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    AIB Cup semi-final

    Clon face Garryowen in historic AIB Cup semi-final

    Clonakilty and Garryowen are set to meet next Saturday, March 31 in Dooradoyle for the AIB Cup semi-final - the first time that the two Munster-based clubs will meet in an AIB competition.

    They previously met in the Munster League in September 2004, and on that occasion, Garryowen were victorious on a scoreline of 30-8.

    Clonakilty, the only Division Two side competing in the AIB Cup, surprised Terenure College with a 22-31 win in the quarter-finals to advance to the semi-finals, whilst Garryowen secured their place in the semi-final with a decisive three point win over Dublin outfit, St Mary's College.

    Currently in third place in the AIB League Division Two table, Clonakilty boast an excellent record having won three, drawn one and lost one of their AIB League fixtures against Munster clubs. They qualified for the AIB Cup by being one of five clubs to progress past the second round of this season's Munster Senior Cup and beat Greystones 8-0 in the AIB Cup's first round at Shannonvale on January 13.

    Garryowen, who are in fifth place in AIB League Division One table, reached the semi-final after beating Buccaneers 16-13 in the cup's first round. Garryowen also reached the semi-finals of the inaugural AIB Cup last year and on that occasion they lost 23-14 at home to St Mary's College.

    Clonakilty and Garryowen are one of three Munster clubs competing in the AIB Cup semi-finals next Saturday, along with Shannon who will travel to Deramore Park to take on Belfast Harlequins.

    The AIB Cup Final will be played on Saturday April 14, Dubarry Park, Buccaneers RFC, Athlone.
    Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale

    <DIV =story><?:namespace prefix = rte ns = "urn:rte-search" /><rte:>

    Shannon's dreams of a possible AIB League and Cup double were dashed at Deramore Park as Belfast Harlequins edged them 32-28 in a seven-try thriller.

    'Quins won through to the April 14 cup final as centre Darren Cave, hooker Stuart Philpott, scrum half Paul Marshall and winger Paul McKenzie crossed for tries.

    Ireland Under-20 international Niall O'Connor kicked 12 points as Andy Ward's side did just enough to book a decider with Garryowen.
    <DIV id=story_island></DIV>

    A 35th-minute try from captain Colm McMahon drew Shannon level at 17-17 for the interval. But scores from Marshall (52 minutes) and McKenzie (62) were decisive.

    Scorers: Harlequins: Tries: Darren Cave, Stuart Philpott, Paul Marshall, Paul McKenzie; Cons: Niall O'Connor 3; Pens: O'Connor 2. Shannon: Tries: Frankie McNamara, Colm McMahon, Les Hogan; Cons: Andrew Thompson 2; Pens: Thompson 3

    <DIV =story><rte:>

    It took two late tries from centre Conan Doyle for Garryowen to shrug off a determined Clonakilty side by 32-10 and qualify for the AIB Cup final.

    Garryowen will meet Belfast Harlequins in the final after Doyle's late efforts, one from an interception, saw them prevail at Dooradoyle.

    Clon only trailed by 13-10 at half-time but a number of knock-ons robbed them of try-scoring chances.
    <DIV id=story_island></DIV>

    Conor Kilroy and Declan Coppinger swapped tries in the first half, a Gary Cribb penalty levelled the sides at 13-13 on the hour, however tries from Eoghan Hickey and Doyle (2) saw the Limerick men through.

    Scorers: Garryowen: Tries: Conan Doyle 2, Eoghan Hickey, Conor Kilroy; Cons: Hickey 3; Pen: Hickey; Drop: Gerry Hurley.
    Clonakilty: Try: Declan Coppinger; Con: Gary Cribb; Pens: Cribb 2</rte:></DIV></rte:></DIV>


      feck the weekend is just full of good news[img]smileys/sad.gif[/img]
      Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale



        Sounds like it was a cracker in Belfast, Quins are turning around what looked like a terrible season at one point. Shannon can now concentrate on the league which knowing them they'll probably win should they make the top 4.



          Had the pleasure of attending the Garryowen Clonakilty game. Top class game between 2 sides playing good rugby on one of the best days of the year so far. Shame so few Limerick people showed up, they were nearly out-numbered by the West Cork contingent. Clonakilty, in particular, played some excellent rugby. Garryowen were very fortunate to win this game, despite what the scoreline might say. i don't think they'd have won the tie if they'd agreed to Clon's request and played the game in West Cork!

