Saturday January 25th 2020
Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup Final: Kilfeacle & District 28 Dromore 24
Kilfeacle & District are Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup Champions for the first time after a 28-24 win over Dromore. Darren Lowry crossed for the Tipperary men in each half while Kevin Kinane got the try that helped regain the lead after 56 minutes.
Willie Staunton contributed 13 points including two drop goals, but Dromore led 14-11 at the break and the player coach knew a change of tack was required in the second half.
“We knew if we held onto the ball and fronted up we’d win this game,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a one score game and it came down to that. It was a testament to Junior Rugby around the country.” You can see full highlights of the game below.
Kilfeacle applied the early pressure and had the patience to drive at Dromore until the space opened up for Lowry in the fifth minute. Ben Russell led Dromore’s response – bursting through midfield to bring possession into the 22. They stacked the openside and Adam McDonald dove for home in the corner.
Dromore’s ability to strike from deep pushed them into a 14-11 lead at half-time. David Lyttle spotted the gap and popped the ball out of the tackle for Brian McClearn to cut and run.
The Ulstermen had the wind at their backs in the second half and plenty of kicking options to boss territory. Kilfeacle were pinned under their own posts when Lee Steenson punished them for straying offside with a simple penalty.
The two sides were bringing the best out of each other. Kilfeacle trusted their pack to take back control and Kevin Kinane’s abrasive carrying style got him over as the final quarter approached.
Kilfeacle wrenched the cup away from their Ulster opponents with 10 minutes left. Out of nowhere, Lowry fired an inch perfect cross field kick into the arms of the onrushing Kevin Doyle and 14 phases later drove under the posts.
“A Dromore man’s got a lot of dog in him,” says their player coach Josh Pentland so there was always going to be another response. Jonny Maguire crashed over in the last minute and the impressive Lee Steenson left the ball on the tee for all of two seconds before bringing Kilfeacle back into striking range. All 1,000 in attendance wondered if there was another twist in this game.
But Kilfeacle had done their work. The pack had eaten into the clock with phase after phase of pick and jam. The final whistle and the historic win were just reward.
KILFEACLE & DISTRICT 28 DROMORE 24, Coolmine RFC
Scorers: Kilfeacle & District: Tries: Darren Lowry 2, Kevin Kinane; Cons: Willie Staunton 2; Pen: Willie Staunton; Drop Goal: Willie Staunton 2
Dromore: Tries: Adam McDonald, Brian McClearn, Jonny Maguire; Cons: Lee Steenson 3, Pen: Lee Steenson.
HT: Kilfeacle & District 11 Dromore 14
KILFEACLE & DISTRICT: James Hogan, Kevin Doyle, Darren Lowry, Keith Burke, John Bourke, Willie Staunton, Gavin Heuston; Diarmaid O’Donnell, James Ryan, Simon Barry, Jack McLoughlin, Philip O’Connor, Kevin Kinane, Brian Barlow, Brian McLoughlin.
Replacements: Ricky Whitney, Adam O’Connell, Luke Ashmore, Cormac Ryan, Stephen Quirke, Shane Morrissey, Cathal Donovan, Killian Noonan.
DROMORE: Adam McDonald, Brian McClearn, Josh Pentland, Graeme McCandless, Andrew Rutledge, David Lyttle, Lee Steenson; Mark Hylands, Fraser Mulholland, Andrew Black, Matthew McMaster, Jonny Maguire, Adam MacGregor, Pete Elliott, Ben Heath.
Replacements: Tom Lyttle, Aaron Lyttle, Rory Pepper, Ross Bingham, Richard Dickson, Scott Nelson, TJ Morris, Ben Russell.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 25, 2020
05′ 05-00 Darren Lowry Try (Kilfeacle & District)
08′ 05-07 Adam McDonald Try, Lee Steenson Con (Dromore)
13′ 08-07 Willie Staunton Pen (Kilfeacle & District)
26′ 11-07 Willie Staunton Drop Goal (Kilfeacle & District)
30′ 11-14 Brian McClearn, Lee Steenson Con (Dromore)
51′ 11-17 Lee Steenson Pen (Dromore)
56′ 18-17 Kevin Kinane Try, Willie Staunton Con (Kilfeacle & District)
68′ 21-17 Willie Staunton Drop Goal (Kilfeacle & District)
71′ 28-17 Darren Lowry Try, Willie Staunton Con (Kilfeacle & District)
80′ 28-24 Jonny Maguire Try, Lee Steenson Con (Dromore)