BEFORE this Munster Junior Cup Round 4 local derby, Bandon manager Paul Barr said this game would tell him how far his side has progressed this season.
Bandon had lost their Division 1 league opener against local rivals Clonakilty in late September, but five months on, the boys in blue got one over on their West Cork neighbours last Sunday to advance to the last eight of the junior cup.
Barr was impressed by the character his charges showed as they came back from 10-0 down in the first half.
‘I’m very happy with the performance, I thought Clon were very good, this was a genuine test and we passed it,’ the Bandon boss said.
‘The players showed great character and desire – and that is very encouraging. This was a collective effort between the older guys and the younger players, and we’re delighted with the win.’
Playing with the wind in the first half, visitors Clon took control with unconverted tries from Darragh O’Connor and Ruslan Dorogan to move into a 10-0 lead. But the home side hit back with two tries in the first half from Gearoid O’Leary and Olan Crowley, and one conversion by Ben Ridgeway, to hold a 12-10 advantage at half-time – that was crucial, according to Paul Barr.
‘This was a very good game of rugby that could have gone either way,’ Barr pointed out.
‘We went 10-0 down, Clon had the wind in that first half and we struggled to defend in periods in that first half – but then we scored a very good try off a set-piece and suddenly the gap was down to three points.
‘I think that took the wind out of Clon’s sails a little bit and we scored again quite quickly after that to go ahead. When you’re playing into the breeze in the first half but find yourself ahead at half time, that’s a big boost.’
In the second half, impressive outhalf Ridgeway, who was immense in the first half, kicked four penalties for Bandon, as they kept Clon at bay. Still, Clon were well in this game as Rob Howick scored their third try, converted by Eoghan Deasy, leaving just seven points between the sides.
Bandon held out, inspired by experienced players like Ridgeway, Mike Murphy and Enda Phelan, and young guns like Ciarán Roberts at scrumhalf and Joshua Brady.
Bandon are into the last eight and will face the winner of the upcoming game between Kinsale and Garryowen. Both Bandon and Clonakilty are back in Division 1 league action this Sunday as Bandon host Skibbereen in another local derby while Clonakilty are away to league leaders Kilfeacle.
Bandon: Gearoid O’Leary, Olan Crowley, 1 try each; Ben Ridgeway, 4 penalties, 1 conversion.
Clonakilty: Darragh O’Connor, Ruslan Dorogan, Rob Howick, 1 try each; Eoghan Deasy, 1 conversion.
Bandon: Matthew Crowley, Olan Crowley, Macros Langleyze, Gearoid O’Leary, Mark Bateman, Ben Ridgeway, Ciarán Roberts, Michael Murphy, Scott Kingston, Macro Prette, Tadhg Galvin, Enda Phelan, Joshua Brady, Ben Donegan, Tom Ferguson.
Replacements: James Collins-O’Brien, Dermot Robinson, Peter Skuse, Darragh Coffey, Sean Galvin.
Clonakilty: Sean Madden, Peter Shallow, Mark Purcell, Graham Murray, Darragh O’Connor, Eoghan Deasy, Shane Deasy, Shane Magnier, Cathal O’Regan, Ruslan Dorogan, Michael O’Hea, Donal McSweeney, Colin Deane, Olan Deane, Courtney Canning.
Replacements: Matthew McCarthy, Jack Ryan, Gerard McCarthy, Alex O’Mahony, Robert Howick.