Dara fall short in thriller
It was a pulsating contest where either side could have prevailed up to the final moments.
There will be a huge sense of regret among the Cill Dara panel this week when they reflect on their 25-32 loss to North Midland rivals, Clondalkin, last Saturday in their Leinster League Div. 1A encounter.
It was a pulsating contest where either side could have prevailed up to the final moments but old failings that have dogged Cill Dara this season resurfaced to aid Clondalkin seal this crucial victory.
Indiscipline at key moments, a sin-binning and a lack of composure at try-scoring opportunities were evident again in a Cill Dara team that have, these faults aside, been playing magnificent attacking rugby this season.
It all started so brightly. Ten minutes into the game and a fumbled pass by the Clondalkin centres allowed Morea Pease to skilfully pick up the ball and race unopposed to the try line. Kavanagh missed the conversion but Dara led, 5-0.
Clondalkin kicked a penalty within minutes to bring the score to 5-3 before stretching their lead with a converted try after a chip through was poorly dealt with by the Dara defence; 5-10 to the visitors.
Two successful penalties by Kavanagh in the 24th and 26th minutes restored Cill Dara’s lead and they took the one point advantage into the half-time break, 11-10. At this stage, the home side were good value for their lead and were looking the more attack-minded team. Ex-Leinster U.18 player, James O’Loughlin, was relishing his place at full-back in the senior team and looks an exciting prospect.
Cill Dara had been dominating their opponent’s scrum in the game and this paid dividends 10 minutes into the second half when they disrupted a Clondalkin put in, allowing Damian Broughall to pick the ball, draw the defensive cover and pass to Barry Waters to score. Kavanagh converted the try, 18-10.
The Cill Dara out half had another opportunity to stretch the lead by 3 points but missed a relatively simple penalty kick. Nonetheless, the home support had every reason to feel confident at this point.
However, the game turned on a moment of indiscipline and the sin-binning of a Cill Dara forward. To be fair to the visiting Munster referee, who had a fine game, he was given little option. Clondalkin took the initiative and scored 17 unanswered, including two converted tries and a penalty, during the ten minutes Cill Dara were short a player. It was a scenario that has, unfortunately, become too familiar this season.
With only a few minutes remaining, Clondalkin scored their fourth bonus point try and a rout of the Kildare team looked likely. However, this Cill Dara team has an abundance of pride. A multi-phase attack in the 75th minute saw Richie Bond touch down. Kavanagh converted and Dara were within 7 points, 25-32. The losing bonus point was secured but Cill Dara now sensed that a draw was achievable.
All momentum ended in the final minutes, though, when a horrendous illegal tackle on Paudie Wall saw the Clondalkin substitute centre red carded and play held up while Wall received medical attention. The game petered out after this and finished with a 25-32 Clondalkin win.
The league breaks for a fortnight and will resume on November 29th when Cill Dara make the tricky trip to Monkstown, now coached by ex-Newbridge mentor, David Mahon.
Cill Dara RFC Team: 1. Richie Bond, 2. Des Payne, 3. Eoin Donegan, 4. Bill O’Shea 5. Jack Hagan, 6. Chris Moore, 7. Paudie Wall, 8. Damian Broughall, 9. Barry Waters, 10. Jamie Kavanagh, 11. Greg Burns, 12. Kevin Dingley, 13. Morea Pease, 14. Tom Cleary, 15. James O’Loughlin.