          Eoghan Hickey was very poor in defence. The Clonakilty 10-12-13 axis was stronger than the Garryowen one, which was surprising when you consider that Garryowen had Hickey at 10 and Doyle at 12. Not sure who was 13.

          'Owen no9, Gerry Hurley, was the star of the show and the difference between the teams. The Clon 10-12-13 were probably the next three best players, with No.13, Paul Dillon, being the best of them. He was also motm in the All Ireland Colleges final played earlier in the week.


            What are the chances of Gerry Hurley being promoted to the Munster
            set-up? There was a lot of talk about him a year ago or so.
            Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again (like picking Gordon D'Arcy) and expecting different results.
            Albert Einstein


              He has some form of a contract (development, I think) and caertainly looked a class act yesterday. But, as a caveat, he enjoys playing at this time of year, the good weather and hard pitches suit him. He certainly has a complete game, though some regular Garryowen observers complained that he has a tendancy to blow hot and cold.

              Based on his play yesterday, he certainly deserves a chance in a Munster jersey before the end of the season.



                Originally posted by Mcork
                What are the chances of Gerry Hurley being promoted to the Munster set-up? There was a lot of talk about him a year ago or so.

                No chance.....his pass is too good, he's a suberb kicker and he's from Munster......L Irish sniffing apparently


                  <DIV =LeadPara>RARELY has a scoreline offered a more distorted picture of 80 minutes of rugby. </DIV>
                  <DIV =TailParas>Having been the more aggressive and impressive side for almost the entire game, second division Clonakilty somehow found themselves at the wrong end of a hiding at the hands of Garryowen in the semi-final of the AIB Cup at Dooradoyle on Saturday. Garryowen now go through to the final against Belfast Harlequins, openly admitting Clonakilty were at least the equal of any visiting side to the venue this season. Cheered on by a large and vocal band of supporters, Clon rattled the first division side from the kick-off and, with the exception of the final five minutes when they conceded two converted tries in a vain attempt to play catch-up, were far more creative and hungry for another big scalp. "Clon are not close to the top of the division two table for nothing and would be in contention for promotion barring injuries," complimented Garryowen coach Paul Cunningham. "I expected this kind of commitment. They play a nice brand of rugby and I though they were very good today. They came up with nothing to lose and really put it up to us." Cunningham's counterpart, Terry Dillon, took the outcome on the chin and now turns his attentions to ensuring Clonakilty clinch their place in the second division play-offs. On this form, they have no reason to fear any team. "Garryowen are one of the top teams in division one and that's the kind of level that we aspire to" said Dillon. "We kept with them for a good bit of it and werent in any way overawed. We tried to play all the rugby and maybe we were a bit silly at times and a bit too cavalier. We werent here to make up the numbers. Were a nice side and when we play like that, were capable of taking on any team. Were mostly home-grown guys and one of those who isnt, Gary Cribb from New Zealand, has been here for four years or so and is beginning to talk with a west Cork accent." Burly centre Dave Lombard was a constant threat for Clon and his powerful burst from midfield laid on their first half try by flanker Declan Coppinger. Cribb converted and also kicked a penalty. The sides were level approaching the interval, with Conor Kilroy finishing off a good attack to score for Garryowen who also had a penalty and conversion by Eoghan Hickey. A drop goal by scrum-half Gerry Hurley, the cleverest footballer on the pitch, pushed Garryowen 13-10 ahead at the interval. After Cribb had levelled with an early second half penalty, Hurley produced a superb break on 62 minutes before delivering a delightful inside scoring pass to Hickey. Clon were then obliged to force the game, something they were doing nicely until they went a step too far in the 79th minute when Garryowen centre Conan Doyle intercepted a pass and scored between the posts. He nipped in for his second a few moments later, Hickey converted both, and Garryowen were through to final by a grossly flattering margin. GARRYOWEN: C. Kilroy; A. OLoughlin, C. Doyle, K. Hartigan, C. OBoyle; E. Hickey, G. Hurley; R. Brosnan, D. Varley, E. McGovern, M. Melbourne, D. Sheehan, P. Neville, P. Malone, A. Kavanagh. Replacements: E. Mackey and D. Sherry for Sheehan and Malone (both 53); A. Kingsley for Hurley (79). CLONAKILTY: D. Dillon, S. O&amp;rsquo;Donovan, P. Dillon, D. Lombard, J. O&amp;rsquo;Donnell; G. Cribb, C. Murphy; J. Knowles, A. Harte, D. Spencer, D. Whetton, M. OHea, E. Scannell, M. Keohane, D. Coppinger. Replacements: E. Knowles for J. Knowles (inj., 15); P. ONeill, L. Harte and B. Duggan for ODonovan, Keohane and A. Harte (all 77) Referee: E. O'Dowd (IRFU). </DIV>
                  <DIV =TailParas>© Irish Examiner, 2007. Thomas Crosbie Media, TCH </DIV>
                  Seas suas agus troid!



