Ballyhaunis 13 Castlebar 33
All in Castlebar eagerly awaited this clash in Ballyhaunis as it was the first under 18 league match of the season. This is a particularly young squad of players with only five of the entire squad overage for next season. With the emphasis being on performance rather than results the Castlebar coaches were very pleased that another step forward was attained with a win against much bigger and eager opposition.
Ballyhaunis have a wonderful new clubhouse on Doctors road. They play a very direct form of rugby which is difficult to deal with. Nigel Byrne who showed great pace to outstrip the cover and score under the posts settled Castlebar nerves with the try of the day. This settled the Castlebar and that try was followed by another well worked try set up by Ian McDonagh and Gavin Sullivan to put the excellent Enda Murphy in under the posts. Ballyhaunis responded to make the half time score 5 – 14.
The second half saw Ballyhaunis with the wind but Castlebar played the conditions very cleverly. Andrew Verity was very unlucky not to score with a tremendous blind side break but was held up just short of the line. Gavin Sullivan also was denied a good try when he was adjudged to have put a foot in touch. Further tries followed by Enda Murphy, Nigel Byrne and Roddy O’Connor. A pleasing aspect of play was the four conversions by outhalf Danny McGing.
There were many impressive performances on the day with all players getting their hands on the ball. Of note were the performance of the front row, Neil Coyle, Ian McDonagh and Colm O’Brien. Mark Staunton, Ciaran Flynn, Martin Gill and John O’Sullivan did all of the hard groundwork that created space for others; Staunton had his try disallowed for a forward pass call. Andrew Verity turned in a very accomplished display at scrum half and link well with Danny McGing. The threequarter line displayed excellent form with straight line running and good skills to record 3 tries for the back line. John Derrig had his best game for Castlebar proving to be a handful with good support running and a powerful sidestep. Shane Heffron and Colm Harte show the kind of pace that will be of use as the season progresses.
Castlebar are at home to Creggs next weekend in the league at 12:30.
Castlebar: R O’Connor, C Harte, S Heffron, N Byrne, J Derrig, D McGing, A Verity, E Murphy, M Gill, S Flynn, M Staunton, J O’Sullivan, C O’Brien, I McDonagh, N Coyle, D McManaman, F Brophy.