Killarney RFC win historic 3 in a row!
2017 – What a season!!
Killarney RFC Seniors created history last Sunday at Crageens, as they secured an historic ‘3-in-a-row’ and completed what has been the most prolific and successful period in the history of the club. The past few months have been nothing short of epic as we followed the lads across the county bounds and right across Munster as they pushed for promotion to Division 2 and cup glory.
Round 1: A slow start to the year in Division 3:
The season started poorly with a 31 – 10 loss to Castleisland in the much delayed McElligott Cup final of 2015/2016, which took place last September. In fact the first two matches in the league resulted in away losses to Dungarvan (11 – 6) and Mitchelstown (25 – 19) and things didn’t bode well for the season at that stage. The first home league game scheduled for Aghadoe against Fethard and District was postponed due to poor weather in October. The lads travelled to Fermoy for the first round of the Martin O’Sullivan Cup and came away with a win (15 – 25). The first home game proper was a visit of Corcha Dhuibhne, which saw Killarney win their first points in a closely fought thriller (30 – 27). Another road trip to Fermoy was next and a vital league win on the road ensued (12 – 15) giving the lads the third win in a row.
Next up, we hosted Bruff in the Munster Junior Cup at Aghadoe, losing out to the very strong Limerick side and after the Christmas break the focus returned to the Martin O’Sullivan cup with the postponed Round 2 match V Killorglin taking place at Ballymalis in Listry. This match signaled the start of a serious run of form for Ger Moynihan’s men. Killorglin were unbeaten all season and were confident of beating their neighbours however, Killarney ran out winners by 5 points in the end (18 – 23).
Three cracking league matches at Aghadoe with wins over Douglas-Carrigaline (22 – 5), a drubbing of Fethard & District (20 – 0) and a win over Killorglin (24 – 15). A loss to Dungarvan being the only blip in this period of the season with a 9 point loss in the Munster Junior Bowl competition.
Round 2: The push for promotion:
The impossible dream at the start of the season became a possibility as Killarney saw off a strong Killorglin side hellbent on promotion and the league title, in front of a bumper crowd at Aghadoe last February. In a match where the win for the visitors would see them promoted, a full contingent from Mitchelstown were awarded the League trophy as the Killarney scrum dominated all before it.
This result meant that the promotion playoffs were now on the fixture list. First up, the Ger Moynihan’s men travelled to Cork to take on Douglas-Carrigaline at Moneygourney on St. Patrick’s weekend in a cracking match. Alan Mulligan and Paul O’Sullivan were in top form, scoring tries as the visitors won 21 – 7 and got through to round 2.
Next up it was a visit from Dunarvan to Aghadoe for round 2 playoff. Having been knocked out of the Munster Junior Bowl by Dungarvan a month before, revenge was always on the cards, especially when promotion was on the cards. The lads duly obliged, beating the visitors in a packed Aghadoe by 2 points, with Paudie Sheahan coolly scoring a last gasp penalty.
Finally it was time to take on Killorglin, this time just over the road at Ballymalis, and the winner would win promotion to Division 2! Killorglin were sorely looking for revenge, having lost twice to Killarney already this season. However a cracking match ensued and the men in black and red won by a solitary point!
Round 3: The Martin O’Sullivan Cup:
Next up, the focus switched to the Martin O’Sullivan Cup Final and to Fethard and District. Another road trip as this game had to take place in Glanmire. Alan Mulligan scored a try with Paudie Sheahan on fire from the boot again and returning veteran Timmy Dudley crossed for the last try of the day to bring victory and the Cup across the county bounds!
This made it promotion AND a Cup win for the lads! Not a bad return on the season by Ger and the lads. However there was to be one more throw of the dice!
Round 4: The Galwey/Foley Cup:
This game was a slow one to start and the first half was pretty slow to get going by recent standards, however youngster Patrick Courtney crossed the line for Killarney’s first Try.
With Mike Sheahan kicking for his brother Paudie who picked up a knock, the conversion was missed, only just. However when James Allman crossed the whitewash in the second half for a fantastic try, Mike converted with a cracking kick against the wind.
In the end, Killarney ran out winners by 5 points in a 15 – 10 scoreline, well deserved winners on the day and sealing their place in history. It was fantastic to see the team pose with their youngest fans and the Cup.
The past season will go down in history as the season where despite the odds, and from a shaky start, the men in Black and Red stood up and were counted!
Very well done to Ger Moynihan and all the lads who contributed across the season. This fantastic run of success has been a testament to the hard work and commitment of all of Captain Ger Moynihan’s men. A very special mention must go to Ger who doubled as Head Coach across the season as well as playing as Flanker or Hooker as required. His unerring commitment and hard work built on the work of recent years and brought the seniors to the next level.
As well as this veterans such as prop Peter Kelly and out-half Paul O’Sullivan undoubtedly played some of the best rugby of their careers this season. The dirty word retirement gets mentioned but these lads have more in the tank! To be honest the pack has been unmatched over the past few months with stalwarts Alan Mulligan, Ollie O’Neill and Connie O’Leary leading from the front, while fly-half Paudie Sheahan was the picture of calm over the ball all season.
With young blood like Mike Sheahan, Patrick Courtney, David Corlett and Kareem Quasim and many more youngsters pushing for spots, things are truly looking up for our Seniors. The hard work has paid off. Onwards and upwards from here.
Celebrating in style!! (Video: Peter Kelly)
All pics: Christina Houlihan Tydings/Liam Murphy