Thurles RFC Vs Castleisland RFC – Munster Junior League
Thurles RFC 14 – 8 Castleisland RFC
The Thurles First XV got back to winning ways in the League on Sunday last with a hard fought win over a never say die Castleisland side. Thurles welcomed the Kerry men to Loughtagalla, following an away loss to Crosshaven in the League and a home win over Mallow last week in the Munster Junior Clubs Challenge Shield.
Thurles kicked the game off and started brightly, with the front row of McCormack, Nugent & Kirwin impressing in the scrums early on. Thurles had a number of changes with Conor O’Hagan & Luke Kelly coming close to touching down early on. Castleisland scrambled well in defence and eventually using their slight wind advantage got the ball down the field. Following a spell inside the Thurles half, Castleisland were awarded a penalty, the resulting kick went wide but the flight of the ball was misjudged by a Thurles player and it was knocked on, gifting the away side a scrum 5 yards from the Thurles line.
The following 15 minutes consisted of a series of scrums, with the Thurles front row impressing under pressure once again. Castleisland did manage to get over the line twice but were foiled by a combination of Seamus Holohan & Aidan Dwyer, as they managed to hold up the Castleisland number 8 over the line on 2 occasions. Castleisland did eventually cross the line after massive resistance from Thurles under the posts, Castleisland went wide & scraped over in the corner, the conversion was missed to leave the score at 0-5.
From the kick off, Thurles got stuck in to the Kerry men once again and were rewarded following some great tackling & pressure from Mark Cummins & Paddy Phelan, Thurles were awarded a scrum, following a back line move which saw Eoghan O’Dwyer break the first line of defence, he offloaded excellently to the oncoming Ciaran Ryan, who with work to do, powered over the line from outside the 22 to bring the home side straight back into contention, Lillis added the extras to push Thurles ahead: 7-5, and this is how it remained until the end of the half.
The second half was a scrappy affair, with a lot of stoppages due to a lot of Castleisland players dropping to the ground at every break in play, disrupting momentum when Thurles started to get on top of proceedings. Thurles had a number of chances to put this tie to bed but a number of marginal knock on calls & other more blatant handling errors cost the home side in key areas of the field. As the game entered the final 20 minutes of the game, Castleisland were awarded a kickable penalty which the kicker duly slotted over to sneak the Kerry men into the lead once again: 7-8.
Again, from the kick off, Thurles replied almost instantly, Conor O’Hagan sailed in under the noses of the Castleisland receivers and without breaking his stride, continued into the opposition 22, some great passing by the backs, made its way to Eoghan O’Dwyer who chipped in behind the defence; Shane Moloney won the foot race & dotted down in the right hand corner of the clubhouse end to put Thurles back in front, Lillis expertly added the extras with the difficult kick: 14-8.
For the remaining minutes Thurles had to soak up a lot of pressure from Castleisland who situated themselves inside the Thurles 22, the home defence was immense and the front row still proving their worth; Eoghan O’Dwyer, Ciaran Ryan & Luke Kelly put in some hugely important hits during this stint, with Aidan Dwyer also managing to get between the try line & the ball for the third time in the game as a Castleisland player attempted to touch down. The away side were getting no change from the Thurles defence and on their final attack out wide, a combination tackle from Conor O’Hagan & John Coman bundled the opposition winger into touch to bring an end to the game with a final score of 14-8 to Thurles.
This was a good win for Thurles, Castleisland are always a tough outfit and always bring their A-game when visiting Thurles or vice versa. Thurles may be disspointed not to have crossed a few more times but will take massive please with how the team defended throughout, it was immense to say the least.
Thurles have a week’s break for the Bank Holiday weekend, travelling to Muskerry the following week as League action resumes. The players and management would like to thank all those who turned out to support the team last weekend, it was much appreciated.
Thurles Scorers: Ciaran Ryan & Shane Moloney (B) (1 Try Each) & John Lillis (2 Conversions). Thurles Starting XV vs Castleisland: 1. Ger McCormack 2. Shane Nugent 3. Stephen Kirwin 4. Luke Kelly 5. Shane McHugh 6. Mark Cummins 7. Paddy Phelan 8. Ciaran Ryan 9. Seamus Holohan 10. John Lillis 11. Conor O’Hagan 12. Aidan Dwyer 13. Eoghan O’Dwyer (c) 14. Shane Moloney (K) 15. John Coman: Replacements Used: Shane Moloney (B).