By John Shirley
Given their strong outing against Kilkenny last week some expected the Carlow pack to also boss the Tullow eight in their South East derby rugby game played at the Blackgates on Sunday.
However it was Tullow who dominated up front and this led to their four tries and their relatively easy 26 pts to 3 victory.
From the off, the two sides tore into each other. Too much so, opined the referee who penalised Tullow seven times in the first 11 minutes culminating in Captain Ato Bloomfield going into the sinbin.
During this period Carlow were camped in the Tullow half but spurned several kickable penalties and instead kicked to the corners but the Tullow pack repulsed them every time.
Eventually, 15 minutes into the game, Carlow opted for the posts. Youthful Number 10 Mark McDermott, slotted over the easy penalty to give the visitors a 3 nil lead. From the kickoff Tullow’s pack retrieved the ball, drove up field and bagged a scrum on the Carlow 22.
In the scrum Carlow back peddled. Forceful number 8 Stephen Smith, made a lot of ground before getting the ball to Kyle Hanbidge who scored Tullow’s 1st try on 17 minutes. Canavan converted.
It was now Tullow’s turn to enjoy territory and possession. On the half hour Carlow were deemed to collapse the advancing Tullow maul and Wes Shirley was sin binned. When Tullow opted for a scrum five metres off the Carlow line against Carlow’s seven men, a score looked inevitable and so it proved.
Canavan again goaled to give Tullow a 14 – 3 lead at the interval.
Three minutes into the second half, with Carlow restored to 15, Hanbidge and Bloomfield made the hard yards before passing to William Cas O Brien who scored Tullow’s 3rd try. Canavan was narrowly wide with the conversion.
Ten minutes later Tullow forwards mauled the ball fully 30 metres up the field allowing sub Michael Demetriou to break off and run in for a score. Canavan’s added the points to make it 26 – 3.
At this stage both sides, with next week’s Leinster League start in mind, brought on their subs. Tullow lost prop Scott Calbeck and this helped Carlow achieve parity in the scrums. Carlow fielded an exceptionally young backline with six out of the seven aged 20 or less.
Against the stronger Tullow team the Calow halves, Crossley and McDermott, did well. Sam Dunne on the Carlow right wing coped well in the rain with Canavan’s long probing kicks.
But overall Tullow’s strength and experience prevailed. Near the match end the field was graced by Tullow’s veteran prop Tommy Dwyer.
The audience speculated on his age but Tullow President Tom Nolan said that he was at Dwyer’s 50th nine years ago!
Tullow coach, former Carlow player Maurice Logue, said that Carlow probably should have scored more during their earlier dominance.
Carlow and Tullow Seconds teams were also due to play their South East fixture on Sunday but Tullow gave Carlow a walkover.
The attention of both clubs now turns to the start of the Leinster League games next week. Tullow welcome Towns Cup winner Wicklow to the Blackgates in Division 1B while Carlow travel to Cill Dara in Division 2A.
Paul Stephenson, Davy Moran, Willie Cas O Brien, Ato Bloomfield Capt, Ryan O Neill, William Canavan, Dylan Leybourne, Scott Caldbeck, Sam Corrigan, Tom Cashin, Kyle Hanbidge, John O Brien, John Roche, James O Brien, Stephen Smyth.
Subs used: Michael Demetriou, Paul Canavan, Shane Brooks, Colin Stephenson, Michael Kirwan, Tommy Dwyer
Caomhan Brennan, Sam Dunne, Simon Walsh, Fionan Burke, Seamus Curran, Mark McDermott, Alex Crossley, Larry McGrath, Conal Slater, Alan Byrne, Thomas Whitney, Wes Shirley, Niall Bermingham, Chris Challe, Thomas Ratahi (capt).
Subs used Mark Slye, John Lyons, Adam Dowling, Rudi Corcoran, Gearoid Dunbar.
Coyotes Lose 10 – 5.
The Carlow Ladies, the Coyotes, lost their opening league match against Mullingar on Sunday by two tries to one. The match played on Sunday at Carlow IT, saw the teams level at 5-5 at the interval, the Carlow score coming from fullback Maureen Young. Mullingar got another try five minutes into the second half. Carlow pressed hard for the remainder of the game but the Midlanders held out for the win.
Maureen Young, Terry Kruger, Saoirse Fitzhenry, Catriona Cassidy, Lisa Doyle, Jade Collins, Erin Byrne, Val Timmons, Fiona Cantwell, Rebecca Smyth, Lisa O Malley, Cloe Byrne, Nollag Lyons, Jenny Ardill.