Category: Matchday

Match reports, news, travel info etc.

AIL MATCH REPORT

Sunday’s Well 55, Galway Corinthians 13.
However the season turns out in the end, last Saturday was a glorious one for Sunday’s Well as they produced a performance full of grit, determination, style, power and pace to earn their first five-pointer of the season. Those who were present were witness to a thrilling display of rugby by the Cork side as they ran in eight tries and could very well have had more. It was a great all-round team effort with plenty of sublime individual displays. After 11 losses; most of them in a very narrow manner that could have gone either way it was the very least the players deserved; as they kept their focus and plugging away throughout the season.We will get to where this leave things in the table later. First to Saturday. The ‘Well were boosted with the return of several key players. Conor O’Brien; who picked up his first injury at Corinthians returned to the back-row as did Sean Glynn who missed out on last week’s game. Cormac Kelliher could very well be deemed to be unfortunate to be on the bench having been an outstanding player in the past few weeks; but he would still have a major role to play. 
Peter O’Brien came into out-half while the powerful Ryan Buckley returned just outside him into the centre. It was a strong ‘Well outfit and also saw them able to have a strong bench who could have an impact later on in the game. 
The ‘Well played towards the Tramore Road end in the first-half. Their opponents were looking to play an open expansive running game and had many dangerous strike runners out wide. They ran from deep; but a crucial facet of the ‘Well’s performance in the first-half was their aggressive defence. They didn’t back off and managed to create crucial turnovers in attacking positions. The first allowed them a penalty that Brian Derham struck over the crossbar. Corinthians then produced a concentrated attack; with Derham making a high-tackle that saw him yellow-carded and Simon Keller levelled the scores. 
Despite being down a man; the ‘Well controlled games. Having won some penalties they kicked to the corner. A smart maul was set-up off the line-out and having set their positions; the ‘Well produced a strong secondary drive. At the back of the maul was Willie McCarthy who maintained a low position and held onto his pack to touch-down although the scoreboard operator did get briefly confused in the ensuing excitement. 
An even bigger feature of the match occurred from the ensuing restart. Sean Glynn jumped high to claim a well placed kick-off and he was taken out in the air by Conor O’Sulivan. In fairness to O’Sullivan; it was probably more clumsy than malicious but with Glynn taking an awkward fall having been hit at the high point of his job; it was a red-card under the new laws and directives. 
The ‘Well continued to press. Ryan Buckley was having an outstanding game in the centre; bursting through tackles and carrying several players with him. He almost got over but Corinthians eventually managed to halt the attack by winning a penalty. The kick to touch was kept in play by James Kiernan who palmed the ball back into play towards his team-mates. The ball went loose and a great chase by Michael O’Reilly saw him hack the ball forward and the ‘Well had to concede a line-out in their own 22. Corinthians spread the ball out and powered towards the line with a gab eventually opening up for Matthew Burke and Keller’s conversion put the visitors into a 10-8 lead. 
It was a blow but the ‘Well kept their focus. A knock-on let Corinthians have a defensive scrum outside their 22. They claimed the ball cleanly but Arigho pounced over his opposite number and forced a turnover with Sean Keohane on hand to carry the ball up to the line. The ‘Well recycled possession and spread out to the opposite side. They almost ran out of space before Ryan Buckley burst his way inside for the score with Derham converting. The last action of the half saw Keller kick a penalty to leave the half-time score at 15-13.While it was tight on the scoreline; the ‘Well would have been pleased to be ahead and also halfway towards the try bonus-point. They came out strongly in the second-half and used the pack to set up the platform. They were able to work the ball downfield and another excellent line-out maul saw Owen Glynn touch down. Then persistent pressure saw the bonus-point wrapped up at around the 55 minute mark as they sent runner after runner close to the line before Michael Moynihan made his typical powerful burst to secure that point.With the bonus point sealed and the lead extended out to 14 points; the ‘Well began to open up. They were able to bring fresh legs off the bench while James Kiernan and Peter O’Brien continued to make strong powerful runs. Paddy Hegarty came on in the backs and had an amazing impact; with a number of dazzling runs; one leading to a try for himself while another even better run from his own half saw him break through tackles; circle opponents and run straight through gaps. He was finally caught short but Cormac Kelliher was on hand to receive the off-load for the try of the game; and his second. Sean Glynn also made his way over earlier and the ‘Well; knowing the vital of points difference continued to press; whilst maintaining a strong disciplined defence to ensure no points were conceded at the other end. 
They looked as if they were set to break the 60 point mark as they pounded the line at the death and Ryan Buckley powered his way over. He fell on his back and tried to wriggle over but was adjuged to be held up. That didn’t spoil a magnificent day and fantastic performance with a result that was long overdue.Scorers: Sunday’s Well: W McCarthy, R Buckley, O Glynn, M Moynihan, P Hegarty, S Glynn, C Kelliher (2) tries; B Derham pen, 6 cons. 
Galway Corinthians: M Burke try; S Keller 2 pens, con.Sunday’s Well: B Derham; S Keohane, C Jouve (c), R Buckley, J Kiernan; P O’Brien, P Arigho; M Moynihan, W McCarthy, E O’Connell; O Glynn, S Desmond; J Mulcahy, C O’Brien, S Glynn. Replacements: R Linehan, C Axson, J Barnes, C Kelliher, P Hegarty. 
Galway Corinthians: M McDermott; C O’Sullivan, C Evans, F Gormley, M O’Reilly; S Keller, R Guilfoyle; M Burke, J Moloney (c), C Hansberry; C Raferty, A Broderick; R Murphy, M O’Brien, N Harrison. Replacements: J Noone, M Connelly, E Whyte, J Byrne, C Brennan. 
Referee:  P Haycock (IRFU)

