SKIBBEREEN moved up to seventh in the Munster Junior League Division 1 as they secured their second win in a row last Sunday, beating Waterpark at the Showgrounds.
This was something of a nail-biter, with the outcome in doubt right up until the final whistle, Waterpark’s pressure ultimately failing to yield the try they needed – though it must be said that Skibb were lucky not to yield a penalty-try. However, defeat would have been harsh on the hosts, who were the better side and enjoyed the better of the play over the 80 minutes.
Coming into this game on the back of a 10-0 win away to Old Christians the previous week – and before that a good victory against Ballincollig in the Junior Cup – Skibbereen began the game well generally and centre Denis McCarthy put them on top with a pair of penalties. However, hopes of going in at half-time with a 6-0 lead were dashed just before the break when Waterpark winger David Pierce crossed over for a try, though the visitors weren’t able to convert.
Upon the resumption, Skibbereen put their opponents’ defence under serious pressure as the ball was worked through the phases. More than once, there were opportunities to extend their lead again with penalties, but unfortunately for McCarthy he wasn’t able to find the target, coming closest with an effort which came back off an upright. A change of tack from Skibb, kicking to the corners, didn’t fully pay off either as Waterpark were able to steal some of the hosts’ lineouts.
With just a point between the teams, Waterpark always had a chance to seize the advantage but it was Skibbereen who managed to get the game’s next score, as their backline made the most of a rare opportunity. A lovely passage of play found the ball worked to Donal Collins in space on the wing and, while he still had work to do, he did it at such a speed that Waterpark couldn’t cope, allowing him to touch down in the corner. The extra points weren’t added, but Skibbereen still had a six-point lead with time running out.
Needing a converted try to win, Waterpark were not found wanting and managed to power their way inside the Skibbereen 22. The home team’s defensive strategy provided the opposition with a succession of penalties, but one each occasion Waterpark turned down the option of kicking for three points. Time and again, the referee formed and reformed the scrums and the prospect of a penalty-try must have been close to reality but in that final scrum a Skibbereen boot connected to the loose ball and sent it on its way to the halfway line. From there, Skibbereen won a penalty and sent the ball to touch to ensure that they claimed the points.
While they might have been denied in the closing stages, hanging on for the win will have boosted Skibbereen’s confidence further after the previous two wins. Next up for Skibbereen in the league is a trip to Limerick to face Newcastlewest, with that game taking place on February 14th.
Skibbereen: Mike Calnan, Dave Jennings, Vinny White, Kevin Coombes, Declan Coppinger, Peter Marshall, Ivan Jennings, Kieran Shannon, Mike Limrick, Matt Walsh, Donal Collins, Eric Donnelly, Denis McCarthy, Denis O’Driscoll, Dave Shannon.
Replacements: Ian Hurley, Greg O’Mahony, Jack O’Driscoll, Rory Hone.