Clon legends Still have class

by Gazette Reporter
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CLONDALKIN fourths got a much needed win this Friday to ensure that the Tom Duffy managed team go into the Christmas break still in the hunt for the play-off spot in their Metro league.
Clon were able to field a stronger team to the one that fell to Clontarf two weeks before with the brothers Kevin and Ciaran Cullen both making a rare appearance and former first teamers Phily Byrne and Alan Hickey togging out for their first game of the year.
The opponents for the day were a strong Stillorgan side, who had won the reverse fixture 20-0 earlier this year. Clon got off to a bright start with Conor McCrea, Harvey Rael and Luke Sweetman making big carries.
Stillorgan hands in the ruck gifted Clondalkin an early penalty and captain Sweetman opted to hammer home the physical advantage and went to the corner. The lineout was messy but Clon were able to gather and set up the drive which was stopped just short of the line. A pinpoint Alan Hickey pass allowed Phily Byrne go over for the first try with the number 12 showing he still has pace over 10 yards.
Stillorgan were up for the game and were determined to get into the game following the restart. Mick Heaney and Ciaran Cullen both took eye watering hits in defence.
A Sweetman turnover allowed John Murphy to clear the lines and the Stillorgan onslaught was lifted. Stillorgan decided to put boot to ball and test fullback Ricky Skelton’s aerial ability. He duly obliged and then fed Rae Conners who carried deep into opposition territory.
Stillorgan were on the back foot when John Murphy chipped through for Skelton to dive over and take the score to 12-0. Clon were looking to assert their dominance but were struggling at lineout time with the ref blowing up for a number of crooked throws. Stillorgan did get on the scoreboard with a penalty to bring the score to 15-3.
Clon started the second half with Kevin Cullen leaping in the air for a wondrous take. After good link up play, the ball came loose at a ruck and a kick through set up a race between Eoin Bracken and the defending winger. Bracken scorched home to get the try. Clon were up 20-3 but were still being hampered by the malfunctioning lineout.
A change at hooker saw former first team hard man Ken McMahon enter the fray. McMahon brought added physicality but couldn’t get the lineout to function.
Conor Steed sealed the game with 20 minutes to go when he went over for Clondalkin’s fourth try. Sweetman then crossed for the final try of the game and then converted his own try. The final whistle saw the game close 34-3.
Man of the match was Harvey Rael who was playing in his last game before returning to Cork from a six-month placement in Dublin.

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