Despite that result; the ‘Well still remain bottom of the table. Elsewhere; Belfast Harlequins managed to squeak out a 10-8 win over Dungannon; having being 10-0 up at half-time with two tries. The ‘Well are now four points off Harlequins with an identical points difference now. The sides clash on April 6th at Irish Independent Park in a game the ‘Well have to win. Bonus points could also prove crucial and it should be a real big game. Harlequins will be fired up and battle hardened but the ‘Well squad have shown their abilities not just in this win but several earlier games. They will hope for a big support. 
Our most likely hope is to overtake Harlequins that day which will probably mean we need to beat Sligo away on the last day, with the Connacht side almost assured of a promotion play-off spot. Harlequins host Corinthians who are eight points ahead of us and not out of trouble yet; while even Wanderers, Skerries and Dungannon could feasibly be caught. There is a slight chance of avoiding a play-off spot altogether; but that would need several results to go our way. Still there is a long way to go and all that can be done now is to focus on a massive game with Harlequins in two weeks.

AIL MATCH REPORT

Dungannon 20, Sunday’s Well 17.

It was a sense of deja-vu up in County Tyrone on Saturday. Once again a poor start on the scoreboard by the ‘Well saw them chasing a game. Another strong spirited effort hauled them back in with Cormac Kelliher and Shane Desmond among those inspiring the team back into the game against a powerful and high intensity Dungannon side. In the end though; all that Cyprien Jouve’s last second try could rescue was a losing bonus-point; albeit it every point could prove crucial come the end of the season.

The hosts had the advantage of a very strong downfield wind and looked to pin the ‘Well back from the kick-off as they went straight down the middle. Brian Derham made an excellent clearance to touch given the strength of the wind. Dungannon  did secure the line-out and worked the ball through several phases. Some sharp passing and lines of running saw them regularly break through the gain-line. After several phases; Andrew MCGregor managed to make the pivotal break and off-loaded to the support runner Mervyn Brown who went in for a try. Lucas Avelli added the conversion and soon slotted over a penalty that had the ‘Well trailing by 10 points in as many minutes.
It was an uphill struggle from there and while the ‘Well weren’t at the best; they managed to stifle their opponents momentum. They were carrying hard ball through the forwards with Owen Glynn and Shane Desmond regularly powering their way over the gain line while Evan O’Connell and Cormac Kelliher ran some smart inside lines. Michael Moynihan managed to make some typical powerful bursts through the tackle as well to get his side on the front-foot.
Dungannon were starting to concede a series of penalties and a magnificent kick by Derham bought play up to the five-metre line. Unfortunately; Willie McCarthy who has been excellent making the jump up from J3s to Senior and has been central to the side’s strong performances saw the wet ball freakishly slip out of his hands as he was set to throw the ball in.
The half seemed to be petering out until Dungannon won a penalty to get a line-out in the Twenty-Two. Great work saw the ‘Well steal the ball with time almost up but they just knocked on offering Dungannon a scrum in an ideal attacking position.  They managed to get the ball out cleanly and an excellent back-line move allowed the sprightly Avelli race in for a try that he also converted to increases his side’s advantage to 17.

