Last gasp penalty denies Nenagh Ormond in Munster Senior Cup Final
RUGBY: Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final 2023
Young Munster 27
Nenagh Ormond 24
Report: Shane Brophy at Thomond Park Stadium
SCORERS – Young Munster: Tries: O’Sullivan, Penalty, Horrigan. Convs: Cusack (1), Hayes (1) Pens: Cusack (1), Hayes (1)
Nenagh Ormond: Tries: Gleeson, Healy, Hayes, Irwin. Convs: Scully (2).
Nenagh Ormond were denied a famous Munster Senior Challenge Cup final win as a last gasp Conor Hayes penalty saw Young Munster complete a stunning comeback in an enthralling 139th final of this prestigious competition on Thursday night.
Playing in their first final, Nenagh were outstanding all through, belying their grading two divisions below Young Munster. They showed few nerves and indeed got off to the perfect start after four minutes when David Gleeson got on the end of a Derek Corcoran cross-kick for a try which went unconverted.
Young Munster responded strongly as Ronan O’Sullivan touched down following a strong lineout maul with Evan Cusack converting on eight minutes.
Nenagh hit back and on seventeen minutes they went over for their second try as John Healy got over in the corner following good pay by Josh Rowland. Patrick Scully missed the difficult conversion.
Young Munster levelled through an Evan Cusack penalty, but Nenagh were the better side in the first half and went in ahead 17-10 at half time as John Hayes crashed over for the third try, Dylan Murphy catching Young Munster cold with a training ground lineout move, with Scully adding the extras
Forty seconds into the second half, Nenagh went over for their fourth try as David Gleeson broke through the Munster defence before off-loading to Nicky Irwin who went over for a converted try for a 24-10 lead.
Young Munster lost replacement Mark O’Mara to the sin-bin but Nenagh began to concede penalties as they tired and lost Derek Corcoran to the bin themselves on 55 minutes.
Some heroic defence saw Nenagh hold Young Munster out until the 70th minute when they conceded a penalty try after conceding three scrum penalties on their own 5-metre line.
The margin was down to seven points but that was erased five minutes later when replacement James Horrigan burrowed over from close range with Conor Hayes converting to bring the sides level at 24 each.
Nenagh kicked off and John Hayes won a penalty at the breakdown giving replacement Conor O’Brien the opportunity to be the hero but cruelly his penalty from close to the touchline struck the post.
There was time for more and after a Nenagh knock-on inside the Young Munster half, the Limerick side made one last attack with captain Alan Kennedy making the key break through a tired Nenagh defence to get Young Munster inside the Nenagh 22. Ormond held out for four minutes before Munster spread the ball wide with David Gleeson attempting an interception but was penalised for a deliberate knock-on and sent to the sin-bin. It gave Conor Hayes the opportunity with the last kick of the game to win the game for Young Munster and he duly obliged to complete a three in a row of Munster Senior Cup titles for Young Munster.
It was cruel luck on Nenagh who were the better side for so long but ran out of puff in the last quarter. However, they were heroic in their first Challenge Cup final and can take a lot of confidence from this performance into the remainder of the season as they go in search of promotion in the AIL.
TEAMS – Young Munster: Patrick Campbell; Conor Hayes, Harry Fleming, Luke Fitzgerald; Shay McCarthy; Evan Cusack, Jack Lyons; David Begley, George Jacobs, Conor Bartley; Sean Rigney, Alan Kennedy (capt); Bailey Falloon, Ronan O’Sullivan, John Foley.
Reps: Mark O’Mara for Begley (47); Conor Moloney for Foley (47); Donnchadh O’Callaghan for Lyons (47); Jack Lyons for Cusack (62); Stephen Lyons for Fitzgerald (62); James Horrigan for Rigney (69); Paul Allen for Jacobs (69); Conor Moloney for Bartley (71).
Nenagh Ormond: Josh Rowland; Patrick Scully, Willie Coffey (capt), John Healy; David Gleeson; Derek Corcoran, Nicky Irwin; Mikey Doran, Dylan Murphy, Jack O’Keefe; Jake O’Kelly, Kevin O’Flaherty; Rob Buckley, John O’Flaherty, John Hayes.
Reps: Sean Frawley for O’Keefe (28); Evan Murphy for Buckley (blood 28-36); Evan Murphy for Buckley (56); Jack O’Keefe for Frawley (59); Peter O’Connor for D Murphy (67); Cian Ryan for Scully (67); Joe Coffey for K O’Flaherty (69); Conor O’Brien for Rowland (76).
Referee: Shane Kerins