A PLACE in the final of this season’s junior cup competition was at stake yesterday afternoon in Richmond Park and it was the home side that advanced to meet Cork Constitution next Sunday in Irish Independent Park in Cork thanks to a blistering second half performance.
Two first half penalties from player/coach Tadhg Bennett gave Richmond a 6-0 cushion, but facing into a stiff breeze in the second period, it appeared that the momentum would be with the visitors. Cleverly changing their pattern of play, Richmond ran the ball at almost every opportunity after the kick-off, forcing a penalty outside the Kilfeacle 22 and with the Tipperary side losing their out-half to the sin bin, Richmond took advantage, their pack driving over and Kieran Bennett getting the touchdown for a 11-0 advantage after 43 minutes.
Kilfeacle responded with a penalty, but with the biggest home crowd of the season voicing their support, the green and whites replied almost immediately with a well-worked score. Jeffrey McNamara stepped inside a tackle to go clear only to lose his footing two metres from the line, Tadhg Bennett continued the move and his skip pass sent full-back Keelan Stephenson over near the corner flag to increase the lead to 16-3. A second Kilfeacle penalty, this time from Jamie Heuston, reduced the lead to ten points but that was as near as Kilfeacle got to an unlikely comeback.
Their pack now dominating exchanges, Richmond added a further 12 points in the final ten minutes, replacement prop Corey Wells powering over and full back Keelan Stephenson finishing off a flowing backline movement with a sparkling try while Tadhg Bennett added a conversion.
This was an impressive performance from the Canal Bank side. Their pack was magnificent but it was the pace of their backline that stole the show. On this display, Richmond must now fancy their chances of bridging a junior cup famine that goes back to 1952.
Richmond: Keelan Stephenson; Jeffrey McNamara, Gareth O’Hanlon, Michael Kelleher, Kieran Bennett; Tadhg Bennett, Ryan Meagher; Gerard Barry, Pat Humphreys, James Reeves; Barry Laffan, Jonathan Tully; Kealan McMahon, Gearoid Phelan, Eoin Hanley. Replacements, Dillon Cotter, Corey Wells, Dean O’Halloran, Sean Bennett, Brian Mullins, Sami Farag, Jack O’Hanlon.