Final Result: Midleton 14: Cork Constitution 7
A beautiful sunny morning had Midleton’s U14’s achieve a win in this friendly game against Con. The game gave coaches an opportunity to play the whole squad and give all players a chance to shine. And while yes a friendly, the players were expected to take the game seriously, friendly or not, it was Con after all.
Midleton got the scoring off early with a try straight down the middle by No. 5, Blake O’Keefe and conversion by No. Eoghan Ruane. Midleton backs and forward combined well and structures that have been worked on in training over the last few weeks were starting to show in the game. Midleton scored again before halftime with a try between the posts from no 7, Alex O’Brien. This came from well worked interplay with the backs bringing the ball forward and Alex taking it to the try line from the breakdown after a great break from Zac Casagranda, No. 13. Zac had a number of lovely line breaks during the game, but of course such breaks only occur when good service is provided from the 9, 10 and 12.
In the lead – 14 to 0 – at halftime, Midleton brought on a more squad members, who were charged with keeping the lead. Perhaps tiredness, perhaps because it was a friendly game, Midleton took their foot off the pedal a little in the second half. This was most obvious in at the breakdown where less forceful rucking allowed Con come back into the game. However individual tackling kept Midleton in the game. Nathan Crowley, No 14, comes in for special mention here. Twice he took on Con’s big second row alone in what was clearly a pre-rehearsed blindside move from Con and twice he stopped him with really good, low tackling. The absence of forward support for Nathan on this channel led one coach to conclude the lads had generously decided to leave Nathan take all the glory in these try saving tackles.
Con maintained the pressure throughout the second half but a few simple mistakes, dropped passes and the odd poor decision in their half backs let Midleton off the hook. Two or three times Con had their centres and back row forwards lined up for their blindside move up an undefended Midleton touch line only to have the ball pushed out to the open side and their opportunity slipped away. The Con team are definitely in building mode after the huge traditional exodus of young players from U13 to U14 that affects the city club as their players head to secondary school. The simple mistakes made by Con will no doubt soon be ironed out by their coaches and we will definitely see a very strong Con team emerge over time.
As the game progressed Midleton retained their lead, but a concerted effort by Con had them score a try in the last few seconds of the game by their very fast, tall no 6. This was converted to give a final score of Midleton 14, Cork Con 7. We meet Con again later in the U14 league and we can expect Con to have tidied-up some of their play to give us a big test.
This was a good game for the squad, we got to play all the available team members and give our subs a well deserved start. Different combinations through the team led to a few small mix-ups but overall the team worked well as a unit. We were all delighted to have Cathal Lenihan and Mark Donnelly back on the pitch after injury; both look determined and hungry after their long absence.
Finally the game represented a sad moment for the team as our hugely talented front row forward, Sam Keating, played his last game with us before his family move to Calgary, Canada. Sam is a very popular team mate and a huge force in every game. We wish him and his family all the very best in their move, and hope he doesn’t get too soft playing American Football or Ice hockey…