BANDON won’t get carried away with being the Christmas number one this year, insists Tim Crowley.
The West Cork club finish 2017 in top spot in Munster Junior League Division 1 after a terrific recent away win (13-7) against Limerick side Richmond, who were the league leaders heading into this clash.
The end result is that Bandon are now sitting on top of the league at the halfway point with no more league games until early January.
It’s very tight, however, with only two points separating the top four sides, as Clonmel, Richmond and Kilfeacle are all well in the hunt for the league crown, too.
‘It’s important to take points off the top teams but we are under no illusions about the size of the job after Christmas and we won’t be getting carried away at all,’ Crowley insists.
‘It’s great to be on top, of course, but there are only a few points between the teams and one bad result could see you slip down. It’s all to play for.
‘We know that Christmas is only the half-way point and there is a lot to play for when we start back so we’re not getting carried away at all.’
Richmond had been the only undefeated side in the league before last Sunday’s game and they did take an early 7-0 lead. A Rob O’Sullivan penalty for Bandon reduced the deficit at half time, 7-3, before the visitors scored two second-half tries, from Michael Beecher and Gearoid Crowley, to win 13-7 and take home a massive four league points back to West Cork.
‘We travelled up there knowing that we needed to come out of there with nothing short of a win,’ Crowley said.
‘We were fully focussed, we went about our business well, we performed well both going forward and in defence, and I think we were worthy
winners in the end.
‘We were very happy with our defence even though we were disappointed with the try we left in after 15 minutes – but that was the only scored we conceded all game
‘We had set a goal of trying to keep them scoreless.
‘After that our defence held very strong and they never really threatened our line from there on out.’
Michael Beecher and scrum half Santiago Gonzalez were two impressive performers for Bandon on a day where the pack played well, set pieces went according to plan, as did the line-out and scrummaging; it was a good all-round performance against one of the top teams in the league.
And for the second week in a row, Bandon came from behind to get a result, having battled back against Kilfeacle the previous weekend.
‘We are learning in every game,’ Crowley explained.
‘Maybe at the start of the season we might have panicked a small bit if we went behind but we’ve held our nerves well in the last few games and we seem to be able to kick on going into the last 20, 25 minutes.
‘Our sideline never panics, they make the right decisions and that feeds into us on the pitch.’
So, a year that saw Bandon win the Munster Junior Cup back in April finishes with them leading the league heading into the second half of the season.
‘It’s nice to be sitting up there over the Christmas period and a nice way to finish off the year – but, and I don’t want to be too pessimistic, there is nothing won at all yet. It’s all to play for. We’ll keep the head down, battle away and hope we can keep the good run going in the new year,’ Crowley said.
And in their first game of 2018, in early January, Bandon welcome defending champions Clonmel, who are second in the table, to Old Chapel; a cracking way to kick off the new year and another huge test for this Bandon team.