Killarney RFC Win Martin O’Sullivan Cup – Match Report
Martin O’Sullivan Cup Final – Irish Independent Park, Cork:
Killarney RFC 20 Killorglin RFC 14 – Report by Gerard Sugrue, pics by Liam Murphy
Killarney’s captain Peter Kelly raised the cup and then stood on the table to announce to supporters that age
…is just a number. In a closely fought and at times nerve-wracking encounter at Irish Independent Park in Cork, Killarney triumphed over their neighbours Killorglin.
Killorglin had the better of the early minutes and had a chance to open the scoring on 6 mins with a penalty. Although missed, another penalty on 8 mins was kicked to the corner and despite some desperate defence from Killarney, Killorglin opened the scoring with a try in the left corner at the Dolphin end of the ground. An excellent touchline conversion left Killorglin ahead by 7-0 after 10 minutes.
Killarney finally got the scoreboard moving 16 minutes with a penalty by Oisín O’Shea to leave the score at Killarney 3 Killorglin 7. Killarney began to apply pressure and centre Mike Sheahan burst through on 20 minutes to score a fine try with O’Shea’s conversion leaving Killarney ahead 10-7. On 30 minutes Killarney had a chance to increase their lead with a penalty for a high tackle but failed to move the scoreboard.
A dynamic attack along the right touchline just failed as the final pass to Aaron Jones went astray – from the resulting scrummage Killarney appeared to have the Killorglin scrum going backwards but the referee disagreed on who was to blame for the collapse and Killorglin were able to clear their lines.
The tide then turned and Killorglin had two opportunities to level the game. Firstly, with a penalty for offside – just inside the Killarney half – which dropped just short. Killarney failed to clear decisively and continued Killorglin pressure led to a second penalty – this time for not rolling away. However, again the attempt was unsuccessful. Halftime was called with the score at Killarney 10 Killorglin 7.
Killarney opened the second half the better but gained no immediate reward until a good team move and good support saw the ball pass through several sets of hands before Paudie Sheahan scored in the corner at the Dolphin end. The difficult conversion was not successful but Killarney now pushed their lead out to 15-7.
Needing at least two scores, Killorglin exerted huge pressure and Killarney’s offending brought a yellow card for Paul O’Sullivan on 56 minutes. With the man advantage, Killorglin kept huge pressure on Killarney and finally broke through in the 64th minute with a try in the left corner at the Sunday’s Well end. Another excellent touchline conversion brought Killorglin within a point. Killarney 15 Killorglin 14.
The remaining 15 minutes were tense. An excellent break by scrum half Paul O’Sullivan after his short ‘breather’ had the Killorglin defence in disarray and super support play saw Brendan Fuller score in the corner on 72 minutes. The difficult conversion – which could have seen Killarney push the lead out to two scores – was unsuccessful so the lead remained at a precarious 6 points.
Killorglin exerted huge pressure for the remainder of the game. Killarney resisted with some tremendous defence albeit with the loss of substitute hooker to a yellow card and saw lock Darren stretchered off with a nasty knee injury (thankfully he returned to take part in the celebrations). Despite huge territorial pressure by Killorglin, Killarney’s defence was able to force errors and get some respite. A final attack by Killorglin ran out of room on the right touchline and when the winger was unable to keep the ball infield the referee blew for the end.
Final score: Killarney 20 Killorglin 14