Monaghan U15s 1/4 Final Report 24 v Malone 13

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U-15 CUP 1/4 FINAL

MaloneRFC U-15’S 13 v MonaghanRFC U-15’s 24

As Monaghan U15s had a bye into the quarter final of the cup, it meant that they started their cup campaign a week later than other clubs. Malone from Belfast were the hosts for us last weekend the 5th of April and the two teams were well acquainted having met twice during the league with Monaghan winning both matches home and away. This was the first competitive game for Ethan Murphy since his election as team captain for the cup.

Monaghan were on the wrong side of results in their last two games, the league final against Armagh and a friendly versus Dungannon, so the players had a lot of making up to do and points to prove to the coaches and themselves. There were also a number of positional and personnel changes from those last fixtures. Oisin Campbell occupied the out half in place of the injured Jack Lynch and Kieran McQuaid started in place of Darragh Todd at hooker.

Monaghan started brightly but with no major penetration, as the Malone defense was standing tall and holding Monaghan at bay, but crucially Monaghan managed to retain possession and not get turned over. Malone themselves looked dangerous on the break, when a few missed tackles resulted in the whites making nearly 50 yards down the left wing. James Mallen somehow got back and made a certain try saving tackle. Soon after, Monaghan were penalized at the break down and Malone opted to kick the penalty. It was successful and they lead 3-0. Monaghan were playing with high intensity and any penalties were all tapped quickly, not letting Malone regroup defensively, therefore putting them under pressure. Right on the stroke of half time, James Mallen took off on a “tap and go,” and managed to bulldoze his way over the line past numerous players to touch down under the posts to leave Stuart Allen the easy task of adding the extra two points. That was James’s first try of the year and Monaghan led 7-3 at the interval.

The second half was much the same as the first, Monaghan plodding away and Malone holding out, frustrating for both set of teams, managers and fans. Oisin Campbell must have noticed that former London-Irish, Ulster, and Ireland scrum half (and cousin), Kieran Campbell was watching on the sideline, so he decided to up the ante a little, finding space and punishing the Malone defense with his unique awareness and sidestep to score a brilliant individual try. No conversion this time, to leave the score 12-3 in favor of Monaghan. Jamie Sherlock was suffering from a bout of flu during the week and hadn’t recovered 100% yet so he was replaced by Darragh Todd meaning that Kieran McQuaid moved from hooker to prop and Darragh filling in at number two.

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