It was a weekend to forget for Carlow, Kilkenny and Tullow as the three local sides’ J1 teams were all defeated.
On Saturday, Kilkenny faced Monkstown but shipped a heavy defeat going down 58-7 to the Dublin side.
Kilkenny was missing up to 12 of their normal starters however through injury, Covid-19 and other issues.
Tullow was in action against Cill Dara but lost 31-24 in their game.
The Tullow women’s team also lost to Railway Union 38-12.
Wicklow 20 Carlow 6
The difference between the two sides at the Leinster League match in Wicklow on Sunday came down to the home side nailing their chances while the visitors Carlow fluffed theirs. As a result of this 20 points 6 loss Carlow’s hope of League promotion, this season is realistically gone for the Junior 1 side.
However, the Carlow Junior 2 side won again in Wicklow on Sunday and this side now looks odds on for the Leinster League Division 1B Seconds title. See report below.
Coming off the field after the J1 defeat Carlow Coach Corey was disappointed but not downbeat.
“ Our scrum was dominant and our lineouts were OK. We had breaks, we had chances but we rushed and forced too many plays which came unstuck. We just need to click and that will come with more games.”
As in many games, this season Carlow were slow out of the blocks. Within 10 minutes Wicklow out-half Ben Watson had converted a penalty and missed an easier one.
It took Carlow 20 minutes to make the 1st foray into the Wicklow 22. But once they got there the visitors dominated the second 20 minutes during which time Richard Whyte converted two penalties to put Carlow into a 6 – 3 lead.
It seemed only a matter of time before Carlow would extend this lead with a breakthrough try but the touchdown never came. Wicklow’s defence never cracked under the Carlow onslaught.
Instead, on the stroke of halftime, they lifted the siege, broke up the field with galloping runs from numbers 4 and 5 and finished with a wingers try in the corner. Watson missed the conversion but the home side went into the interval with a fortuitous enough 8 – 6 lead.
The second half continued in the same pattern. Carlow made a number of breaks. At different times John Murphy, Richard Whyte, Conal Slater, Jeff McDermott and Conor Treacy all broke into the clear only for a Wicklow player to get back to stifle any passes or possible offloads.
There are reasons why this Wicklow side is on top of the table and defence is one of them. Both sides unloaded their benches. Carlow looked to have a strong bench in Dave McDermott, Conor Moore, Conor Treacy Cian Clarke and Sean Quinlan who came up through the youth teams.
However, while Carlow continued to threaten to score it was the home side who actually delivered the goods.
Late in the game, Wicklow subs, Fergus Ward and Noel Sheridan were on the end of good moves and missed tackles before crossing Carlow line in the corner. After the first of these tries, Watson added a touchline conversion to push the score to 15 – 6 which knocked Carlow out of losing bonus point territory.
Watson missed the conversion of the final try. Carlow players could not be faulted for effort or fitness. Prop Ross Byrne played for 80 minutes and never took a backward step. Larry McGrath likewise on the other side. Wes Shirley stole a number of Wicklow lineouts. James Nolan made lots of rampaging runs but teams are now watching for him and sending in double tacklers to stop him before he gets momentum.
But as coach Carey says this is a team with promise and potential. Maybe they will click for the Towns Cup!
Carlow J 1
Richard Whyte, Jeff McDermott, Dan Crotty, Caomhan Brennan, Johnny Crossley, John Whyte, Isaac Daly, Larry McGrath, Conal Slater, Ross Byrne, John Lyons, Wes Shirley capt, Owen Edgehill, Johnny Murphy, James Nolan
Subs: Conor Moore, Cian Clarke, Dave McDermott, Conor Treacy. Sean Quinlan.
Aaron Byrne, Adam Cullen, Shane Farrer, Alex Porter, Jack Dunne, Ben Watson, Dave Nicholsan, Jay Byrne, Mark Cullen, S Tuimataniaaqa, Stephen Swan, Conor Vize, Jonny Hopkins, Dylan Byrne.
In beating the home side by 31 points to 24 in Wicklow on Sunday Carlow’s Junior 2 side have delivered nine straight wins from nine starts and opened an 11 point gap at the top of their Leinster League Table. With three matches to go they are odds on favourites for the Cup.
In Sunday’s match, Wicklow struck first with a converted try to lead 7 – 0.
From the start, Carlow’s backs looked promising if only their passes could stick. Following the Wicklow try Carlow hit a purple patch and ran in three tries. All were scored by backs and all were started from moves well out the field.
Rory Carbery scored two of the tries from the wing with centre Sam Cullen getting the third touchdown. Both players broke tackles on their route to the line.
For two of the tries, the scorer ran around behind the posts. The third try was scored in the corner but fullback Liam Slater converted all three.
This meant that Carlow began the 2nd half with a 21 – 7 lead and with high hopes of opening an even wider gap. Two minutes into the half the gap was stretched to 24 – 7 when Slater converted a 40-metre penalty.
However, immediately after this, the game deteriorated from Carlow’s viewpoint. The visitors conceded penalty after penalty and were pinned in their 22 for the next 15 minutes. This culminated in a converted Wicklow try to close the gap to 24 – 10.
From the restart, the visitors enjoyed another period of dominance. After a strong run, Sam Cullen was inches away from a second try. Evan Gordon who had been sin-binned for the robust play was back on the field and seemed to be everywhere.
Eventually, Carlow got their try when Paddy Mackey picked from the back of a five-metre scrum and burst through the diminutive Wicklow scrumhalf. Slater again nailed the conversion to restore a 17 point lead at 31 – 14.
When these two teams played in Oakpark Wicklow also trailed badly but they never gave up and scored two late tries.
It was the same pattern on Sunday in Wicklow. In the final 10 to 15 minutes they took the game to the visitors scoring two late tries in the corner. Neither try was converted and the second was scored in the last play of the game.
The visitors were grateful that the final whistle came when it did.
Liam Slater, Sam Dunne, Sam Cullen, Bobby Cope, Rory Carbery, Alan Owens, Cormac Murray, Rhys Roberts, Evan Gordon, Alan Byrne, Dave Keppel, Anthony Mannion Capt, Steve Treacy, Darragh Brennan, Paddy Mackey.
Subs: Tom Bolger, Matt Keogh, Shea Somers, Niall Finnegan, Chris Curnow.
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