Clonmel’s backline class decisive

Clonmel 27, Clanwilliam 9

The difference in standard between the first and second division of the Junior League was quite evident as Clonmel’s lethal backline proved the difference between them and Clanwilliam.

Clonmel got off to a great start and raced into an early lead with a try after two minutes from Conor Cooney after a great break by Frankie Quinlan.

However, Clanwilliam showed they were up for the contest and the boot of Brian Kissane had the Tipperary town side ahead after 13 minutes with two long-range penalties.

Clanwilliam seemed to be the hungrier side as they never allowed Clonmel get into their stride. However, midway through the half, Clonmel struck again when a blindside break by Morgan Lyons and Greg Carroll sent Brian Smith in for a try.

Another long-range penalty by Kissane saw Clanwilliam close the gap to a point ten minutes before the interval.

Clonmel decided to play a tight game in the second half and slowly their pack began to get on top. They extended their advantage on 54 minutes when another break by Cooney and Luke Hogan sent winger Carroll in for a try and Cooney converted for a 17-9 lead.

Cooney kicked a penalty midway through the half but, in fairness to Clanwilliam, they never gave up.

Clonmel were reduced to 13 players following yellow cards for Quinlan and Neville Melbourne in the final ten minutes. Following a series of scrums close to the Clonmel line, Clonmel hacked the ball upfield and Hogan, following up, touched down. Then, with the last play of the game Cooney converted to give Clonmel their first major trophy.

CLONMEL: C Cooney; G Carroll, L Hogan, B Smith, D Lonergan; M Lyons, A Sheehan; m Sheehan, G Mulcahy, M Corby; R Crosse, J Long; J Gallaher, F Quinlan, N Melbourne.

Replacements: P Keating, B Lonergan, T Cantwell, S Pyke, D Cadogan.

CLANWILLIAM: R Doyle; G Ryan, K Merrigan, R Childs, Pauric Ryan; D Kinehan, D Shiels; J Whelan, I O’Rahelly, D O’Brien; B Kissane, Paul Ryan; R Merrigan, C Doyle, D McCormack.

Replacements: B Quinlan, E Ryan, J Richardson, K O’Donnell, V Grisewood.

Referee: A Brace (MAR).

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