By John Shirley
Cill Dara 7 Carlow 24
Carlow had a good away 24 – 7 Leinster League win over Cill Dara on Sunday but their failure to get a 4-try bonus point has allowed 2nd placed Railway Union to close the gap at the top of Division 2A. Both are now on 34 points with Carlow ahead only by virtue of higher score differential.
As a result next weeks clash between the sides in Oakpark could be a winners takes all game for Division 2A.
At Cill Dara on Sunday Carlow scored three converted tries and a penalty to the home side’s single converted try.
Carlow’s strong pack dominated the younger lighter opposition, especially driving back the Cill Dara scrum. Often such scrum domination in modern rugby is converted into penalties but not so on Sunday, much to the disappointment of the Carlow team and supporters.
After one such scrum James Nolan picked the ball at the back and dived in under the posts but the referee ruled that the scrum had wheeled excessively.
Carlow opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a Robert Browne penalty kick. Four minutes later Browne from fullback ran in for a try on the right after the pack had made the hard yards up the centre of the park.
Browne converted the try to put his side into a 10 nil lead. At this stage the visitors were all over the home side and putting huge pressure on their tryline.
However Cill Dara’s young guns somehow cleared their lines. On 20 minutes a good carry by their number 6 Tyson Doughty brought the game into the Carlow half.
The ball was recycled and outhalf Conor Malone got through for a try. Centre Fionn Heffernan added the conversion. For all their dominance Carlow were only 10 -7 ahead.
On the point of half time this lead was stretched to 17 – 7 with another converted try. Again the initial surge came from the pack. Ross Elmes and Browne carried well before passing to centre Jeff McDermott who ran strongly through a couple of tackles to dot down in the right hand corner. Again Browne kicked the conversion this time from the touchline.
The home side had their best spell early in the second half. Fionn Heffernan was wide with a close in penalty. Carlow lost their scrumhalf David Barron when he seemed to be knocked out from an elbow in a tackle.
Carlow’s John Whyte was sin binned for a high tackle. Cill Dara’s prop Gavin Lally and number 8 Paudi Wall were both stopped within inches of scoring.
The visitors survived this period and good carries by Lyons, Nolan, Byrne and Shirley lifted the siege. A series of three penalties to touch 30 minutes into the 2nd half advanced Carlow to the Cill Dara line.
Again the Carlow lineout worked like a well oiled machine and whilst Cill Dara stopped the initial surge, the ball was recycled and Carlow captain Larry McGrath squeezed over for his side’s third try. Browne converted to bring the final score to 24 -7.
Apart from his faultless 4 out of 4 kicking display the young fullback Robert Browne was also impressive as an attacker plus doing his duty in the last line of defence.
Other newcomers helping the side to top the table this season include the winger John Murphy, hooker Joe Gorman and scrumhalf David Barron, although given his head injury Barron’s availability for next week’s showdown with Railway Union may be in doubt.
Carlow Junior 1
Robert Browne, Seamus Curran, Jeff McDermott Simon Walshe, Johnny Murphy, John Whyte, David Barron, Larry McGrath, (Capt) Joe Gorman, Alan Byrne, Thomas Whitney, John Lyons, Ross Elmes, James Nolan. Wes Shirley,
Subs;Tim O Donoghue, Fionnan Burke, Niall Bermingham, Peter Hennessey, Evan Gordon, Chris Challe.
Karl Darragh, Bobby Browner, Paul McDonald, Billy Delaney, Dave Mullins, Donal Cashman, Mark Delaney, Dave Mangan, Niall Duggan, Paddy Commone, Lar Jones, Keith Moran, Mark Doyle, Brendam Kiernan, Ronan Mangan Capt.
Junior 2 game.
Cill Dara 17 Carlow 0
Carlow men’s 2nds team suffered their 1st loss of the Leinster League season when going down 17 – nil away to Cill Dara on Sunday.
As a result Railway Union have leapfrogged them to top the table on 25 points to Carlow’s 24.
On paper Carlow started with a strong side but on the field they gave a disjointed erratic display conceding far too many penalties.
Carlow shaded possession and territory for most of the first three quarters of the game but couldn’t score.
About 12 minutes from the end Cill Dara outhalf Ronan O Neacthain got through some weak tackling for a softish unconverted try. The Carlow side then started to chase the game.
But instead of them scoring, Cill Dara nipped in for two more late tries one of which was converted.
Carlow play Railway Union in Oakpark next Sunday in what could be the match of the season.
Carlow Junior 2
Tom Bolger Capt, Dillon Kehoe, Harry Hennessey, Peter Hennessey, Eoin Rea, Cormac Walshe Evan Gordon, Zac Fitzhenry, Rudi Corcoran, Ross Byrne, Liam Slater, Gavin Whitney, Matt Murray, Chris Challe, Conal Slator.
Subs, , Lir McDonald, Kevin Hanley, Paul Byrne, Wes Whitton, Eoin Galvin.
Mullingar 17 Carlow Coyotes 15
After beating Mullingar 31 – 10 at Oakpark earlier in the season the Carlow womens Coyotes side were hoping for another win away to Mullingar in League Division 1 on Sunday but instead had to be content with a losing bonus point.
Carlow’s scrum was completely dominant but the referee deemed such dominance was unsafe and ruled out scrum pushing. This blunted the visitor’s strongest weapon.
In the game Carlow were playing catch up on the scoreboard.
Both teams scored three tries. Mullingar converted one whereas Carlow didn’t manage any added points. Carlow’s tries came from Louise Conville (one) and Tanala Keogh (two).
The conversion attempt for Tanala Keogh’s second score was narrowly wide. While Carlow are still ahead of Mullingar in the League table they are out of the top four places.
Aisling Brosnan, Rachel Mulholland, Bethany Sharpe, Maureen Young, Louise Conville, Lisa Doyle, Emily McKeon, Eimear Murphy, Val Timmons, Tanala Keogh, Rebecca Smyth, Nollaig Lyon, Joyce Mahon, Rebecca Mullen, Keeva Owens.
Subs used. Jenny Ardill, Lisa O Malley, Abigail Mullen.