OLBC 17 beat Connemara 11, Clifden, Sunday October 6

Our Lady’s Boys Club slingshot their way to second spot atop the table,  two points shy of competition leaders Castlebar with a six-point win over Connemara in Clifden on Sunday. Connemara, who finished the match on 11 spent the remainder of the weekend wondering how it all went so wrong having led 8 nil after 12minutes of play and one point clear of the visitors with time up on the clock.

An OLBC tackle infringement got the ball rolling for Connemara, fullback Mark Staunton only too happy to oblige from 25m out, and Conor O’Malley reaped dividends on the end of the chain when the hosts won a numbers game out wide to go over for the day’s first try five minutes later.

OLBC fullback Dave Dooley squeezed the gap 12minutes short of the break with a well-struck penalty, a near mirror-image of Staunton’s penalty earlier in the day.

It remained 8-3 on the whistle and each camp was left ruing a handful of errors which conspired against any prolonged continuity and phase play. While the first quarter hour yielded few points, the ante upped from the outset and two minutes shy of the midway mark a Donncha Carey chargedown as Connemara attempted to clear skidded the ball Dave Reilly’s way who wasted no time busting clear of the fray and selling a handy dummy at the last line of defence before crossing close to the posts. Dooley made no mistake and pushed OLBC one point clear 18 minutes in.

Five minutes from the end Staunton again struck for the homecrowd with a penalty after OLBC refused to release the ball in the tackle, 11-10 Connemara’s way.

With time up on the clock, OLBC skipper Dave Prior put ball to boot from 25 out with a penalty advantage in his favour. The penalty, if awarded, would have availed a tight angle on the kick, but Connemara’s haphazard attempt to clear the ball through a two-man comedy act on their own line gifted the ever-present Conor Mulligan an opportunity to dot down (as he did against Tuam) for his second easiest try this winter. 

Mulligan is fast-becoming a devastatingly handsome bad penny with a reputation for turning up time and again, much to the enduring frustration of fellow three-quarter Eamonn Dowling whose individual try tally has suffered as a result. 

Boys Club remains the only Junior Div1 A side bereft of a bonus point. That said, the fact they remain in the competition’s top two (albeit with a bye to come) speaks volumes for the Ambrose Conboy-coached College Roaders. And while they haven’t posted massive margins since August they have the most impressive defensive record averaging a miserly 12.4 points conceded. Westport and Tuam come close letting 15.25 and 15.2 points through their lines respectively, but languish much lower down in sixth and seventh place.

Corinthians, Castlebar and Connemara have averaged the highest scores thus far within decimal points of each other at 23points a game, whereas OLBC have logged an average of 15.2, albeit with four wins from five.

OLBC has goalkickers Carey, Dooley and Prior to thank largely for their security having touched down only nine times this season, the sixth highest try tally of the Div 1 contenders.

Castlebar lead with 16 tries, Corinthians follow (14), with Ballina next most prolific on 13. 

OLBC meets the defensively solid Westport this weekend at the Sportsground.

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