Heartbreak for Clondalkin in Towns Cup semis

By Stephen Leonard

A LAST-MINUTE try by Wicklow Club Captain Wes Wojnar broke the hearts of Clondalkin who consequently lost out 16-13 in the semi-finals of the Towns Cup in Carlow on Sunday.

Stopped at this very stage of the competition by Kilkenny last season, Clondalkin’s heartbreak will be even more severe this time around given just how close they were to reaching the decider.

Clondalkin Rugby April 7 

Having suffered a loss to Wicklow some three weeks ago that ultimately saw them relegated to Division 1B, Clondalkin had no shortage of incentive for this game that devolved into a muddy battle as the rain-soaked pitch cut up and turned to a quagmire.

Clondalkin, who, like Wicklow, have yet to raise the Towns Cup, struck the first blow in the battle to join Enniscorthy in this year’s decider on April 17 when the ball was spun to Matt Stapleton and he slipped several attempted tackles before scoring under the posts. Chris Jebb added the extras to propel them 7-0 ahead.

Having established a base in the Clondalkin 22, Wicklow used their rolling maul to drive their oppon-ents back to their own line and after a number of recycles, they barged their way over the whitewash.

The penalty count against the Dublin side was mounting and Wicklow got their first successful kick on the 28th minute after Clon’ had dropped a lineout maul.

But their one-point lead lasted all of one minute as a short-restart tap from Jebb saw Neil Finlay claim possession for Clon’ and Wicklow penalised for not staying on their feet.

Clondalkin Rugby 2 April 7

Jebb was immaculate once again with the boot and Clon’ regained the lead before the break yet they would have to play the second half without scrum-half Colm Quinn who had to be replaced by Ben Foran before the recess.

Both sides traded penal-ties after the break to make it 13-11 in Clon's favour.

The conditions had deteriorated into to a mud-bath at this stage and chances were at a premium, but Clondalkin were shading it in the possession stakes.

Nevertheless their scrum dominance was ended just before the half hour mark when the scrums went uncontested after Wicklow's replacement prop hobbled gingerly to the sideline after just five minutes on the pitch.

Wicklow once again resorted to their chief attacking weapon, the lineout maul and after a number of pick and drives, they squeezed over the line in the left hand corner with only one minute remaining on the clock.

The conversion attempt came back off the upright but the damage had been done and Clondalkin’s title quest ended.

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