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Cobh Pirates U17 Match Report



Pirates under 17’s pulled off a heroic 12-5 win over Youghal in a lunch time kick off at the seaside venue .Front row coach Phil Soans mused, after the game , that in some games there are obvious heroes ,while in other games they are not so obvious .This game produced both types of hero .

Pirate’s resources, particularly in the front row, were stretched to the limit owing to the unavailability of Pat Bransfield and a niggling injury to Anthony Devlin-Buckley, which curtailed his involvement in the game, who have been the regular props all season. In addition, regular scrumhalf Glen O’Sullivan was unavailable owing to the serious injury he picked up in the last league encounter versus Fermoy. In the face of this adversity, the true character of the squad shone through to great effect with selfless displays from all concerned.

This was never more evident than in the case of Richard Desmond and John Roche who took on the tight head and loose head roles when called upon by coach Soans. There resilience against bigger and heavier opponents was a vital factor in securing the win which maintained the team’s one hundred per cent record in the league. Bravely, despite his injury, Anthony Devlin –Buckley started the game and along with hooker William Ireland took the game to Youghal early in the first half. The work of the front rowers together with pressure type rugby from Stephen Dargan and Brian Ronayne meant Pirates secured a foothold in the Youghal twenty two. From a Youghal line-out, the ball became loose to allow outside centre Shane Cullimore seize the opportunity and score in the corner after a superb arching run. Captain Adam Devlin was just wide with the conversion from a very difficult angle.

After twenty minutes, Anthony Devlin-Buckley had to succumb to his injury and came off to receive treatment from ex youth interprovincial and temporary first aider Killian Tighe. This meant a reshuffling of the pack with John Roche moving to loose head and Paul Histon moving to the flank. Pirates had to defend the “graveyard” end for the remainder of the half. During this spell, there was some stout defence from both backs and forwards with two separate tackles from number eight Stephen Hickey and Shane Cullimore being the highlights. In the end, just before half time, Pirates could not hold out any longer and Youghal scored from a rumbling maul following a five metre lineout at the “graveyard “ end. The conversion from wide out was missed by Youghal leaving the score at five a piece at half time.
Coaches , Mark Cronin ,Bernard Buckley ,Phil Soans and ex youth interprovincial Killian Tighe used the half time well to revive their troops and plan the tactics for the second half . After the turnaround, Pirates were playing to the “graveyard “ end and wily coach Cronin instructed his captain and outside half, Adam Devlin to play for territory and kick to the corners using the touchline as a “friend”. Devlin did not let his coach down and kept Youghal pinned back in their half of the pitch for long spells of the second half. During this period the makeshift props performed their heroics keeping their team in the hunt of a victory. Pirates were also served well in the lineout by number eight Stephen Hickey and second row Ryan Dillane. Dillane ,using all his Kerry genes , took some great two handed catches from the deadly accurate throws of hooker William Ireland as well as poaching some Youghal ball against the head . The rest of the pack and in particular Brian Ronayne and Stephen Dargan hunted down their opponents mercilessly. During this spell also , the back three of Killian Mc Kevitt , Cian Mc Namara (son of Ken) and Mark Hayes were alert to every danger posed by the Youghal back line and defended admirably using the drift defence favoured by coach Cronin . Centres Darragh Kelleher and Shane Cullimore chased and harried their opposite numbers and scrum half Brian Mc Carthy did not allow the Youghal link man any time on the ball.

Pirates were to be rewarded for all their endeavour with fifteen minutes to go. Anthony Devlin- Buckley re-entered the fray, after specialised treatment from Tighe, to add his considerable skills to the Pirates pack. Pirates were deep in their own twenty two when Hickey and Roche turned over Youghal ball leading to a penalty for Pirates .Quick thinking by half back McCarty resulted in a tapped penalty making its way to out half Devlin. Devlin made thirty metres with a great run , drawing the Youghal defence before releasing the supporting Cullimore . Outside centre Cullimore ,who had scored four tries in the previous league match against Fermoy , turned on the burners to avoid the covering defence to score under the posts after running from deep in his own half . Devlin added the extras to put Pirates 12- 5 to the good .

There were some scary moments in the remaining ten minutes or so as Pirates were forced to defend their lead . However, with the support of John Roche , Richard Desmond , David Hally ,Paul Histon ,and the watching Glen O’Sullivan , Captain Adam Devlin relished his chance of kicking the final penalty of the day in to touch to finish a great match between two evenly matched teams . Just before the end ex youth interprovincial Tighe was called upon to move faster than he had ever moved in his own playing days . With a melee developing close to his position on the touchline he moved quickly to defuse a potential flashpoint along with help from the Youghal coaches and Cobh touch judge Aaron Gilmore.

The mood of the players and coaches after the game was one of relief and joy after a heroic victory .Coaches Soans and Cronin felt that the squad as a whole had performed the heroics and are looking forward to their next league game versus Kanturk, in Kanturk, next week-end. This game is effectively a play off to establish the winners of their league section as Kanturk also remain unbeaten.

Please support the squad by travelling to Kanturk next Saturday. Details of the kick –off time will be available on Facebook, later in the week.

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