The bragging rights for rugby in Carlow have bounced back East to Tullow after their hard-fought win over Carlow in the Leinster League at Oakpark on Sunday.
The game doubled up as the annual contest for the Carpe Diem Cup which Tullow has now retained.
But most of all this derby win over the old enemy has lifted the Slaneysiders out of the relegation territory which was threatening two weeks ago.
Tullow came to Oakpark with determination in their every sinew and had a try on the board in the 4th minute. A penalty was kicked to the corner.
The lineout maul was crabbed over to the posts leaving Carlow with little cover on the right. Tullow exploited this and William “Hollow” O Brienscored in the corner.
Paul Canavan got an excellent conversion from the touchline and followed it with two penalties to put the visitors 13 points up.
From the start, Carlow was trying to play expansively through their backs and this was stretching the Tullow defense.
Eventually, in the 23rd minute, the home side registered their first score when centre David McDermott broke a tackle to run in under the posts. Carlow continued to make threatening runs with Conal Slater and Wes Shirley to the fore.
Just before halftime, Shirley got through for Carlow’s second try under the posts. Richard Whyte’s conversion put Carlow into a 14 – 13 lead at the interval.
Tullow had the wind in the second half but Carlow continued to flash the ball across the backs and was rewarded with another try six minutes after the restart.
This time David McDermott was the provider along the left touchline with a cutout pass to Caomhan Brennan who jinked his opposite number to score out wide.
The conversion was missed but within minutes Carlow’s Richard Whyte had kicked a long-range penalty to put his side into a 22 – 13 lead.
At this stage, a home victory looked the most likely but Carlow’s Achilles Heel intervened to give the initiative to the visitors.
In the first half, Carlow conceded 8 penalties to one by Tullow. In the second half, the penalty count was Carlow 8 Tullow 2.
With the wind behind him Tullow, number 10 Paul Canavan time and again drove Carlow back into their 22.
While the home side surprisingly shaded the scrums and the line outs were 50 50 the visitors dominated the loose rucks and mauls. The front five tucked the ball under their arms and charged into the opposition.
Carlow continued to concede penalties and eventually, Martin Cole burst through for a try. This plus another Canavan penalty put Tullow back into a 23 – 22 lead.
The home side tried to play their way from the 22 two but made too many errors. Carlow’s Cian Clarke was yellow carded and Tullow tails were up.
The next score came from player of the match Paul Canavan who crossed near the post. He duly converted to deny Carlow a losing bonus point.
However, Tullow ran out of time to get the four-try bonus point.
Speaking after the win Tullow coach Maurice Logue said that Tullow had to win that encounter. We didn’t want to lose two in a row to Carlow. We kept our composure and tightened our game when Carlow seemed to be opening us up and played to our own strengths”.
Carlow coach Corey Carty said that discipline was the key issue. “Our attacking game was very good but it was undermined by the concession of penalties and a yellow card. Our focus is now on next week’s game against Clondalkin where we will have to bounce back from today’s loss.”
Richard Whyte, Calum Murphy David McDermott, Dan Crotty, Caomhan Brennan, Alan Owens, Jeff McDermott, Owen Edgehill, Conal Slater, Cian Clarke, John Lyons, Wes Shirley,Capt, Conor Treacy, Johnny Murphy, James Nolan.
Subs: Evan Gordon, Alan Byrne, Paddy Mackey. Cormac Murray, John Whyte.
Sean Doyle, Ryan O Neill, Conor Lenehan, Jack Johnson, William O Brien, Paul Canavan, Dylan Leybourne, Scott Caldbeck Capt, Jordan Leybourne, Tom Cashen, Martin Cole, John Hanbidge, Jack McDonald, James O Brien, Stephen Smith
Subs: Louis Kilcoyne, Joe Waters, Des McDonald, Aho Bloomfield, William Cas O Brien.
Carlow 42 Tullow 29
Carlow’s Junior 2 team completed their perfect Leinster League clean sheet of 12 wins from 12 games by beating Tullow at Oakpark on Sunday.
The scoreline of Carlow 42 Tullow 29 points came from a lively game where both sides enjoyed periods of dominance.
Tullow scored first with an unconverted try. Carlow replied with two successful penalty strikes by out half Liam Slater, plus Slater converted a Carlow try to put his side 13 – 5 ahead. Just before halftime, Tullow scored a converted try to trail by only 13 – 12 at the interval.
Carlow had a purple patch in the 3rd quarter. Two quickfire tries by winger Johnny Crossley and another by Sam Cullen put daylight between the sides.
Tullow scored a 7 pointer to reach 19 points. Crossley crossed again for his hat trick plus a Williams Ganley try pushed Carlow’s total to 42 points.
Near the end, Tullow began to dominate again but two late tries only made the scoreline more reflective of the overall game. Scorers for Tullow included Paddy McCall, Frank Murphy, and Jack Fitzgerald.
After the match, Stuart Bayley on behalf of Leinster Rugby presented a cup to the winning Carlow J2 side.
He welcomed the sports grants to the Carlow area and thanked the work by local politicians. Coach Corey Carey described the Carlow J2 clean sheet as a massive squad effort. “All season we had players interchanging between our firsts and seconds.”
Rory Carbery, Johnny Crossley, Sam Cullen, Darragh Brennan, Sam Dunne, John Whyte, Tommy McDonnell, Williams Ganley, John Farrell, Rhys Roberts, David Keppel, Anthony Mannion, (C) Steve Treacy, Jack Hickey, Niall Finnegan.
Subs: Matt Keogh, Zac Fitzhenry, Eoin Holland, Shea Somers, Tom Bolger.
Willie Kelly, Paddy McCall, Jonah Holland Brennan, Ryan O Sullivan, Paddy Tobin, Cian Leonard, David Tobin, Nathan Doran, Jack Fitzgerald, Keith Hickey, Des McDonald, Frank Murphy, Conor Murphy, John Bolger, John Fitzgerald,
Subs: Cathal Deacon, Adam Broughan, Fiacra Kavanagh, Rian Farrell
Ashbourne v Kilkenny
The Kilkenny J1 team has dropped to the bottom of the Leinster League Division 1A table following their weekend defeat to Ashbourne.
21-15 was the final score.
Ashbourne opened the scoring with a try which they converted. A strong wind in the first half also worked in their favour and after a tough defensive display to keep them out, they got a penalty which made the score 10-0 after 23 minutes.
The Meath men then hit the post with a penalty kick but managed to kick the next two to make it 16-0 approaching the 50-minute mark.
Kilkenny had the wind in their backs for the second half and managed to get on the scoreboard with a penalty before going over for a try following that.
Ashbourne was then held up over the line but managed to get through the stubborn Kilkenny defense and get the try to make it 21-8.
Towards the end of the game then Kilkenny got a penalty try but the whistle came then and it finished up 21-15 to Ashbourne.
Check out our weekly rugby podcast featuring Kilkenny, Carlow and Tullow called The Knock On.