The wind also died down significantly in the second-half; depriving the ‘Well of a notable advantage their opponents had. That late try would have been a real blow in the gut and neither were Dungannon getting complacent. The ‘Well started brightly but had to work hard for their opportunities. An early penalty was kicked over by Derham to settle the side back into the game.
There was a great to and fro to the match. Dungannon continued to run dangerous the lines and admittedly the ‘Well’s up front tackling wasn’t to their usual standard. However; any time the hosts seemed to breakthrough they managed to scramble and force the mistake to stay in the game. The ‘Well’s own back-line got more into the game as they spread the ball out more with James Kiernan and Rory Slater making some good bursts.
Cormac Kelliher who was working hard in the tight was also prominent in the loose and was like a flying winger as he received ball on half-way. He raced into the Twenty-Two and was stopped just short and with the ball coming loose Dungannon were penalised. The ‘Well kicked to the corner and were illegally stopped; leading to a sin-binning and another penalty. Again an infringement saw them get a penalty with Peter Arigho taking a quick tap and Ryan Linehan was on hand to power over the line. Derham slotted the extras straight between the uprights.

Dungannon managed to make regular line-breaks and were dominating territory for the closing twenty minutes. The ‘Well while inviting pressure were defending superbly in the Twenty-Two but eventually did concede a penalty that Avelli to put the game to double scores at 20-10.
With time fast running out the ‘Well managed to launch one last series of attacks and Cyprien Jouve; who was magnificent as usual in defence stepped up to the plate to cut through for a try that secured a losing bonus-point; with Derham maintaining his 100% kicking record.

With Belfast Harlequins picking up a bonus point in their clash against MU Barnhall the ‘Well remain five points adrift at the bottom. With three games left and a clash against Harlequins among them; it is all to play for and there could still be hope of avoiding a relegation play-off altogether; all that task is much more out of the ‘Well’s hands. The side now have a deserved rest ahead of their clash with Corinthians on the 23rd at Irish Independent Park.

Scorers: Dungannon: L Avelli try, 2 pens, 2 cons; M Brown try.
Sunday’s Well: R Linehan, C Jouve tries; B Derham pen, 2 cons.
Dungannon: A McGregor; M Montgomery, M Brown, L Avelli, J McIlwaine; J Buckley, C Milnes; R Stewart, M Allister, J Gamble; A Gormley, G Lopez; D Leyburn, M Riddell, J McMahon. Replacements: D Maxwell, G Sinnamon, S Todd, P Doran, C McGeough.
Sunday’s Well: P Hegarty; J Kiernan, D O’Sullivan, C Jouve (c), R Slater; B Derham, P Arigho; M Moynihan, W McCarthy, E O’Connell; S Desmond, O Glynn; J Barnes, J Mulcahy, C Kelliher. Replacements: R Linehan, C Axson, E Ackland, A Mintern, G Downey.
Referee: (IRFU)

AIL MATCH REPORT

Sunday’s Well 20, MU Barnhall 26.

The form guide didn’t look good ahead of last Saturday’s clash at Irish Independent Park. MU Barnhall were the visitors; the table-toppers who won all their previous 13 matches; including a series of convincing wins in their double-header with their closest challengers Greystones. For the ‘Well; it has been unfortunately a different story; with 9 successive defeats before this game.
Despite these stark statistics there was a positive and expecting vibe around the club ahead of kick-off. This wasn’t just blind-faith.  The squad have been extremely competitive and unlucky to lose their recent matches against other top sides. The squad hasn’t wallowed in self-pity and have retained a focus and determination. With the attrtional nature of the league, the squad depth has been tested with  players young and old stepping up to the plate.

