Pre-season rugby is hotting up in Carlow and Kilkenny and following opening defeats for both counties two weeks ago against New Ross (16-12) and Enniscorthy (35-17) respectively, rivalries were renewed at Oak Park this afternoon.
Unfortunately for Carlow, the break in action for the All-Ireland last weekend benefitted Kilkenny much more than their hosts and leaves the Oak Park men with much work to do ahead of their final round game against Enniscorthy.
It took Kilkenny five minutes to find their scoring touch, Liam Caddy picking up Kilkenny’s first try on the right flank for Rory McInerney to convert before doubling down a minute later on the opposite flank, Kilkenny out of the traps with a 12-0 lead. 17 minutes into the first half and Kilkenny had a third try at the hands of Evan Dixon, Kilkenny extending their lead to 19-0 before adding a fourth in the first half to go in to the break with a 26 point lead.
Go back to January when Kilkenny hosted Carlow at Foulkstown and the situation was quite similar, Kilkenny picking up six first half tries before taking their foot off the gas in the second half and allowing Carlow back into the game. Alas, a lot of rugby has been played since and we’re far from January.
And, while Carlow were admittedly better in the second half (despite what the scoreboard said) and managed to spend more time inside Kilkenny’s 22, Kilkenny’s defensive line stood up to every test thrown at them.
Kilkenny took just seven minutes of the second half to find a fifth try of the day; Podge Mahon added a sixth after sprinting almost from Kilkenny’s 22 before Evan Dixon and Liam Caddy (both with two tries to their name) combined well on a breakaway on the left wing to free Caddy through with pace and drop over the line for Kilkenny’s and the game’s seventh and final try in the closing minutes of the game.
47-0 it finished, Rory McInerney converting six from seven and Kilkenny making up for their opening loss to Enniscorthy, who they’ll be facing in Division 1A of the Leinster League this season. Carlow, having gone down to New Ross, will have to make some big improvements if they’re to come away with anything against Enniscorthy next weekend.
Elsewhere, Tullow fell 57-5 to a strong Gorey side at Clonattin in section B of this year’s South East League while Kilkenny’s J2 side defeated Carlow 47-12 in the 1.30pm kick off. Kilkenny Women meanwhile defeated Wexford Vixens in a preseason friendly 29-17.
Photos: Kilkenny vs Carlow at Oak Park
Photos courtesy Ken McGuire Photography