Nenagh Ormond captain Jonathan Healy pictured in action.
Clayton Stewart thundered over a terrific penalty from the half way line to present Nenagh Ormond with their first division 2A Ulster Bank League win in five games at New Ormond Park on Friday night.
Ulster Bank League Division 2A
Nenagh Ormond 15 Galway Corinthians 13
Although Nenagh Ormond scooted into a 12-6 interval advantage Galway Corinthians defended brilliantly in the second half and were good value for their one-point lead as this contest ticked into injury time. Indeed, Nenagh Ormond will admit that the home side rarely played well in this league encounter and were reasonably fortunate to get the win. That said Clayton Stewart did spectacularly well to rescue the situation with the last play of the game in the fourth minute of injury time.
Prior to Friday night Nenagh Ormond had lost four successive games in division 2A of the Ulster Bank League and needed to find their form fast and thereby avoid dropping out of the play-off places. Indeed, this win is a welcome one and has helped the Tipperary outfit back into third place with two rounds of games to play.
League leaders Malone and second-placed Highfield have set the pace in the division this season - Malone appear assured of automatic promotion while Highfield have a play-off berth sewn up. The second, third and four-placed side in the division also progress to the play-offs meaning that, essentially, three teams (namely Nenagh Ormond, Cashel RFC & City of Armagh) are battling it out for the two remaining places.
Both Nenagh Ormond and Cashel RFC will return to action in the penultimate round on Saturday, April 7th when both Tipperary clubs are at home: Cashel host Blackrock College and Queens University pay a visit to Nenagh (2.30pm).
In the final round on April 14th Cashel RFC face Galwegians away from home and Nenagh Ormond take on champions-elect Malone (away).
Although reduced to fourteen men early in the opening half on Friday night a resolute and highly motivated Galway Corinthians team took the lead via a penalty before Nenagh Ormond responded with a try when Kevin O’Flaherty grabbed a line out and found John Coffey who plunged over.
Then, while Galway Corinthians shipped another sin-binning, Nenagh Ormond were presented with a penalty try after a series of infringements from the visitors who struggled to contain the sustained Nenagh pressure deep inside their own 22.
Prior to the break Galway Corinthians missed their second penalty of the opening half before finally reducing the interval deficit to six points (12-6).
Galway Corinthians defended brilliantly in the second half and pieced together some notable attacks. Indeed, twelve minutes into the second period Nenagh centre Peter Coman conjured a terrific tackle to deny Corinthians a try while Clayton Stewart’s deliberate knock on in the 56th minute led to the sin-binning of the out-half.
Nenagh Ormond struggled to contain Galway Corinthians thereafter. And, following some sustained pressure in the 63rd minute Corinthians were denied a try when held up over the line, but from the subsequent five-metre scrum the Galway lads made no mistake and took a deserved 13-12 lead.
Once returned to the full complement Nenagh threatened on a couple of occasions to re-claim the lead, but the home side appeared a little anxious on the ball and Clayon Stewart, of all people, knocked on at an inopportune moment in the 73rd minute when Ormond enjoyed an overlap inside the Corinthians’ 22.
Then, with three minutes to play, Nenagh were fortunate to survive when a promising Corinthians counter petered out when a bad bounce following a smart kick through from the visitors found touch.
Finally, Corinthians coughed up a penalty in the fourth minute of injury time (not rolling away) and Clayton Stewart steadied himself before booting over a terrific effort from the half way line.
NENAGH ORMOND RFC
Nenagh Ormond RFC: David Gleeson, Ger O’Gorman, Peter Coman, Derek Corcoran, Nicky Irwin, Clayton Stewart, Eoin Gardiner, Fergal Brislane, Conor Muldoon, John Coffey, Kevin Seymour, Kevin O’Flaherty, Jonathan Healy, John O’Flaherty, John Hayes. Replacements: (HT) Aidan Doyle for Fergal Brislane, (49th) Kevin O’Gorman for Kevin O’Flaherty, (56th) Willie Coffey for Eoin Gardiner, (74th) Andrew Hodgins for John Hayes.
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