It was a night to forget for the Kilkenny J1’s as they took to the road to travel to play Bective in Donnybrook on Friday night.
The sides had clashed a week before with the Dublin side coming out on top but Kilkenny could have snatched that game.
This was a different proposition though as Kilkenny are now in a battle to stay in Division 1A and will no doubt have chalked this one down as one to get through before concentrating their efforts on the remaining games where victories were more likely.
Friday night games bring with them an awkwardness around player availability and all so this one will be put down to experience.
The final score was 39-13 in favour of Bective.
Tullow got the better of Longford at the Black Gates on Sunday on a scoreline of 22-10.
They opened with a try from Jordan Leybourne, Paul Canavan kicked a penalty then for Tullow to make it 8-0.
Martin Cole went over for a try then with Paul Canavan converting to make it 15-0.
Stevie Smith got a try with the convertion got too to make it 22-0.
Longford pulled back a try and a penalty to make it 22-10 to Tullow at full time.
Carlow’s J2’s unbeaten and win the League
A 17 points to 12 victory over Boyne in Drogheda on Sunday has guaranteed Carlow’s J2 side as winner of their Leinster League Division for the 2021-22 season.
With 11 straight wins out of 11 matches the Carlow team are now top of their League Table on 44 points. The nearest chasing teams, Boyne and Mullingar are both on 29 points, and even though they both have a game in hand, they cannot now catch the Carlow total.
The pitch in Drogheda for Sunday’s game was a mudbath with a gale blowing from end to end. In the opening half Carlow faced the wind and tried to play possession rugby.
The few times that Boyne tried to use the wind, instead they found Carlow full back Rory Carbery who ran the ball back up the centre. One of these forays led to centre Bobby Cope crossing the line for an unconverted try.
Carlow started the second half with a 5 nil lead and a strong wind in their backs. This was pushed out to a 12 nil lead within 10 minutes when Carlow’s other centre Fionnan Burke broke through a couple of tackles and scored a try which was converted by outhalf John Whyte.
Shortly after this Boyne brought on at least four heavyweight players from their under 20 side. This changed the momentum of the game forcing Carlow into defensive mode making tackle after tackle in the mudbath.
Jerseys became almost unidentifiable in the mud but those with the dirtiest gear were doing the most tackling. In this respect Ed Keating led the charge with good support from Fionnan Burke, Tristian Groenewald, Anthony Mannion and the entire front row.
The visitors held out till ten minutes from time but when Boyne took a quick tap penalty they managed to score in the corner.
Within minutes the home side were back up in the Carlow 22 and managed to breach the Carlow line for a second try. This time the score was near the post and was converted to tie the scores at 12 points each.
Boyne, second in the table, now scented a late late victory against the table toppers. But it was Carlow who delivered the coup d’etat with one of the sweetest moves of the game. Boyne knocked on to concede a scrum on their 22. Carlow just about secured their ball. Outhalf John Whyte feinted to go left but instead chipped the ball cross field behind Boyne’s backs and the Carlow right wing Evan Gorry collected the ball on the bounce and scored in the corner.
The conversion was missed but all Carlow had to do was clear the ball from the restart and the final whistle blew.
Speaking after the game Carlow’s Director of Rugby, Derek Cope praised the team for their excellent season.
“Our players trained well all season and with turnouts of 40 or more we had strong competition for places on both Junior 1 and Junior 2 sides. Our Junior 2 side was a mix of players coming up from under 18’s along with some experienced heads alongside. Our next challenge will be against Birr in the Junior 2 Towns Cup.”
Rory Carbery, Padraig O Connor, Fionnan Burke, Bobby Cope, Chris Curnow, John Whyte, Tommy McDonnell, Paddy Rogers, Williams Ganley, Rhys Roberts, Zac Fitzhenry, Anthony Mannion, Captain, Matt Keogh, Shea Somers, Ed Keating.
Having neither the incentive of promotion, or the fear of relegation, for Carlow’s Junior 1 side their Leinster League trip to Boyne on Sunday was more or less a dead rubber. For a number of reasons
Carlow had to travel to Drogheda shorn of about 8 first choice players. They faced a fully loaded side gunning to with the Division 1B title.
Still Carlow had won the earlier game in Carlow and they did not expect to leave Drogheda on the back of a 53 nil trouncing.
To have had any hope Carlow needed to start well and keep the ball from the opposition. The opposite happened. Boyne got a couple of intercept tries and suddenly they were full of confidence.
To give them their due the visitors never stopped trying but they lost key players with injury including outhalf Alan Owens, hooker Williams Ganley and wing forward Rhys Edgehill. Jack Hickey, Owen Edgehill, David McDermott and Cormac Murray all tackled bravely but too often Carlow players slipped off tackles allowing Boyle to score five tries in the first half followed by four more in the second.
Carlow had lots of territory and could almost certainly have kicked penalties. But they persisted in trying to score tries only to be turned over by the watertight Boyne defence.
Next weekend Carlow face Tullow at Oakpark in a local derby.
In early March Carlow face Longford in Oakpark in the first round of the Towns Cup. In the Leinster League the Carlow Longford matches ended one win each.
Richard Whyte, Calum Murphy, David McDermott, Sam Cullen, Johnny Crossley, Alan Owens, Cormac Murray, Owen Edgehill, Matt O Donovan, Cian Clarke, Niall Finnegan, Conor Moore, Jack Hickey, Rhys Edgehill, Conor Treacy.
Subs: William Ganley, Rhys Roberts,, Anthony Mannion. Fionnan Burke, Rory Carbery.