It was another mixed weekend on the local rugby front – Kilkenny bouncing back from a pair of losses, Tullow continuing their flying form to the early stages of the season while
Kilkenny v Gorey, Division 1A
It might have looked like the game was beyond them, at home, again.
With a 20-10 half time lead, Kilkenny let Gorey back into the game on Saturday in Foulkstown, deep into the second half to surrender two tries and slip two points behind. However, where this might have fazed Kilkenny in previous clashes, Gordon Rowe’s men stayed with it right to the end with Joe Manuel picking up a try on the last play of the game coupled with a Jake McDonald conversion to seal a much-needed win following back-to-back losses against Dundalk and Enniscorthy.
Kilkenny opened the scoring with an early try but missed the conversion, Gorey taking their kicks when they counted at the start to make it 7-5 to the visitor in the early stages. A Kilkenny penalty moved the Foulkstown men out to 8-7 before surrendering a penalty (and a man) of their own to slip back to 10-8. The the sides keeping things close in the first half, Kilkenny still managed to exert dominance, turning in two tries before the break to go in 20-10 at half time.
Kilkenny’s last-ditch scoring in the second half brought about a 27-22 final score in favour of the home side..
The win leaves Kilkenny in fourth two points clear of Gorey, trailing Dundalk in third only by virtue of points difference on the field. Malahide and Enniscorthy continued their early dominance and now lead by 10 points after just four games. Malahide were put to task by Dundalk but came away with a slender one point win to put another 4 points in the bank, while Enniscorthy were run close 25-22 by DLSP. In the days other game, Monkstown slipped to their third defeat, 18-5 at the hands of Ashbourne who picked up their first win of the season in the process.
Railway Union v Carlow
Additional reporting by John Shirley.
Railway Union 24 Carlow 19
Last season in the two Leinster League games between these two sides Carlow won in Dublin and Railway Union won in Carlow. Last Sunday in Dublin Railway Union won by five points but a draw would have been a fair result. Both sides scored three tries but whereas RU converted all tries plus another penalty, Carlow missed one conversion plus a kickable three pointer.
In an evenly matched contest the Sandymount based team scored first when their left winger broke through and passed to their number 8 who scored close to the posts. Carlow replied with tries by centre Fionnan Burke and scrumhalf Alex Crossley both of which started from a break down in the Railway Union midfield. Carlow players picked up dropped balls and ran in for the two tries. Peter Hennessey converted the second try to put the Oakpark side 12 – 7 ahead in the thirtieth minute.
But on the stroke of half time Carlow gifted RU a try when their centre intercepted and ran 40 metres in under the posts to give the home side a 14 – 12 half time lead.
Just 2 minutes into the second half things got worse for the visitors when they coughed up another soft try which was converted to open a 21 – 12 gap. Carlow dominated the rest of the second half but errors and wrong options left them scoreless until 30 minutes in when sub Sam Dunne went in at the corner after good work by the pack. Hennessey converted to reduce the gap to two points.
The scene was set for a storming last 10 minutes. Good work by Shirley, Ratahi, Nolan and Slater brought Carlow to the RU line but the concession of penalties allowed RU first to get up the field and then to convert over the crossbar. From the kick off a superb aerial catch by Wes Shirley again led to Carlow pressure but the Dubliners tackled everything that came at them till the final whistle blew.
Tullow v Mullingar
Tullow went to bed on Sunday night sitting on top of Division 1B, a far cry from how things looked last season – albeit by virtue of points difference, Tullow are a few points scored ahead of Clondalkin, both level on thirteen points after three games.
As the club write via Facebook…
J1s took on Mullingar today in Division 1B clash. Our men really followed suit from our ladies today and took the midlanders out of their comfort zone brought them for touch line to touch line. Solid work in the opening half to break down Mullingar with two fine worked tries one from Paul Stephson and the other from Scott Caldbeck both converted by the on form boot of William Canavan. Who also added a penalty in the opening 40. Tullow 15 Mullingar 0 half time score.
Second half saw much of the same dominance with some fine team tries Caldbeck getting his second. Ryan o Niell finished off a majestic move from our backs. Returning John Handbidge hiring the line at pace got him a break away try. What a way to finish of the game with a hollow o Brien crossing the line John O Brien picking his moment to go touch down in the corner. Our men crossing the line six times securing the Bonus point win today.
Joint top of the league next week is a massive week.
Tullow’s 39-7 victory was huge in getting them to the top of the table and sets up a massive game next weekend away to fellow leaders Clondalkin. Elsewhere on Sunday, the aforementioned Clondalkin were narrow two point winners over North Kildare (25-23), Suttonians picked up their first win of the season on a narrow 18-16 margin away to Coolmine, while Wicklow trashed Portlaoise on a 47-5 scoreline.