                    Originally posted by Mcork
                    What are the chances of Gerry Hurley being promoted to the Munster set-up? There was a lot of talk about him a year ago or so.

                    This was at the begining of this season too...when Stringer was away and TOL was playing crap...but he still didnt make it onto the pitch!Like E Reddan, he'll end up going abroad if he has any sense........

                    Garryowen only had 1 bad patch this season(we lost 5 in a row I think) after the senior cup win,and GH was injured early enough in that run(UCD away loss I think)...showed how important he is to the team....
                    Seas suas agus troid!



                      Harlequins make it two from two at home

                      Belfast Harlequins 32 Shannon 28

                      It appears that Deramore Park has become Shannon’s bogey grounds in recent years after they plunged to their third successive defeat at the hands of Belfast Harlequins on their own patch. Like their two previous losses this game went down to the wire, but the home side had done enough prior to the nail biting climax to secure their place in the AIB cup final. It’s a highly unlikely looking scenario one would think from a glance at the AIB league table , but it seems that the Black and Blue of Shannon gives them an extra incentive and they are one of very few sides to beat the 8 times league winners twice in the one season . This cup final is a bonus for them; they have more immediate concerns to contend with in the coming weeks, namely their survival in division one of the AIB league.

                      For Shannon their focus now rests firmly and solely on their ambition of retaining their crown. Saturday’s loss is a blow to their momentum on that path and if they are to succeed a more consistent performance will be required.

                      Ideal conditions saw the sparse attendance getting full value as both sides served up a 50 point cracker, and what they also saw was a home side that were far more efficient and clinical with their possession. Harlequins were in front from the start and despite heading into the break level at 17-17, Shannon never took the lead at any stage.

                      A blistering opening few minutes was indicative as to the nature of the game. Harlequins were celebrating Darren Cave’s try within 90 seconds of the start and could have been further ahead if Niall O’Connor added to his successful conversion with a penalty just three minutes later. A rather shell shocked looking Shannon were still only settling when Harlequins continued to press home their eagerness on the 10 minute mark but the visitors turned all out defence into attack when they successfully repelled the charge. Frankie Mc Namara went in under the posts after Dave Quinlan initially claimed a loose ball on the halfway line and excellent support play from youngster Ross O’Loughlin gave the scrum half a clear run to the line.

                      Niall O’Connor kicked a penalty as a direct result of Shannon’s failure to claim the restart but Thompson levelled matters again on 23 minutes with a penalty.

                      By this stage Shannon’s maul was highly effective and Harlequins attempts at halting their progress may well have meet with a more severe punishment than a few warnings received had they encountered a less patient referee. Harlequins were themselves most dangerous in open play and but for the alert Ross O’Loughlin, scrumhalf Paul Marshall’s clever run would have resulted in a try. However, they didn’t have to wait for long for the lead. Former Ireland U/21 captain Stuart Philpot made Shannon pay dearly for another poorly handled restart, this time from a missed penalty attempt.

                      Shannon responded well and before the half time break Colm Mc Mahon powered his way over the line after a big drive by his forward colleagues.

                      The second half was just as frenetic as the first with scores coming at regular intervals. Had Andrew Thompson been successful with a penalty a minute after the resumption then game may have taken a different direction, but Harlequins maintained their pace and Paul Marshall was not to be denied his try when after 52 minutes he darted over when Shannon had halted a surge beginning on the half way line.

                      Thompson punished yet another Harlequins indiscretion at the breakdown with a penalty and the leniency shown by referee Dave Keane coupled with a few interventions by his linesman didn’t best please the visitors.

                      Shannon went further behind when winger Paul McKenzie burst straight through the middle when he chose an excellent line of running to receive the equally excellent offload .

                      Panic was no


                        great effort this season by clon. injuries are taking their toll at this stage however - they could only field 19 players on saturday.