Looking back, it was a hectic weekend of local rugby action when playing conditions around the country on Saturday and Sunday weren’t exactly the greatest.
When the dust settled on Sunday evening, Carlow were left rueing the result against Edenderry, a side they had the better of in November, while Kilkenny and Tullow gained much needed ground in cementing their positions in Division 1A and 1B respectively.
Clondalkin 19 v Kilkenny 23
If ever there was a weekend where Kilkenny needed a road win and to put points on the board, it was this weekend gone. The win over Clondalkin on Sunday.
Clondalkin started early, tacking a penalty onto the scoreboard inside the opening three minutes before Evan ‘Cheese’ Dixon replied with an unconverted try for Kilkenny on the 10 minute mark. Clondalkin added one of their own five minutes later before Jake McDonald added another 3 points for Kilkenny, the Foulkstown men trailing 10-8 at the break. The second half hoodoo that hit Kilkenny so often in the early stages of the campaign seems to have waned as Wes Carter and Philly Walsh added second half tries for Kilkenny. With Clondalkin keeping pace and Kilkenny holding a one point lead in the closing minutes, Jake McDonald struck again to seal a vital 23-19 victory for Steve Ashmore’s men.
The remaining results of the day played out in Kilkenny’s favour as Monkstown got the better of Ashbourne and Suttonians slipped, as expected, to DLSP. With 4 games left to play for Kilkenny (two of those in hand), there’s a mathematical chance they could finish higher than fifth, but at this stage of the season another two clear victories should be enough to ensure Division 1A status for 2016/17.
Tullow 34 v Longford 17
A strong first half wind helped Tullow towards a comprehensive 34-17 bonus point victory at home to Longford on Sunday afternoon. Getting out of the traps early, Tullow were 10-0 up inside ten minutes, running out to halftime at Blackgates with a 24-3 lead.
The second half performance was much better for Longford, outscoring the hosts, but a second try from Will Cass O’Brien all but sealed the points for Tullow with ten minutes left to play, the final score 34-17.
Edenderry 23 v Carlow 20
“Wayward Carlow kicking, lethal running from the Edenderry full back and the fact that their place kicker was on form” were just some of the factors attributed to Carlow’s surprising though narrow 23-20 loss to Edenderry on Sunday afternoon.
Willie Groome opened the scoring for Edenderry with a terrific solo effort in the opening ten minutes before James Nolan (try) and Ritchie Whyte (penalty) added 10 for Carlow to edge ahead with ten minutes to go to the break. The Oak Park men gave up a penalty inside the closing stages of the first half to leave the sides 10-10 at the break.
Just like the first half, Willie Groome struck again for Edenderry within seven minutes of the restart, adding a long-range penalty to compound Carlow’s woes. James Nolan added his and Carlow’s second try (unconverted) to bring the score to 20-15 before Stephen Cummins kicked over for Edenderry, giving the hosts an eight point lead with five on the clock. Conal Slater added a third try for Carlow late on but missed conversions proved the difference as Edenderry ran out 23-20 winners.
Carlow get their Provincial Towns Cup campaign off and running this coming weekend against Cill Dara at Oak Park and while KCLR will be there, it’s possible outhalf Fionnan Burke won’t be there after picking up a head injury.
With Railway Union gaining ground and both sides still to meet, Carlow will have their work cut out to chase second place in Division 2A having dropped points for the second week running.
What’s next for local teams?
Kilkenny and Tullow have a weekend off this coming weekend as Carlow get their Provincial Towns Cup campaign started in the first round against Cill Dara on Sunday at Oak Park. Following that, it’s a February 6 date for Carlow against New Ross for their game in hand at 3pm on the Saturday
while Tullow’s next league game (with Towns Cup in between) comes 28 February against Wicklow. Kilkenny, with two games in hand, will have a busy month as well. With a bye this weekend Kilkenny are out on 6 February against Suttonians with an away win very likely against a side who have lost eleven of eleven. Ashbourne await on Valentine’s Day at Foulkstown before their second round Towns Cup fixture on 21 February.