The Leinster domestic junior rugby season is gathering pace before the winter break as game week six lands.
Kilkenny, Tullow and Carlow all picked up much needed wins last time out but all occupy different positions in their respective divisions.
Carlow are having a flying start to 2015/16, sitting second in Division 2A and could make it five wins in a row this weekend, their only loss coming on the opening day of the season against Portarlington.
Kilkenny, having picked only their second win of the season at home to Clondalkin last weekend occupy fifth spot in Division 1A while Tullow’s first win of the season on Sunday last against Longford was enough to keep them off the bottom spot in Division 1B.
Gorey v Kilkenny
Kilkenny travel to Clonattin to take on Gorey at 2.30pm on Saturday.
Gorey finished runner up to Kilkenny in last year’s Division 1B campaign and the two sides meet for the first time this Saturday in Wexford. Gorey almost caused an upset against league leaders Enniscorthy last Saturday night and currently occupy third spot in 1A for their efforts thus far.
Michael O’Leary spoke to Kilkenny’s Packie Hennebry on The Way It Is about the trip to Gorey.
“They’re going to be formidable opponents”, he says “they always are down there. It’s a very dogged place to go.”
While it wasn’t offered as an excuse, Kilkenny have had their fair share of injuries already this campaign and fitness concerns over some of those in the side have raised their heads as the Foulkstown men have let a few games already slip away from them in the last twenty or so minutes.
Clondalkin was another example last weekend, leading 28-0 at the break (and it could have been much more), they allowed the Dubliners score 19 unanswered points in the second half as Kilkenny seemed to all but shut down. Yes, they hung on for the win, but agains the bigger sides in 1A and with ambitions to stay in 1A, that’s a hole that needs to be plugged rather quickly.
“We find that we’re able to handle it for maybe 40, 50 minutes but in the last fifteen to twenty minutes, we really seem to fade. I don’t think it’s a fitness thing, it might just be a mindset thing. We think we have games won but in this division you can’t just take your foot off the pedal where as last year and the year before we could a little bit.”
Listen to the full chat below.
Tullow v Wicklow
Tullow welcome Wicklow to Black Gates this Sunday at 2.30pm.
Tullow welcome Wicklow to Black Gates this Sunday afternoon where they’ll be looking to build on last weekend’s win over Longford at CPL Park.
Speaking to KCLR earlier in the week, Tullow President Tom Nolan said
“It was a good distance to travel to get a win, but good to get it on the road, you know? The lads played hard on heavy ground in bad conditions so it was a good win without a doubt.
I know how hard the lads are working, two nights a week, playing. We’ve a couple of lads coming back from injury, there’s a couple of the seconds knocking on the door. I’d be fairly confident we’ll do alright in the league we’re in.
(The win) will have brought morale in to the players and a bit of belief into them so we’re looking forward to a good game Sunday. Wicklow will be by no means a pushover but maybe the luck will go our way this time.”
And if it’s luck they’re after, they’ll have been short on it so far this season. While last Sunday marked their first win of the season, they’ve picked up several bonus points from the first few games showing the margins have been pretty tight.
League leaders North Kildare should edge Cill Dara in their derby this weekend and if they do, a second win for Tullow could jump them to sixth as they look to kick-start their 1B campaign.
Athboy v Carlow
Carlow travel to Athboy in Division 2A on Sunday at 2.30pm
Luck, form and belief are very much on Carlow’s side so far this season. They’ve had the new jersey launch, they’ve found good form after a mixed pre-season and they’re on course for five wins in a row in Division 2A.
Overcoming Edenderry last weekend, Carlow head to Athboy on Sunday afternoon to face a side who, not only are propping up the league table, but have conceded just shy of 50 points a game in their first five fixtures – a total of 249 as it happens.
Odds are stacked in Carlow’s favour on a lot of fronts and we’re imagining there won’t be much of an upset in the result after 4pm Sunday.
Leaders Portarlington host third placed Portlaoise in a fixture which could change the landscape of the top three. Wins for Portarlington and Carlow puts daylight between them and Portlaoise. A bonus point win for Carlow is on the cards and a win for Portlaoise would jump the Oakpark side to top of the division and in good standing heading towards their return fixture against Portarlington early December.
We’ll have a full look back at the weekend’s results on Monday.