Provincial Towns Seconds Cup
Tullow 15 – 3 Ashbourne
With additional reporting from Tullow RFC.
Tullow Rugby Club First team got their Towns Cup campaign off to the best possible start a few weeks ago by blowing Newbridge out of the water 60-0.
But it was their seconds team in action at the weekend showing huge power and strength to knock Ashbourne out of the way on a scoreline of 15-3.
Ashbourne as a club have been going very well as of late, and with momentum on their side they faced the men from The Blackgates and they had a big fight on their hands. Tullow dominated the physical side of the game in all areas and only conceded one penalty in the first half.
Tullow’s discipline was key as Ashbourne gave away eight penalties altogether but it was the solid boot of Paul “Pookie” Canavan who steered the local side, with three from four attempts in the first half going over to give Tullow the lead at half time 9-3.
The maroon and white men kept their patience in the second half and wore down Ashbourne and with a strong bench to call upon they kept the pace up until the end of game to see out the victory.
Tullow now play the winners of Carlow V Gorey on the 26th of February.
Carlow 15 – 15 Gorey
Report by John Shirley
“That was as good a game of rugby as I have seen in a long time” said a Gorey supporter after his side and Carlow played out a 15 all draw, after extra time, in the Seconds Towns Cup at Oakpark on Sunday.
This was a cup match which manifested all that is best about the game of rugby. A feast of open rugby, was punctuated by exciting breaks, last ditch tackles and changing leads. Both sides gave their all with round the ankle tackling a feature of the game.
On paper Gorey should have won this cup match with ease. They sit two divisions above Carlow in the Leinster League and are third from the top. But the Carlow lads didn’t read this script. Carlow Junior 2’s too are riding high in their 2A league division. And while they conceded an early try, they subsequently matched the Wexford side every inch of the game. Indeed had either of the Carlow’s extra time penalties gone over, a replay next weekend would not be needed.
That 1st Gorey try came in the 4th minute. After several Gorey charges to the line had been repulsed, their fullback Andrew Walsh just got over the Carlow line with his finger tips. Veteran scrumhalf Aidan O Brien added the conversion to put the visitors 7 – nil ahead.
The game swung from end to end. Carlow had come close but not scored when after 22 minutes, O Brien extended Gorey’s lead to 10 – 0 with a penalty. Earlier in the half Carlow had rejected penalty kicks at the goal in favour of kicks to the corner but when a kickable penalty was offered on the half hour mark, captain Tom Bolger asked scrumhalf Nigel Smyth to put points on the Board and he obliged.
The score seemed to galvanise the Oakpark side and in the last 10 minutes of the first half they ran in two tries. A Gorey clearance was collected by winger Willie Kelly on the half way. He made a jinking run well into the Gorey 22. The ball was circulated a number of times with smart passing among the Carlow backs before number 10 Caomhan Brennan cut through to score. Smyth goaled to tie the score at 10 – 10. The second score also followed some slick Carlow passing before winger Adam Byrne came into the line to create a score. Smyth was narrowly wide with the conversion but Carlow had a crucial 15 – 10 lead going into the second half.
The initiative had now transferred to Carlow but while they dominated territory for much of the half, they couldn’t convert this into scores. Several times they seemed odds on to breach the Gorey line but failed at least twice with knock-ons and several more times with last ditch Gorey tackles.
After 25 minutes Gorey number 10 chipped ahead from his 22 collected the ball on half way, ran to the Carlow 22. Carlow seemed to have stopped the threat only for a supporting winger to squeeze over the corner to tie the game at 15 each. Both sides had chances in the last 15 minutes. Carlow lost dynamic number 7 Gavin Murphy with a serious leg injury but his replacement Martin Mullins came on and did equally well.
The game then went to two 10 minutes extra time periods in which Carlow did everything but score. In the first period Nigel Smyth missed two penalty efforts one of which scraped the outside of the post. And in the final act of the second period everybody thought Carlow had won when sub Martin Mullins chased his own grubber kick to touch down beside the posts but the referee called him back for an earlier knock on and then blew the final whistle.
All 15 Carlow players and subs can take a bow for their commitment and endeavour but the tackling of the front row of Keating, Gordon and Byrne, the driving forward by Forbes, Whitney and Farrell and the lineout work of Mannion were all top class. Gorey had some ex first players including Copeland and Scannel (both related to Munster players) in a very heavy pack. They too had a few scoring opportunities. But Carlow the forwards held them well in scrums and lineouts and Carlow’s young backs never shirked tackling these behemoths from Wexford if they ever managed to get by the forwards.
The replay takes place in Gorey at the coming weekend.
Carlow Junior 2 team
Tom Bolger (capt), Willie Kelly, Ian Atkinson, Harry Hennessey, Adam Dowling, Caomhan Brennan, Nigel Smyth, Ed Keating, Evan Gordon, Ross Byrne, Anthony Mannion, Aaron Forbes, Thomas Whitney, Gavin Murphy, Ronan Farrell.
Subs – Timmy O Donoghue, Martin Mullins. Mark Dooley, Zac Fitzhenry, Liam Nolan
Adrian Walsh, Sam Kennedy, Eoin Walsh, Sean Byrne, Tommy Newe, Connor Butler, Aidan O Brien, Ciaran Allen, Eoin Scannaill, Will Rothwell, Zac Sinnott, Ross Doyle, Stephen Triggs, Hyner Giser, Adrian Copeland.
Subs – Akila Kinsella, Tom Tomkins, Reece Hughes, Brian Brooks, Luke Willoughby,