For the first time this season there was a hat-trick of wins for Kilkenny, Carlow and Tullow’s mens sides all recorded victories in their respective outings against Clondalkin, Edenderry and Longford.
Kilkenny v Clondalkin
There’s more points for Kilkenny on the board – that’s the most important thing to take away from this game, if ever there was a fixture of two halves.
Following recent season form, Kilkenny started strongly in the 2.30pm kick-off, showing a much greater presence and physicality than their visitors. The rain from the morning showed no signs of falling at Foulkstown as the home side ran in four tries in the first 40 minutes.
Wes Carter carried over the line under the posts on 12 minutes before Evan Dixon added a second in the corner 7 minutes later, Rory McInerney hitting both conversions.
A Kilkenny rolling maul helped Hugh O’Brien across the line, again straight under the posts on the half hour mark before Podge Mahon ran in Kilkenny’s fourth on the stroke of half time to bring up a 28-0 lead.
A missed Rory McInerney penalty and an Aiden McDonald try ruled in touch could have furthered Kilkenny’s lead and shut out the game completely inside the first half, but whatever was said to Clondalkin at the break turned the game on its head.
Last year’s beaten Towns Cup semi-finalists put up 19 unanswered points and could have closed to within a try but for a missed penalty inside the final ten minutes of the second half. With most of the second half for Kilkenny spent inside their own 22, they also saw yellow cars for Murt Leahy first, followed by try-scorer Podge Mahon ten minutes later. Andy Nyenhuis, Wayne Kavanagh and Joe Manuel (who had played for the seconds less than an hour previous) made substitute appearances.
As noted above, the most important thing here is a win for Kilkenny and making sure of their home form. The road tests for J1’s this year haven’t been too kind but again, second half performances and the ability to close out games will be called into question and there’s no doubt the homeside will be frustrated with the allowing Clondalkin back into the game as far as they had.
Elsewhere in 1A Ashbourne trumped Monkstown at Sydney Parade 20-6, De La Salle Palmerston condemned Suttonians to five straight defeats on a 29-13 scoreline while in the evening game at Ross Road, Enniscorthy cemented top spot in the league with a 26-20 victory over Gorey.
Next up for Kilkenny is a trip to Clonattin to take on third-placed Gorey who will be looking to right this past weekend’s loss to Enniscorthy.
2,De La Salle Palmerstown,5,4,0,1,2,18
Longford v Tullow
We pitched Tullow for the win on Friday and they delivered on Sunday with a 20-12 win on the road at Longford. The result gives Tullow their first winning points of the season after a run of four straight defeats while also condemning Longford to a fifth straight defeat, leaving them rooted to the bottom of Division 1B.
A Tullow penalty got the scoring underway in the first half but by the quarter hour mark, Longford had their first try of the game with Tullow down to 14 men. A second try from Longford pushed the home side out to 12-3 with defeat looking on the cards again for Tullow. But a turnaround performance kept Longford at the 12 point mark, Tullow picking up two unconverted tries to edge 13-12 ahead before closing the game out 20-12.
One would hope the result gives a lift to Tullow’s season as they get set to host Wicklow at Black Gates this coming weekend.
Division 1B now looks like this after five games.
Carlow v Edenderry
Carlow are men on a mission for 2015/16 and stretched their unbeaten run in Division 2A to four games, the only blip in this early stage being the opening day defeat to Portarlington. Their 6 December meeting in Oakpark should end up carrying great weight coming into Christmas.
Forward planning aside, Carlow are very much keeping pace with Portarlington at the top of Division 2A having overcome visitors Edenderry, 28-7 in the 2.30pm game on Sunday. Stephen Byrne was at the launch of the club’s new jerseys the evening before but the occasion didn’t hamper efforts on the pitch at all. They have Portlaoise nipping at their heels as well but I’d be expecting Carlow’s run to continue next weekend when they head to winless Athboy who’ve conceded just shy of 50 points per game average.
Here’s how Division 2A stacks up