Thanks to John Shirley for the following blow-by-blow report for Carlow’s Division 2A clash with Newbridge at the weekend – well acquainted with each other as both sides dropped from Division 1B last season.
Carlow’s rugby teams donned their new jerseys for the weekend’s Leinster League clash away to Newbridge and they proved a lucky omen.
Newbridge, conquerors of Carlow at their last three meetings, started strongly scoring first with a penalty on five minutes. Jeff McDermott equalised on 10 minutes and kicked another on 15 minutes to put Carlow 6 – 3 ahead. Three minutes later Carlow kicked a penalty to the corner. From the ensuing lineout Wes Shirley broke free, passed to Tommy Ratahai who scored the games first try. McDermott converted to put Carlow 13 – 3 ahead. Newbridge got a second penalty on the stroke of half time to leave them trailing the visitors 6 – 13 at the break.
Carlow’s pack continued to lord it at scrums and lineouts and thirteen minutes into the second half Carlow opted for a scrum when awarded a penalty under the Newbridge posts. They drove cleanly over for a try which Jeff McDermott goaled. Carlow were now looking good with a 20 – 6 lead. But then Newbridge broke through weak tackling for a converted try. They were pressing for another when they spilled the ball. Wes Shirley toe poked the ball up the field a few yards. Then winger Mark Elmes took over with three soccer type touches he kick chased the ball up the field and finished by beating the opposition for a touchdown near the posts. McDermott missed the conversion but with a with a 25 – 13 point lead and only 10 minutes left on the clock Carlow looked safe.
The fourth and bonus try came from another kick to the corner. Wes Shirley went high in the lineout to secure yet another ball, Carlow drove for the line finishing with a touchdown by Conal Slater who had earlier played in the Junior 2 team victory. This brought Carlow to 30 points and while Newbridge got a last gasp try, it is the Oakpark side that lie joint second in the table after four games.
Carlow J1 Team vs Newbridge
Peter Hennessey, Mark Elmes, Jeff McDermott, Harry Hennessey, Simon Walshe, Fionnan Burke, John Whyte, Larry McGrath, Ross Byrne, Alan Byrne, John Lyons, Wes Shirley capt, Niall Bermingham, James Chris Challe, Thomas Ratahai. Subs: James Nolan, Conal Slater, Mark Furey, Nico Kretschmer, John Michael Nolan.
Carlow seconds despatch Newbridge in J2 league
The Carlow J2 team also came away from Newbridge with a bonus point win on a 28 – 15 scoreline. Carlow were boosted by returning GAA players Ritchie Whyte, who contributed a try and four conversions, and John Michael Nolan who ran in two tries. Carlow began strongly with a Tim O Donohoe try and were 7 – 0 ahead at the break. Another converted try put Carlow 14 – 0 ahead. But then Carlow had a player sinbinned. In the space of eight minutes Newbridge scored two tries, a penalty plus a conversion to put them one point ahead at15 – 14 with about 10 minutes left on the clock. Carlow regrouped, Nolan and Whyte ran in two long distance tries to earn their team a 4-try bonus point win.
Carlow J2 Team vs Newbridge
Nico Kretschmer, Eoin Rea, John M Nolan, Clement Mauroy, Gearoid Dunbar, Ritchie Whyte, Tom Bolger Capt, Colm Harpur, Keith Dagg, Dylan Kehoe, Conal Slater, Peter Ryan, Keelan Power, Tim O’Donohoe, E Lyons. Subs: Zac Fitzenry, Stan Linahen, John Whitton, Niall O Malley.