Coach says Ennis reaped reward for dedication

Ennis 21 Cobh Pirates 12: An Ennis squad groomed for stardom before they reached their teenage years came good once again at Thomond Park yesterday when they defeated a splendid Cobh Pirates side 21-12 in the final of the Bank of Ireland Munster U16 club cup final.

Coach says Ennis reaped reward for dedication

The Ennis underage structure had been working outstandingly well for a number of years and it told again yesterday as they battled their way back from a 12-5 half-time deficit to pull off a great victory.

They have won back-to-back U14 and U15 North Munster cups and leagues over the past couple of years but yesterday’s win caps the lot, according to head coach Ken Butler.

“We have been building this side from the time they were around eight years of age and there is great credit due to them for their honesty of preparation over the intervening years,” he said.

“And one of the nice things about the group is that they’re not all from Ennis, they’re from all over the county of Clare.

“Their potential is there for all to see and we were certainly very proud of the way they lifted their game in the final against a fine Cobh squad. It wasn’t easy for them to come back as they did after falling seven behind in the first half but that’s just typical of the spirit in the group.”

Cobh were the better side in the first half, their supremacy reflected on the scoreboard by tries from flanker Conor McNamara and winger Charlie Kelleher and a conversion by Cian Ahern.

Ennis kept in touch with a try by Brian Crowley Hayes and looked a different side on the turnover. Hard and all as Cobh battled to keep them at bay, the pressure had to tell.

Jason Downes got the second Ennis try and Brian Crowley Hayes powered over. All the time, the fine goal-kicking of scrum-half Ethan Coughlin was helping their cause as he landed a conversion and a couple of penalties to leave the Clare boys impressive winners.

ENNIS:

C Kearney; J Downes, B Crowley/Hayes, S Keane, S McGrath; T Butler, E Coughlin; B Benko, J Keane, R Murphy, B Barry, E Hahessy, D O’Callaghan, D Fogarty, C Moloney.

Replacements:

D McInerney, D Vaughan, E Cullinane, H Omorodion, P Browne, S Punch, T Garrahy, B Geraghty.

COBH PIRATES:

B Frahill/Jones; G Rasmussen, P O’Sulllivan, K Buckley, C Kelleher; C Ahern, S Kahn; J O’Driscoll, J Crone, D McCarthy, L O’Flaherty, J Gilmartin, C McNamara; P Cronin, J O’Sullivan.

Replacements:

J Manley, O O’Donovan, D Meade, C Kidney, C MacCoitir, R Pearse, P Allen, M White.

Referee:

D O’Riordan.

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