Dara endeavour earns right reward
On a day when ducks ran for shelter, two teams and a handful of hardy supporters braved the chilling wind and lashing rain at Beech Park for Saturday’s Leinster League Division 1A game between Cill Dara and their visitors, Clondalkin.
The ensuing match was short on quality but the endeavour of the players (and the referee) has to be applauded.
Nonetheless, the end of season records will show that Cill Dara won 9-3 with all their scores coming from the boot of out-half, Jack Ryan, who kicked penalties in the 3rd, 12th and 40th minutes. This gave the home side a 9-0 lead at half-time.
If the first half was a slugfest, the second forty minutes was a series of set-pieces and penalties interspersed with moments of play. Clondalkin managed to pull back three points when Karl Jebb converted a penalty in the 50th minute but Clondalkin's hopes of ending Cill Dara’s unbeaten home record ceased with ten minutes remaining.
A combination of vexation with the weather, the intermittent play and, most likely, Clondalkin frustration with an impregnable Cill Dara defence led to tensions spilling over. The result was a red card for the Clondalkin number 8 and a yellow card for his Cill Dara counterpart. Whatever slight momentum the game had, ended. Not that Cill Dara cared. The final whistle confirmed the win, continued an unbeaten home streak and all but guaranteed Cill Dara’s place in Leinster’s top junior league for next season. The Kildare boys will remain in third place until the league resumes in mid-February.
Attention now turns to next Sunday and the first round of the Provincial Towns Cup, sponsored by Contract Cleaners, where Cill Dara make the trip to Streamstown in Tipperary to face Roscrea. The John Lillis-coached Division 2A side will provide tricky opposition as league form and placing is always a moot point in Irish rugby’s oldest competition. Towns Cup history is littered with “the best team never to have won the cup” tales. Although junior rugby observers have picked this tie out as the likely shock of the round, Cill Dara should have too much guile in their backline provided they can secure a good platform at scrums and line-outs. As the cliché goes: “In rugby, forwards win matches and the backs decided by how much.”
Cill Dara RFC Team: 1. Wes Kavanagh, 2. Connie Heavey, 3. Kevin Kennedy, 4. Billy O'Shea, 5. Shane McNamara, 6. Darragh Kennedy, 7. Cormac Corcoran, 8. Damian Broughall, 9. Barry Waters, 10. Jack Ryan, 11. Paudie Wall, 12. Jake Holland, 13. Miles Medlicott, 14. Tom Cleary, 15. Paddy Ryan.