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Cobh Pirates Go one step closer to promotion



pirates4001121Cobh Pirates RFC v Abbeyfeale RFC

Entering into this much anticipated game Pirates were 4 points behind the visitors on 46 points, below them was Kinsale on 38 and Thurles on 37. Thurles however have games in hand.

The conditions were far from ideal in the Paddock, with a steady heavy drizzle making underfoot and ball handling difficult. The game did not let the large attendance down in its intensity, which was apparent from the kick off, by Cobh no 10 Eamon Ronan.

Abbeyfeale set their stall early, by running hard and tight lines testing the Cobh defence. Test as they may the defence held strong with flanker David Lambe to the fore putting in some impressive hits. Abbeyfeale were the first to make a break for the try line, again it was Lambe who put in a massive hit on the visiting winger, as he crossed the Cobh 22 yd line. A stray boot led to a blood sub for winger Lee McCarthy, with Glen OSullivan taking to the pitch, this week minus the stream lined hair do.

Eamon Ronan began to dictate the play, using the slippery surface to his advantage with some testing chips and kick through to keep the visiting defence on its toes. One such kick was Cobh followed by the returned McCarthy, only for Cobh to be deemed to be a little slow releasing the ball 5 yds out from the line. Immediately after another great chance saw the ball move wide to McCarthy’s wing, the final pass not going to hand. Pirates however did not panic and kept the pressure on, with a combination of hard running by Steve Hickey from the base of the scrum and rucks, setting up quick ball. It was such a run that led to the first score. The ball was whipped from right to left, with winger McCarthy receiving at full pace touching downing down in the corner, with inches to spare. Lee stepped up to take his own conversion only to be stopped by the upright in a valiant effort.

Abbeyfeale were not to be phased by the score and came back hard at the home defence. Solid tackling around the ruck and maul area by the Cobh pack inhibited them from making any good gains.

Steve Hickey was to make a great barraging run up the center of the field, supported by Noel ODonovan setting up quick ball. The vigilent Cobh 10 saw that there was “no one home” and chipped through for none other than hooker Dave McAulliffe to get himself on the score sheet for the third week in a row. This try, just before the half time break had Cobh 10-0 up.

With the subs bench being utilized to bring on fresh legs soon after the whistle, the second half commenced as the first finished. Abbeyfeale, as hard as they ran, could not break inside the Cobh 22, and it was a counter attack that led to Alan Langford breaking up the town side of the pitch, off loading to Jack Hickey who changed the angle of the run, motoring towards the posts. Hickey, in his wisdom, saw he would not make it passed the defending cover, and put in a brilliant chip back towards the Rushbrooke side of the pitch. Langford had not stopped after his off load , and chased the chip through to score in the corner, Pirates 15-0 in front with 50 minutes gone.

The visitors upped their game, as the conditions deteriorated as the game progressed, with Cobh standing tall. They managed to cross the Cobh line to get a much valued try, leaving Cobh still ahead 15-5.

The game, for the most part, was now being played between the 22s, with each side standing tall in defence. It has to be said the Cobh pack, both in the scrum and loose were putting in a serious shift, especially taking the conditions into account. Steven Hickey was a menace to the visiting defence, picking and going from the base setting up good ball.

As the clock ticked it looked like Pirate’s had the victory and more importantly Abbeyfeale would not get any points. However a penalty in the second from last play of the game gave the visitors the 3 points they needed to stay ahead of Cobh with only one series of games to go. Final score Cobh Pirates 15 – 8 Abbeyfeale.

The initial feeling of disappointment, even after a great win against the only unbeaten team in the league, is a testament to the mind set of attitude of this young team. Pirates now sit second in the league only 1 point behind the leaders.

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