The U18’s are North Munster league champions after beating Newcastle West/Estuary in Sundays final. In a nail biting finish Bruff ran out winners by the narrowest of margins winning on a scoreline of 18-17. It was a game played with a high tempo by the two best teams in this year’s North Munster league.
Bruff who played into a stiff breeze in the first half got off to an ideal start scoring a converted try with just 6 minutes on the clock. The key to Bruffs success this year has been getting the basics right and this very evident leading up to the opening score. In a move which started around the half way line Bruffs big ball carriers worked the ball into the NCW 22 down the right hand side of the pitch. With the Bruff backs now on the front foot No 9 Niall Byrnes moved the ball quickly out to the left of the attack. Jack O Grady drew 2 defenders before releasing the ball for winger Dean O Shea to go over to the left of the posts. Kevin McManus stepped up to add the extra.
Bruff scored again on 27 minutes but not before NCW enjoyed a long period in the Bruff half. Bruff coughed up a couple of penalties during this time and were lucky to hold West scoreless.
The 2nd try was again a combination of back and forwards working well together. The build up to this score started inside the Bruff half with a huge maul which brought play into the NCW half of the field. Bruff again made a number of big carries with back and forwards combining to get the ball inside the 22.
Bruff forced a scrum from which No 8 Dylan Reeves-Wasik made the telling break. When he was eventually brought down the Bruff forwards recycled and had a couple of attempts at picking and driving over the line. But it was No 9 Byrnes who made the space before giving a lovely inside pass to the big no. 8 to crash over to put 12 points between the teams.
NCW had their first real try scoring opportunity after 32 minutes but were stopped just short of the line thanks to a massive try saving tackle from Bruffs industrious first centre Conor Fitzpatrick.
But NCW were to get the next 2 scores of the game with trys either side of halftime. The first try came from a 5 metre lineout which was well mauled over by the NCW pack to make it 12-5
NCW’s second try came just minutes into the second half when there openside wing forward made an intercept to run in under the Bruff posts. It was now all square again at 12 apiece as both teams went at it hard to try and get the upper hand. It was Bruff who were to take the lead again just minutes after the NCW try thanks to a Kevin McManus penalty, 15-12 to Bruff.
Mid-way through the second period NCW took to lead for the first time in the game with a try to the right of the Bruff posts, the conversion was missed and this was to prove costly for West.
With the score now 17-15 to NCW it was a case of sticking to the game plan for Bruff. The forwards continued to carry well with the backs moving the ball well through the hands. Bruff managed to win a penalty within kicking distance of the opposition posts. McManus stepped up and landed what would be the winning kick and bringing his tally to 8 points for the day.
Captain Conor Fitzpatrick picked up the cup for Bruff and rightly thanked the management team of Eoin Cahill, Martin O Rourke, Johnnie O Connor, Tony Clifford and Timmy Quirke for all their hard work and support for the season to date. He also thanked all of the parents who put in endless hours of taxi’ing and give a huge amount of time making it possible for these young men to get out and play a game they all enjoy and are invested in.
The u18’s now go on to take part in the Pan Munster league which will see them meet the best of the rest from around Munster.
Team-15. Kevin McManus, 14. Dean O’Shea, 13. Jack O’Grady 12. Conor Fitzpatrick 11. Darren Kennedy, 10. John Bulfin, 9.Niall Byrne,8.Dylan Reeves- Wasik,7. Odhran Ring 6.Sean Hartigan , 5.Tadgh O Dwyer, 4. Cian Mulqueen, 3. Jack Fitzgerald,2.Thomas Quigley,1. Darragh Moore, Subs, Fearghal Cooke, Gareth Cooke, Simon Divilly,Cian Clifford,Brian Bulfin, David Crofton Young, David Moloney, Adam Sheehy ,Cormac Daly ,Aaron Daly ,Lorcan Hayes , Matthew Lockhart O’Dea,Tadgh Leddin, Brady Day