West Cork’s hat-trick heroes

November 21st, 2020 9:50 PM

By Con Downing

Skibbereen’s Gavin Coombes scores the first of his three tries for Munster against the Ospreys despite the tackle of Gareth Thomas, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler and Hanno Dirksen during the Guinness PRO14 match between Munster and Ospreys at Thomond Park in Limerick on Sunday. (Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile)

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TWO West Cork sportspeople scored notable hat-tricks in their respective codes on Sunday last.

First up was Beara’s Áine Terry O’Sullivan, who netted three goals for the Cork ladies’ football team against Cavan in the TG4 LGFA All-Ireland senior championship. Then, Skibbereen’s Gavin Coombes got a rarely-achieved three tries in a game for Munster against Ospreys in the Guinness PRO14 at Thomond Park in Limerick.

Áine, who earlier this year led the West Cork football team to senior county success in Cork, was once again an inspirational figure in Sunday’s match, played in Birr, Co Offaly as she scored 3-1 of Cork’s 7-9 tally against a dogged Cavan team, who scored two early goals and were only behind by 3-4 to 2-2 at the break.

However, the Cork ladies found their rhythm in the second half, defended better and added on another four goals and five points to just four points from Cavan to emerge victorious on a final score of 7-9 to 2-6. See match report, reaction and analysis on pages 6 and 7.

Cork are now into the All-Ireland semi-final in which they will face much stiffer competition against Galway on Sunday, December 6th next.

Meanwhile, in Limerick last Sunday afternoon, Munster maintained their best start to a season since 2008 with a fifth consecutive league win, which put them eight points ahead of Scarlets – and with a game in hand – at the top of the Guinness PRO14 Conference B league table.

‘Man of the Match’ was Skibbereen native Gavin Coombes, who secured a hat-trick of tries as Munster put the once-mighty Ospreys to the sword, beating them 38-22 to secure a bonus point win. Playing at No 8, Gavin backed up his earlier league performances with his best of the season so far and has put his hand up for squad selection for the upcoming European Champions Cup games next month.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Munster head coach Johann Van Graan said: ‘Coombsie has been knocking on the door for the last two years. We had a good chat and I said “this is your year.”

‘His ball-carrying and all-round fitness and hunger has been excellent since the start of the season. That’s what it’s all about.

‘With CJ Stander away at international rugby, he has – literally – pushed his way into a starting position and he is going to be pretty hard to keep out of the 23,’ added Van Graan.

Other West Cork players to feature on the Munster team last Sunday were winger Darren Sweetnam from Dunmanway and Kealkil brothers Fineen Wycherley, who started in the second row, and Josh Wycherley who came on as a second half sub at loose-head prop.


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