It may have been the final rugby weekend of the season but the lads of Claremorris RFC were certainly not in holiday mode as they made the long trip east to Terenure RFC and their inaugural U13 European tournament.
The Colts first game was against Leinster U13 champions Mullingar. The Leinster boys certainly made the better start and led 29-0 at half-time. The second half was a different story as the Claremorris boys came out all fired up. In the 20th minute after some excellent work by the Colts backs Liam Walsh crashed over to get the Mayo boys’ first try of the game. As the game entered its final minutes Brian Quinn ran through the Mullingar defence before being stopped 3 metres from the line, the ball got recycled and Thomas Morris touched down under the posts. Liam Walsh added the conversion as the game finished 29-14 to the Leinster champions. This game was notable for the performances of Jason Kelly, Colin Breakell, Thomas Morris, Jack Ronayne & Henry Keane.
Next up for the Colts were one of the aristocrats of Dublin rugby Old Belvedere. The Dublin lads were full of running and made a blistering start to be 17-0 up by half time. Again it was the second half before the Claremorris boys got going. It was 26th minute before the Claremorris got the score their performance deserved. Winger Thomas Morris made an excellent run through the Old Belvedere defence before passing to Phelim Browne who sent Finnian Brady over as the game finished 24-5 to Old Belvedere. Best for the westerners were Dimitry Trench, Liam Walsh, Roan Commons & Barry McGing.
The Colts final game of the day was against the Manchester team Wilmslow. In a rather one-sided game the Wilmslow boys were just too strong in all areas of the game and led 24-0 at half time. The second half was more even as the Colts kept going until the very end. The only Claremorris try came from the excellent Jack Ronayne after some fine work by Thomas Morris and Liam Walsh. The boys in red & white gave it their all with Ciaran Murphy, Daniel Murphy, Joseph Moran & David Hession doing most of the damage.
So day one was done and dusted & when the final places were calculated a Connacht derby was the outcome as Claremorris RFC was due to play Westport RFC at 9.15am the following morning.
As the sun broke over Terenure on day two both teams were determined to get their first win of the tournament. The game began at a frantic pace as both teams looked to lay down a marker. It was the Westport lads who got the scoreboard operator working first when Alex Farrell touched down in the corner for a 5-0 lead.
Back came the Colts and after some quick thinking by Brandon Walsh he fed the excellent Finnian Brady who levelled the scores at 5-5 with a magnificent try in the corner. As the first half entered its final moments Westport got their noses back in front. After securing possession from a lineout Westport’s Joe Dawson got the all-important try. The scores remained unchanged as the teams got ready for the change of ends. The second fifteen minutes was a tight affair and try as the Colts did they could not get across the Westport line. This meant it was a win for ‘The Bulls’ who would move on to the plate quarter finals. Although defeated the Colts had some fine performances particularly Dylan Jennings, Oisin Hunt, Joseph, McDonagh & Ruairi Merrick.
The Claremorris boys final game of the day was against Terenure RFC. The Mayo lads were determined to finish their day with a win and that they did. The game was barely three minutes old before Phelim Browne touched down after some excellent work by Stephen McGreal. The Colts doubled their lead five minutes later when Ruairi Merrick executed the perfect side step to cross for try number two. Liam Walsh added his second conversion for a 14-0 lead. There was no let up from the Colts when they added try number three after an excellent kick and gather from out half Liam Walsh. The final try of the game came after some excellent work between Stephen McGreal & Brian Quinn who sent Phelim Browne across the line for an excellent win by 26-5. This was an outstanding performance from the entire squad with Finnian Brady, Phelim Browne, Stephen McGreal, Adam Gilmore, John O’Connor, Brian Quinn & Brandon Walsh best for the Mayo lads.
This win meant the Claremorris contingent went home happy and were eager for a return to Terenure next May. A big well done to the Claremorris players, parents, coaches & supporters who did the club proud right throughout the weekend.
As the games concluded it was the French club of Canet Ste Marie who claimed glory in the cup competition by overcoming Monaghan RFC the home club of Irish international Tommy Bowe by 18-5. Well done to all teams who demonstrated all that was good about the game of rugby.
Claremorris Team: D. Murphy, J. O’Connor, B. Quinn, F. Brady, C. Breakell, P. Browne, R. Commons, A. Gilmore, D. Hession, D. Jennings, O. Hunt, H. Keane, J. Kelly, J. McDonagh, B. McGing, S. McGreal, R. Merrick, J. Moran. C. Murphy. J. Ronayne, B. Walsh, L. Walsh, D. Trench, T. Morris