North Munster under 16 league semi final
Ennis 8 - Garryowen 6
What was a very tense affair last Sunday afternoon, Ennis overcame Garryowen in the north Munster u16 league semi final only in the dying seconds of the game. Starting the better, the home side had early dominance in the possession stakes by some tremendous work by the forwards. After ten minutes full back, Cathal O’Brien, scored a scintillating try that he started and finished a move after he gathered a kick into his own 22 and counter attacked out wide. This phase of play involved three other backs with O’Brien taking the last pass to cut inside the cover and sprint 40 meters to touch down in the left corner to a despairing Garryowen tackle. David Mescall was unlucky to see the subsequent conversion kick go just outside the post to the right. Ennis’ ascendancy was short lived when, after a break in play to deal with an game finishing injury to prop, James Vaughan, Garryowen got some good field position were awarded a penalty for a deliberate knock-on that flyhalf, Harry Byrne, kicked to reduce the deficit and go into half time to a score line of 5-3.
With only a few minutes into the second half, Garyowen finally got their noses ahead with another penalty under the Ennis posts for an off side infringement. Byrne made it two from two. The game’s tempo dropped for much of the second half with Ennis making telling substitutes by bringing on Ryan Fitzpatrick to full back and moving O’Brien to the wing with Coleman McDonough freeing up Cathal Talty to move from the back row into first centre. Ennis also had to reorganise their pack when hooker, Jack Colleran, went off injured and Aaron Hennessy came on. As the game progressed to the final minutes it looked like Ennis were coming up short but they battled into the Garryowen 22 and following a Garryowen offside were awarded a penalty just outside the 22 and five meters in from the touch line. With time now elapsed, David Mescall kept his cool and struck a sweet penalty to bisect the post to give Ennis a last gasp win to great excitement. Overall Ennis were the better side on the day and deserved the win and with any game of tight margins, it is always the team who plays to the final whistle that gives themselves the best possible chance to taste victory.
Ennis had some immense performances from Vaughan until he went off and his replacement Conor Hassett continued his good work, with man of the match, Alan Culligan, sniping and pinching possession in the tight. The back three of Darren O’Loughlin, Cathal O’Brien, Stephen Hogan were always a treat out wide with outside centre, Niall O’Brien spring boarding them into action and the substitutes that came on brought a fresh imputes to the game when Ennis needed it.
Ennis will now play Young Munster in the final this coming Sunday with a time and venue to be announced as yet.
Ennis: Cathal O’Brien, Darren O'Loughlin, Niall O'Brien (c), Mark Cabey, Stephen Hogan, David Mescall, Eoin O'Ceallaigh, Hugh Black, Jack Colleran, James Vaughan , Ronan Corey, Gavin McGonnagle, Alan Culligan, Cathal Talty, Kealan Butler; Conor Hassett for Vaughan, Colman McDonagh for Cabey, Ryan Fitzpatrick for Hogan, Aaron Hennessy for Colleran, Mark Fitzgerald, Charles Ameyan-Gyamfi, Jason Warren.