AIL rugby: Midleton defeat Sunday's Well after an emotional clash

AIL rugby: Midleton defeat Sunday's Well after an emotional clash
Midleton's Ron Carey against Sunday's leads out his side Well during the Energia AIL Division 2C game at Midleton. Pictures: Eddie O'Hare

Midleton 31 Sunday’s Well 5

IT HAS been an extremely difficult couple of weeks for Midleton RFC, with their struggles at the bottom of the Energia All Ireland League put sharply into perspective.

They tragically lost a much-beloved player in Cormac Ryan and had to lay him to rest last Wednesday.

Rugby clubs embody much more than the sport. They represent their communities and those involved will strike up bonds and friendships. It has been a week when the club and the wider community have paid their respects to a cherished friend.

Saturday was the time for the rugby club to get back to the field of the play and every one of their 20-man squad paid a magnificent tribute to Cormac; not with the win but with the spirit, determination and bond with which they played.

Mark Corby powered over the line to secure the fourth try and bonus-point for Midleton. Each try; the players showed how much it meant to them. For each try, every player rushed to the point of the score to celebrate with the try-scorer as one.

At any other time; such acts may have represented their fierce rivalry there is between the two clubs, but it was clear this meant something else with the opposition being respectful of the celebrations, while still upset with the concession of these scores.

After an emotional minute’s silence, Midleton gradually grew into the game with captain Stuart Lee settling their nerves with a penalty while Daniel Murray and Rob Carey inspired the side with several strong runs.

Sunday’s Well seemed to be finishing the half strongly with powerful scrums and driving mauls leading to a kickable penalty. The wind just pushed Brian Derham’s effort wide. Then a clearance kick by Midleton with half-time approaching was knocked on by Robert O’Keeffe.

Midleton sensed their moment. They showed a great combination of power, guile and patience to work the ball 30 metres up the field through a multitude of phases. They were hammering the Well’s line before Rob Smyth spotted a gap and leaped over the line with Lee adding the extras.

Midleton built on that momentum early in the second-half and a great switch to the blind-side by Lee saw him set-up Julian Power. Lee’s conversion put his side 17-0 in front.

From there on in it was clear it was to be the East Cork side’s day. Bryan Moore touched down at the back of a maul before Corby secured the bonus-point. The excellent Lee fittingly maintained a 100% record with the boot while the Well got a late consolation try by Ryan Buckley.

Scorers for Midleton: R Smyth, J Power, B Moore, M Corby tries; S Lee pen, 4 cons.

Sunday’s Well: R Buckley try.

MIDLETON: D Murray; R Hogan, B Cottle, R Horgan, J Power; S Lee (c), R Smyth; G McIntyre, B Moore, M Corby; D Broderick, G Mullins; A Ross, L Obersby, R Carey.

Replacements: A McCarthy, A O’Brien, F O’Connell, W Casey, J Deady.

SUNDAY’S WELL: J Kiernan; R O’Keeffe, B Derham, R Buckley, J Ruiz-Herrera; B Pope, E Geary (c); M Moynihan, J Barry, I Murphy; J Barnes, J Gardiner; S Desmond, C Jouve, C O’Brien.

Replacements: C Kelliher, G O’Sullivan, M McCarthy, D Lacey, J Featherstone.

Referee: A Mitchell (IRFU).

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