Carlow 13 Portlaoise 10
By John Shirley
Carlow just scraped a win over neighbours Portlaoise at Oakpark on Sunday to put them into the second round of the 2018 Provincial Towns Seconds Cup.
From the start it was clear that the visitor’s threat lay in their backs but Carlow owned the power up front.
Almost from the kick-off Portlaoise carved their first opening which culminated in their fullback Jamie Holohan getting in for a try on the right. Outhalf Jamie Hearns converted to put the visitors up 7 – 0 ahead.
Ten minutes later Carlow had worked their way to win a lineout 10 metres from the Port line. The six footers on both sides took to the air but the ball sailed over the lot and into the basket of Carlow’s Timmy O Donoghue, the shortest player in the line-up. Timmy put the head down, changed for the line and even managed to get closer to the post for his try.
Peter Hennessey nailed the conversion and 15 minutes later was on the mark again for a Carlow penalty when the visitors strayed offside. Port’s Jamie Hearns almost matched the Hennessey penalty approaching half time but his 45 metre kick just scraped the field side of the crossbar on its way down.
This meant that the home side began the second half with a narrow 10 – 7 lead. This was stretched to 13 – 7 thanks to another well struck Hennessey penalty.
Given Carlow’s dominance in scrums and lineouts one could have expected them to adopt a “cup rugby” approach by keeping the game tight for the last half hour. But that didn’t happen. High risk passes and offloads kept going to ground thus giving Portlaoise lifelines.
Jamie Hearns closed the gap to 13 – 10 with a penalty and Portlaoise looked certain the tie the scores at 13 all when they got a free in front of the home posts. But their number 1 kicker Hearns had gone off injured and his half back partner Conor Maguire managed to screw the ball wide.
A nervous Carlow managed to see out the rest of the game which included a massive 12 minutes of stoppage time.
Along with the front row of Byrne, Gordon and O Donoghue, players prominent in the Carlow win included Crossley at scrumhalf, Peter Hennessey through try saving tackles plus his accurate goal kicks, Eddie Keating, Wes Whitten and Dean Hayden in the pack.
Carlow’s reward for this win is a tilt at Division 1 side Enniscorthy in the next round of the cup.
Tom Bolger Capt, Sam Dunne, Cormac Walshe, Martin Mullins, Peter Hennessey, Harry Hennessey, Alex Crossley, Timmy O Donoghue, Evan Gordon, Ross Byrne, Gavin Whitney, Anthony Mannion, Dean Hayden, Ed Keating, John Lyons.
Subs, Zac Fitzhenry, Mark Slye, Owen Edgehill, Lir McDonald, Wes Whitton,
Jamie Holohan, Michael Sherlock, John Doyle, Mark Delaney, Jack Kennedy, Jamie Hearns, Conor Maguire, Sam Hennessey, Chris Cahill, Kevin Lynch, Colm Peter (Capt) Donal Bigley, Liam Kelly, Gerard Corcoran, Diarmuid Joyce.
Pat Fehan, Sam Hennessey, Mick Maguire.
Carlow Coyotes 12 Railway Union 0.
The Carlow Coyotes women’s team had one of their best victories of their season on Sunday at Oakpark when they conquered high flying Dublin side Railway Union by 12 points to nil.
This win almost ensures that the Coyotes will secure a top four finish in Division 1 of the Leinster League thus earning a semi final playoff spot. Two tries scored by Carlow proved to be the difference between the sides. In the first half Carlow number 8 (and former Carlow Goalkeeper) Tanala Kehoe forced her way over the line after a period of sustained home team pressure.
Again in the second half, Emily McKeon, one of the best players on the field jinked through to the line for a try which was converted by Sorcha Fitzhenry. Before and after these scores the Dublin team, which included 5 AIL players put enormous pressure on the home tryline.
Carlow’s performance in stopping the Railway Union onslaught prompted Coach Justin Sharpe to describe it as the best defensive display he had encountered during his two years with the side.
Unfortunately this fine game ended on a sour note for the Carlow Coyotes team when their second row Rebecca Mullen suffered a broken leg in a lineout accident.
Aisling Brosnan, Lisa Doyle, , Bethany Sharpe, Maureen Young, Rachel Mulholland, Sorcha Fitzhenry, Emily McKeon, Eimear Murphy, Val Timmons, Erin Byrne, Rebecca Mullen, Abigail Mullen, Keeva Owens, Joyce Mahon, Tanala Kehoe,
Catriona Cassidy, Lisa O Malley, Jade Collins, Jacqui Costigan, Val Kavanagh.