Carlow 18, Tullow 24
Tullow came away from Oakpark on Sunday with local rugby bragging rights firmly in their pocket following their 24 to 18 points Leinster League win over home side Carlow.
The highly entertaining match played in ideal conditions saw the lead changing hands several times. Carlow began strongly and within four minutes had a 3-0 lead from a Ritchie Whyte penalty. Four minutes later Tullow were awarded a penalty under the Carlow posts. Instead of taking the 3 points on offer they took a quick tap and ran the ball. The home players withstood that first onslaught but the ball was recycled eventually second rower Martin Cole burst through for a try which was converted by Paul Canavan.
The game continued with end to end action. Both outhalves were gaining territory with long rangy clearance kicks. It was expected that the heavier Tullow pack would have scrum dominance but the Carlow eight were just about holding them.
Mid way through the opening half Carlow outhalf Ritchie Whyte, with penalty advantage, kicked to the right wing to Callum Murphy who scored in the corner. Whyte then converted from the touchline to put Carlow 10 – 7 ahead.
Tullow launched an assault on the Carlow line with Smith and Hanbidge to the fore but the ball was held up. Tullow still held penalty advantage which Canavan goaled to make it 10 points all.
Ten minutes later a Ritchie penalty restored Carlow’s lead. Canavan was wide from 35 metres in front of the posts for Tullow but the visitors were now beginning to show dominance. On the stroke of half time Tullow’s Smith knocked on with the line under his nose. Then a last ditch tackle from fullback Fionnan Brennan stopped a Tullow try in the corner, but Tullow tails were up and after Sean Doyle made a run up the right wing the ball was recycled to number 6 Kyle Handbidge who barged over. Canavan’s conversion gave his team a 17 – 13 half time lead.
In the second half the visitors continued to turn the screw on the home side. This was greatly facilitated by Carlow’s concession of a series of penalties at the breakdown. Almost inevitably this resulted in a yellow card for repeat offending 12 minutes into the half. The recipient Ross Byrne had just some on as a substitute.
During the sin binning Tullow attacked again and again. Carlow defended gamely from side to side but eventually Tullow’s Sean Doyle ran in their third try. Canavan’s conversion made it 24 – 13 and the visitors were looking strong.
However Carlow brought on a couple of subs. Scrumhalf Isaac Daly was injured and replaced by John Whyte. Ross Byrne came back on to shore up the scrums. The tide began to turn back in Carlow’s favour. 30 minutes into the half Whyte stroked a kickable penalty to the corner. From the lineout the Carlow pack drove the visitors back over their own line with sub John Farrell getting the touchdown.
Ritchie Whyte’s conversion was wide but the home side, now on a losing bonus point, went after a late winning score.
The manner of the pushover try seemed to energise Carlow and their supporters and the remainder of the game was played near the Tullow tryline. Now it was Tullow’s turn for desperate last ditch tackling. Sean Doyle saved a certain try from a Carlow winger. Tullow sub William Cass O Brien was sin binned for a dangerous high tackle but a penalty try was not forthcoming.
Eventually Carlow ran out of time and were not able to repeat the last gasp win that their second’s side had earlier achieved.
However both sets of supporters agreed that this was one of the most entertaining derbies ever played between the two protagonists.
Fionan Burke, Jeff McDermott, Sam Cullen, Pat Connors, Callum Murphy, Ritchie Whyte Capt, Isaac Daly, Larry McGrath, Conal Slator, John Lyons, Wes Shirley, Thomas Whitney, Martin Mullins, John Murphy, Ross Elmes.
Subs, John Farrell, Luke Curran, Ross Byrne, Owen Edgehill, John Whyte, Sam Dunne.
Sean Doyle, Ryan O Neill, Shane Rohan, Aho Bloomfield Capt, Richard Nicholls, William Canavan, Dylan Leybourne, Scott Caldbeck, Sam Corrigan, Tom Cashen, Frank Murphy, Martin Cole, Kyle Hanbidge, James O Brien, Stephen Smith.
Aaron Byrne, Jordan Leybourne, Jack McDonald, Paul Canavan, Philip Deane
Carlow 21, Tullow 19
Last gasp win for Carlow!
Tullow’s seconds team at Oakpark on Sunday must have felt like the French team in 2018 after they lost to Johnny Sexton’s last second drop goal.
With 3 minutes left on the clock Tullow were leading in this game by 19 points to 7. They had seen off numerous Carlow challenges and were now comfortably in the Carlow half. However Carlow outhalf Peter Hennessey picked up a lose ball and jinked around a couple of would be tacklers. Next he kicked the ball over the heads of the remaining defenders, chased it himself and touched down beside the posts for a fine individual try. Michael O Sullivan’s conversion brought the score to Carlow 14 Tullow 19.
From the restart the ball found its way to Carlow left winger Stephen Crowe. He took off like a hare, beat the first man on the inside, the next on the outside to score in the corner. Now we had a drawn game at 19 all but with a difficult conversion from the touchline to come. Up stepped scrumhalf O Sullivan who put the ball sailing between the posts. And the ref blew the final whistle. Tullow players and supporters were in shock.
Overall if the game was based on possession and territory Carlow should have won but it’s scores that count and until the last gasp tries Carlow found scores hard to come by.
Tullow got the first 7 points of the game on 10 minutes when prop Aaron O Byrne barged over from 5 metres. Carlow levelled on 30 minutes when Graham Brennan intercepted and ran the length of the field. Both sides tried and missed penalties before, on the stroke of half time, Tullow’s John Hanbidge broke through Carlow tackles to score near the posts.
Carlow were camped in the Tullow 22 for much of the second half but seemed unable to score. Carlow’s lineouts had become shambolic but their scrums stood firm against the heavy Tullow eight. Carlow prop Luke Curran was held up from scoring as were
Carlow wingers. Then Tullow broke out and winger Tom Eustace finished off a good move to score far out. Aidan Doyle missed the conversion but with his team 19-7 ahead and less than 10 minutes remaining the miss did not seem to matter.
That was until Carlow’s late late Houdini act.
Carlow 2nds Team
Tom Bolger, Graham Brennan, Conal Brennan, Rob Browne, Stephen Crowe, Peter Hennessey, Michael O Sullivan, Luke Curran, Mark Slye, Capt. Philip Lonergan, Gavin Whitney, Michael Sheeran, Alan Doyle, Steve Treacy, Aaron Forbes.
Subs JD Swayne, Zach Fitzhenry, Conor Treacy, Lorcan Gill, Brian O Mahony
Tullow 2nds Team
Paddy McCall, Tom Eustace, Philip Timmons, Philip Deane, Ryan O Sullivan, Paul Canavan, David Tobin, Aaron O Byrne, Jordan Leybourne, Louis Kilcoyne, Joe Waters, Paddy kehoe, Cian Doyle, Aidan Murphy, John Hanbidge
Subs Gary Hade, Keith Hickey, Adam Doyle, Matthew Mulhall.