Much of that confidence could have easily been dissipated in the first ten minutes. There certainly was no underestimation of the Kildare side and they showed their class. They managed to get themselves into strong attacking positions; with line-outs and scrums deep in the ‘Well Twenty-Two. The powerful and quick Michael Mellett finished off an initial move before Dan Murphy powered his way over. Adam Chester converted the latter try to put his side 12-0 in front. To the casual fan or outsider; it might have looked like a whitewash was beckoning,
The ‘Well didn’t drop their heads. Barnhall had managed to get into ideal attacking positions and the ‘Well’s intensified defence reduced those opportunities for the remainder of the half. Cyprien Jouve led by example with magnificent cover tackling and the players constantly trusted their team-mates to cover their men rather than over committing.
They also displayed their potency in attack. The set-piece was excellent with Willie McCarthy at the heart of it. The hooker was sublime at the line-out with James Mulcahy and Cormac Kelliher not only able to secure possession but also get quality possession from which they could launch a variant of attacks. They were also getting the upper-hand in the scrum with the returning Evan O’Connell having a great game while fellow prop Michael Moynihan was his usual abrasive self.
Sean Glynn and Shane Desmond were also among those carrying strongly in the tight and regularly burst their way over the gain-line with a mixture of power and determination. Eoin Geary was also making some decent breaks while his half-back colleague Peter Arigho controlled the tempo of the attack. Having gotten on the front-foot that started to win some penalties. Eoin Geay produced a great touch-finder into the strong cross-field win to give the ‘Well a line-out in the opposing 22. After initial obstruction; they had another kick to the corner. Willie McCarthy broke off and powered towards the line. The ball was recycled and Shane Desmond wriggled over to the delight of the vocal home support.
The ‘Well continued to press and the line-out again was central to their threat. Kelliher was taken out in the air leading to a yellow-card for perpetrator Paul Nalty. The resulting kick to touch was just outside the 22. The ‘Well secured possession and showed great unity of purpose with a magnificent driving maul. They were certain of getting over but just two metres short it was pulled down. They were awarded a penalty but no further action was taken and the ‘Well were unable to get in for another try before the break.

A magnificent kick-off to the second-half was gathered by Sean Glynn who burst towards the 22. Eventually a penalty was rewarded for a deliberate knock on and the ‘Well went to the corner. Perhaps with some worries from the first-half, Barnhall  didn’t challenge the maul. James Mulcahy had secured possession and made sure no one drove in front of him as he raced to the line and then pirhoutted his way round the eventual tackle to touch-down.
There was a great ebb and flow to the game with both sides hammering away and not giving an inch. Barnhall looked to go back to basics and let their pack dictate matters around the tight to get go-forward ball with Tom McKEown making some big carries. Once they got into the 22 they were always a major threat and Nathan Veltom finally went over with Chester converting to extend their lead to nine.
Barnhall seemed to be setting up another attack from half-way as they looked to utilise their powerful back-line. However; the alert Josh Featherstone read their intentions and shot out of the defensive line to steal the ball. He raced up to the Twenty-Two but couldn’t quite make it to the line. However; the ‘Well reacted superbly running great support lines and some perfectly timed passes took out the quickly recovering Barnhall defence with Darragh O’Sullivan rewarded for his effort and smart running-line as he touched down. Brian Derham; who took over kicking duties for the injured Eoin Geary added the conversion.
Barnhall again battered away at the line. The ‘Well defended bravely but eventually with a penalty-advantage awarded Adam Chester chipped through. The ball ricocheted off the large pads on the post taking out the defenders who had the ball covered and it fell nicely for Chester who converted his own score.

The ‘Well got into losing bonus-point territory with a Derham penalty. They then had one final opportunity; with a kick to the corner but for once the line-out malfunctioned as they throw to the back just strayed slightly towards the ‘Well side of the line. Unfortunately the ‘Well couldn’t muster any further notable efforts and did get a small bit of luck as Barnhall missed a late penalty that would have cruelly denied the valiant hosts a deserved losing bonus-point.

 With four games to go; the ‘Well are five points adrift of Belfast Harlequins but do face them at home in the penultimate game.  It is still everything to play for and their should be plenty of twists and turns left. The ‘Well have shown they are capable of competing with all sides in this division but just have consistently lacked that little bit of luck and the literal bounce of the ball. A tough game against Dungannon is next on the agenda and the team will hopefully get that rub of the green.

Scorers: Sunday’s Well: S Desmond, J Mulcahy, D O’Sullivan tries; B Derham con, pen.
MU Barnhall: A Chester try, 3 cons; M Mellett, D Murphy, N Veltom tries.  
Sunday’s Well: B Derham; J Kiernan, D O’Sullivan, C Jouve (c), P Hegarty; E Geary, P Arigho; E O’Connell, W McCarthy, M Moynihan; S Desmond, J Barnes; J Mulcahy, C Kelliher, S Glynn. Replacements: N O’Donoghue, I Murphy, O Glynn, E Ackland, J Featherstone.
MU Barnhall: E Quinn; M Mellett, D Stewart, S Dwyer, L Mellett; A Chester, R Holt; G Brooks, G Murray, D Jennings; N Veltom, D Murphy; P Nalty, D Thomas, T McKeown (c). Replacements: B de Carvalho, P Courtney, S Stokes, D Hudson, R Mullen.
Referee: M Scanlon (IRFU)