for the try.
This didn’t deter the ‘Well. They were winning the kicking exchanges and were stalling several promising Bruff attacks with magnificent tackling. Daniel Courtney; who came in for the injured Fabien Loughrey put himself about; making great low tackles on the likes of Loulanting while aiming to install pace on the ‘Well attacks.
Rob O’Keeffe made some powerful surges up the centre while Eoin O’Sulivan made some smart runs. Andrew Mintern and Cormac Kelliher worked hard around the fringes with Conor O’Brien industrious as ever.
At full-back, Josh Featherstone was guiding the younger members of the back-line in front of him; and produced a great 50-22 kick after some aerial ping-pong. Jack McHenry found his man at the line-out and a well structured maul saw the pack surge over the line – with Dan O’Brien touching down.
A scrum resulted from the kick-off as it didn’t go the full ten metres. Daniel Coutrney; inspired by Featherstone no doubt made a great similar kick into the corner for a line-out. Although it didn’t count as a 50-22; the ‘Well stole the line-out and shifted the ball out. O’Sullivan raced onto the ball and almost crashed over. He did well to cleanly recycle the ball and Evan O’Connell powered over from close in. Featherstone produced two magnificent touch-line conversions from opposite sides of the field to help the ‘Well into a deserved 14-5 lead that they held at the break.
The second-half stifled some of the ‘Well’s momentum. There was an inevitable backlash from Bruff which saw them reclaim the lead with tries from Paul Collins and Mark Fitzpatrick before the hour mark. The ‘Well were seeing a lot of penalties awarded against them in a series of keenly contested areas at both scrums and breakdowns.
The rub of the green wasn’t with them; although they did have one period where they had Bruff under pressure. However; an untimely knock-on halted the main series of attacks while Bruff again managed to be awarded a series of penalties to work their way down the field.
Scorers: Bruff: M Fitzpatrick 2 tries; P Collins try, con.
Sunday’s Well: D O’Brien E O’Connell tries; J Featherstone 2 cons.
Bruff: K Bennett; S Duggan, G Whelan, W Loulanting, M Fitzpatrick; A O’Byrne, P Collins; B Keogh, T Quigley, K O’Dwyer; S Hartigan, T O’Dwyer; J Cleary, P Maher, C Rea. Replacements: D Barrett, TJ Coffey, C O’Reilly, A Lynch, M O’Connell.
Sunday’s Well: J Featherstone; G Downey, E O’Sullivan, R O’Keeffe, S Keevers; H McHenry, D Courtney; E O’Connell, J McHenry, C Axson; A Mintern, C Kelliher; F MacFhlannchadha, D O’Brien, C O’Brien. Replacements: J Downey, G O’Sullivan, K Holland, J Costello, K Maye.
Referee: K Nolan (IRFU)