Earlier this year Kilkenny knocked Carlow out of the Towns Cup but last Saturday at Oakpark Carlow got some revenge when overcoming visitors Kilkenny by 19 points to 14 in the South East League. The win puts Carlow into a South East final against the winner from Gorey, Tullow and Wicklow.
In Saturday’s match, the home side dominated the first half in territory and possession. However, despite being parked around the Kilkenny 22 for 80% of the half Carlow was not in scoring mode. A kickable penalty was ignored in favour of a quick tap which went nowhere. Eventually, the home side got their breakthrough try in the 38th minute. A Kilkenny played was yellow carded for persistent fouling. Following good ground gained by centres Sean Quinlan and John Murphy second-row John Lyons drove the last hard metres across the line to get the touchdown. The conversion, from out wide, was narrowly missed and Carlow went to the break with a 5 to nil scoreline.
The home side continued to pressurise the visitors early in the second half. In the lineout, the Evan Gordon darts usually found Wes Shirley at the back and the Carlow continued to win a number of scrum penalties.
Five minutes into the half this home side pressure was rewarded when winger Johnny Crossley jinked his way through to score near the posts. The conversion gave Carlow a 12-nil lead. Ten minutes later the home side’s lead was pushed out to 19 nil when the referee awarded Carlow a penalty try after a scoring pass from Conor Treacy was slapped down by a Kilkenny back.
After this latest score, the visitors started to display the sort of form which brought season’s Towns Cup Noreside. The Kilkenny errors from the first half were largely eliminated. Kilkenny players ran hard at Carlow and this led to the home side conceding extra penalties.
Twenty minutes into the half Kilkenny got a converted try. The tide had now turned in favour of the visitors but Carlow held them out till five minutes from time-up when another converted try brought the score to Kilkenny 14 Carlow 19. With the aid of more penalties, the visitors again threatened to Carlow line in search of a winner but a knock-on in the lineout in the 80th minute meant that the Oakpark side held on for an important win. At the end of the game, there was a concern for the number of Carlow players who had to leave the field with injuries including 3 with head injuries.
Carlow 17 Kilkenny 34 Junior 2 Match
Kilkenny began this match like they were going to crush Carlow. After 20 minutes the visitors had raced into a 22 to-nil lead which included 3 tries, two of which were converted, and a penalty.
Then in an amazing turnaround, Carlow stopped their gallop and scored three tries of their own without reply.
In an open entertaining game, the Oakpark side eventually blunted the Kilkenny attack and stopped their big runners while they were still in traffic.
Carlow’s two first-half tries were scored by out half Diego Sanche (Spanish student) and Tristan Groenewald playing at number 7. Neither of these tries was converted. Groenewald struck again early in the second half when he barged over following a lineout catch. The conversion closed the gap to 17 – 22 in favour of the visitors.
At this stage, a home win was on the cards. Kilkenny seemed to be tiring and Carlow’s confidence was on the up.
However, the visitors regrouped and drove through for another converted try. Again the spirited Oakpark side came back and were pressing the Kilkenny goal line only to suffer an enemy intercept in which the Kilkenny player ran the length of the park to score. The conversion pushed the final score out to Carlow 17 and Kilkenny 34.
Top players for Carlow included Jack Hickey at centre, new scrumhalf Joaco Joaquin from Chile at scrumhalf along with Tristan Groeneweld and David Keppel in the pack.
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