Mullingar 7 Carlow 18
Carlow came away from Mullingar with two victories in their postponed Leinster League games played on Sunday, October 3. In particular, the seconds game was won more easily than suggested by the narrow three-point scoreline.
Playing into the stiff breeze Carlow firsts started strongly and had registered a try in the fifth minute. From a throw-in deep in the Mullingar 22 Carlow’s John Lyons caught cleanly at the back. A maul was set up and the Carlow pack drove over the line with hooker Evan Gordon getting the touchdown. The wideout conversion was missed.
During this half, the game developed a pattern whereby Carlow would make ground up the field only to be driven back by wind-assisted clearance kicks.
On the half-hour fullback, Richard Whyte fielded a clearance kick in his own half. He passed to Johnny Crossley who made ground up the right. In a brilliant passing move where the ball travelled across the park four times, the defence was caught short and Carlow centre Caomhan Brennan ran in for a try which was described as “fantastic” by his coach Corey Carty. Somehow Richard Whyte’s conversion dodged inside the post and over the bar to give the visitors a 12 – nil lead.
Right from the start of this game, Carlow had the dominant scrum with props Larry McGrath and Ross Byrne giving their opposite numbers a nightmare match. However, the referee did not deem that this dominance should be converted in Carlow penalties. Rather the opposite. At the end of the first half when Carlow again drove the home scrum back-peddling in the Carlow 22, Mullingar was awarded a penalty. From this, they picked and went eventually squeezing in for a converted try.
This left the visitors with a 12 – 7 halftime lead and with hopes that with the wind in the second half that Carlow might kick on and maybe secure a four-try bonus point.
All through this match, the wind made a lottery out of the lineout throw-ins. In the second half, this pattern deteriorated further for Carlow. In addition, the concession of 10 second-half penalties by Carlow plus long kicks going over the dead ball line, kept the Midlanders in the game. Over the same period, Carlow was awarded 6 penalties and two of these were converted into scores by Richard Whyte.
In the first half, Mullingar failed to take full advantage of the wind. In the second period their Coach Thomas Campbell came on at out half and this steadied their game. For their part Carlow had chances for further scores but failed to match the passing skills that delivered their earlier score. Along with the front row John Lyons and Owen Edgehill had strong games. Wes Shirley, who is captain in the absence of the injured Ross Elmes, was his usual influential self playing at number 8.
Apart from the try leaked at the end of the first half the Carlow backs defended well and could with more passing accuracy have added further scores.
After the match coach Corey Carty said that it was great to get two wins on the road. “For the fantastic Caomhan Brennan try we trusted ourselves to keep the ball rather than kick it away as we did in the previous Cill Dara game.”
Carlow J 1
Richard Whyte, Johnny Crossley, Caomhan Brennan, Dan Crotty, Sam Cullen, John Whyte, Cormac Murray, Larry McGrath, Evan Gordon, Ross Byrne, John Lyons, Evan Gordon, Owen Edgehill, Conor Moore, Paddy Mackey, Wes Shirley Capt
Subs: John Farrell, Alan Byrne, Conor Treacy, Calum Murphy, Jack Hickey
Mullingar 11 Carlow 14
Carlow seconds conceded a try in the last play of the game making the score closer than the game looked on the field.
Playing in Mullingar with the backing of a strong wind the home side led by 6 points to 5 at halftime. Two Mullingar penalties were offset with an unconverted try scored by Carlow scrumhalf Alan Owens. Unfortunately, Owens had to exit the game with a serious-looking knee injury shortly after.
After the interval, Carlow did most of the pressing but butchered a number of potential tries by poor final passes. The visitors had to be content with three penalties which gave them an 8 point margin at 14 – 6. In this, they discovered a new placekicker in back row player Conor Treacy.
For their part, Mullingar, playing into the wind, ran at Carlow at every opportunity. To their credit, Carlow met this challenge with classical round the ankle tacking. Especially prominent in this regard were back rowers Jack Hickey, Conor Treacy and Ed Keating, also hooker William Ganley. Indeed the Carlow J1 side who gave away numerous penalties for high tackling could learn from their J2 comrades.
With good numbers coming into Oakpark for training the hope now is that Carlow 2nds will continue to get games in the Leinster League. Next week the J1 and J2 sides are due to play against Clondalkin in Dublin.
Carlow J 2 team and subs
Bobby Cope, Padraig O Connor, Jeff McDermott, Tom Bolger, Chris Curnow, Zach Fitzhenry, Alan Owens, Cian Clarke, William Ganley, Rhys Roberts, Dave Keppel, Anthony Mannion, Steve Tracey, Jack Hickey, Conor Treacy.
Liam Curran, Patrick Kenny, Brian O Neill, Ed Keating, Tommy Doyle, Matthew Keogh.