Tralee RFC get early win in Mun­ster Ju­nior Cup

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - SPORT -

BANK OF IRE­LAND MUN­STER JU­NIOR CUP Tralee 40 Dun­gar­van 17

TRALEE got their Mun­ster Ju­nior Cup cam­paign off to the best pos­si­ble start when they ran in six tries past a lim­ited, but very spir­ited Dun­gar­van side at O’Dowd Park last Sun­day.

The match was played on the high pitch which meant that there was a strong wind blow­ing straight down the field, although con­di­tions were per­fect for rugby oth­er­wise.

The Tralee faith­ful ex­pected a very tight con­test as Dun­gar­van are cur­rently in fourth place in the J3 league ta­ble, but the home side showed why they are rid­ing high in first po­si­tion with a con­fi­dent and as­sured per­for­mance that Dun­gar­van couldn’t match.

At times some of the Tralee han­dling and sup­port play was of the top drawer va­ri­ety, and Dun­gar­van didn’t have the pace or abil­ity to match their op­po­nents’ en­deav­our.

Dun­gar­van’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact that they trav­elled with just 16 play­ers, although they did show a spirit to keep plug­ging away even when their cause was lost.

The Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions seemed to be tak­ing their toll on Tralee early on in the game and, with the wind at their backs, Dun­gar­van soon took a 3-0 lead thanks to a penalty from the boot of David Hickey.

Eoin O’Car­roll’s sense of ad­ven­ture and dancing feet promised bet­ter times for Tralee. Dun­gar­van con­tin­ued to use the wind to their ad­van­tage how­ever, but Tralee de­fended well when they needed to. They needed a mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion to set­tle them, and it came in the 25th minute when O’Car­roll gath­ered the ball deep in­side his own half and showed a clean pair of heels to scorch past the Dun­gar­van de­fend­ers for a great try, which Jack Quil­ter con­verted.

Tralee be­gan to as­sert their dom­i­nance in the scrums forc­ing Dun­gar­van into a change in their front row. Their re­place­ment made lit­tle dif­fer­ence, and af­ter a penalty yielded a good line out, the ball was spread quickly across the back line be­fore Shane Sul­li­van touched down for a su­perb try.

Touch­down num­ber three came four min­utes later when Nes­san

Crean fin­ished of some more slick han­dling by the backs, and with the con­ver­sion suc- cess­fully slot­ted over, Tralee led by 19-3.

Dun­gar­van re­fused to wilt and scored soon after­wards fol­low­ing a back row move from the base of a scrum. There was still time for more drama in the first half, and just be­fore the whis­tle, Fearghail O Nual­lain scored af­ter he was put through by a lovely kick from Jack Quil­ter, to see Tralee lead by 26-10 at the half time break.

Tralee con­tin­ued to play the more en­ter­pris­ing rugby in the sec­ond half and some quick han­dling saw Nes­san Crean go over for his sec­ond try of the game. Tralee lost Gavin Peev­ers to the sin bin af­ter a high tackle, and for the next 10 min­utes Dun­gar­van pro­ceeded to dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings. Their pres­sure

even­tu­ally paid off when a penalty was dis­patched deep into Tralee ter­ri­tory and hooker Dou­glas Petit showed some silky skills to dummy his Tralee op­po­nents for a good try.

Dun­gar­van cen­tre Alan McMa­hon was con­tin­u­ing to cause Tralee prob­lems, but some ex­cel­lent cover de­fence kept the Water­ford side out. The fi­nal nail in Dun­gar­van’s cof­fin came in the 68th minute of the game when the fly­ing Fearhail O Nual­lain in­ter­cepted an at­tempted Dun­gar­van pass in his own 22 and sprinted the length of the field to score, to the de­light of the Tralee sup­port­ers.

Tralee’s Martin Stack in ac­tion against Dun­gar­van in O’Dowd Park last week­end Photo by Dom­nick Walsh / Eye Fo­cus

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