Relentless Clongowes Fall Short
The Clongowes JCT drew something of a short straw when faced with favourites Blackrock in their first outing last Friday (February 6th). It was a match that bore some resemblances to last year’s SCT final between the two schools, and ‘Clongowes Digest’ was lucky to have the talented pen of Barry Murphy (Poetry – and no stranger to these pages) to tell us what happened…
This was truly a game of two halves.
The Clongowes JCT players can hold their heads high after a brave performance in a match, which they entered as underdogs. From the off Clongowes shook off that tag and stated that they were here to play ball as centre Ben O’Shea scattered bodies in front of him with a scintillating line-break that marked him out as one to watch. Soon afterwards he shot them in front with a penalty in the fifth minute. ‘Rock were stunned. They responded positively however by moving the ball right where wing Adam Thompson showed a clean pair of heels to score the game’s first try. Caputo’s conversion made it 7-3 in the 12th minute.
Clongowes’ discipline would soon be their undoing as mistakes were punished by big gains. Caputo slotted three soft penalties to widen the gap to 16-3 as the holders took control of the game. The Purple and Whites had the measure of Blackrock in close – it was when the game moved beyond there that they struggled. The Blackrock interplay was taking them forward and, after some slick passing, they ran in a second and Caputo added the extras for 23-3 at the break.
However, the second half would belong to Clongowes.
Knowing they had to come out fighting and spurred on from their peers in the stands, they began the second period with a bang. With the game hinging on the next score our impressive second row Dan Beggs narrowed the gap as he brushed off two defenders to crash down at the posts. O’Shea’s conversion made it 23-10 in the 35th minute. The physicality of the Clongowes forwards was starting to take hold with flankers Liam El Sibai and Sean Ojejinmi, number eight Matthew Martin and Beggs all making inroads. The territory belonged to Clongowes; the lead to Blackrock and they adopted a negative brand of play as they shut up shop to defend their way to the finish line as the minutes moved on.
Clongowes stayed on point. They pitched camp on the Blackrock line and, after a momentous effort, replacement David O’Connor squeezed through for a try – but it was too late. When it had seemed easy to give up, Clongowes stuck to their task and clocked up 12 unanswered points in the second half to show that this was by no means a one sided game.
Barry Murphy (Poetry)