The final round of games locally before the winter break in the Leinster League have been fixed for this coming weekend.
Defeat for Tullow against Wicklow on Sunday could put pressure on the Black Gates side to stay in Division 1B, while Carlow will be hoping their good run of league form this year will continue against Mullingar at Oak Park.
They were beaten 21-20 with a last-minute penalty.
Kilkenny moved up to fourth in Division 1A at the weekend with a last gasp 21-18 win over Gorey and they’ll be on the road to Suttonians this coming Saturday.
The Foulkstown side’s missed games this season have also been set for December 18th and January 2nd against Bective Rangers and Ashbourne.
Carlow had a very strong 27-6 win over Cill Dara on Sunday coming away with the bonus point (see below)
Match Report by John Shirley
Carlow came away from Cill Dara on Sunday with five valuable Leinster League points due to their 27 – 6 four try bonus point win.
This was a game where the visitors capitalised on almost every opening they got and in between they defended with a vengeance. As the game wore on, and as they coughed up opportunities, Cill Dara’s frustration showed in them losing their shape and their ability to play as a team. In contrast, the visitors kept their cohesion throughout and this led to their tries.
As in a lot of their Leinster League games this season, Carlow were slow out of the blocks. On a perfect day for winter rugby, they gifted the home side kickable penalties in the 8th and 23rd minutes. These were converted by Cill Dara number 10 William Doran to put his side 6 nil ahead. Between the two penalties, Carlow prevented a try when Cill Dara was held up in the goal area.
In the 31st minute, the visitors got their breakthrough try. Charges by Moore, Richard Whyte and Ben Crotty were all stopped just short of the try line but when the ball was passed to James Nolan coming at speed he was unstoppable. Richard Whyte added the conversion to give the visitors a 7 – 6 lead.
On the stroke of halftime, a Carlow maul rumbled all the way from midfield to well inside the Cill Dara 22. From this centre, David McDermott darted through the disjointed defence for the first of his two tries. This gave the Oakpark side a 12 – 6 interval lead.
Within a minute of the restart, Richard Whyte pushed the lead out to 15 – 6 with a penalty. This was followed by a period of home side pressure. Their strong marauding number 8 Joe-Joe McIlwrath dropped the ball on the Carlow line coughing up a certain score.
The Carlow scrum began to creak but this was reversed when James Nolan moved from 8 to 2 and the powerful Conor Treacy came in at number 8. The home side continued to win territory and possession but couldn’t breach the tight Carlow defence. Twenty minutes into the second half McIlwrath was sin-binned following a frustrating period of persistent fouling.
Carlow responded by driving upfield via another maul and, following a good passing move Richard Whyte broke the defence for Carlow’s third try which he converted to give Carlow a lead of 22 – 6.
In this League campaign, Cill Dara had won all their home games included that against League leader Wicklow. They weren’t prepared to concede softly to Carlow. For most of the final 12 minutes, the home side was camped on or near the Carlow line. Kickable penalties were ignored in attempts to bulldoze over the white line. But the Oapark lads were just as determined and eventually the siege was lifted.
Another rolling maul was generated and when the ball was flashed out to the Carlow backs David McDermott rounded his opposite number and ran in for his second try.
This final play of the game brought the score to 27 – 6 which rather flattered the visitors. Cill Dara was missing a number of players including their influential Kiwi Logan Nicholson who has returned home early for Xmas.
But Carlow too is still without their captain Ross Elmes plus some Covid absentees.
Compared to the 1st game of the season, also against Cill Dara, Carlow had only five of the same starters.
Remarkably in their panel of 20 for Sunday’s game, Carlow had three sets of brothers John and Richard Whyte, Jeff and David McDermott plus Dan and Ben Crotty. Crotty’s Dad Tom, the Carlow President, said that this all pointed to the strength of the family in Carlow Rugby Club.
Carlow’s J2 also travelled to Cill Dara but the home side was short of a full panel and conceded the game to Carlow. However, some Carlow subs donned the Cill Dara jersey filled out the home team and played out a friendly match. All got a game and went home happy.
Cill Dara J1
Rory Conway, Eoin O Loughlin, Fionn Heffernan,Ryan Curran, Adam Meehan, William Doran, Jack Banahan, Aaron Kane, Gordon Shannon, Dj Brannock, Christopher Walsh, Billy Scully, Richard Snell, Adam Doyle, John Joe McIlwrath
Subs: Shane Dempsey, Rob Scully, Stephen Walsh, Robin Dempsey, Christopher Ryan.
Richard Whyte, Ben Crotty, Dave McDermott, Caomhan Brennan, Sam Cullen, Dan Crotty, Jeff McDermott, Larry McGrath, Matty O Donovan, Cian Clarke, Owen Edgehill, Wes Shirley capt, Conor Moore, Johnny Murphy, James Nolan
Subs: Evan Gordon, John Lyons, Conor Treacy. Isaac Daly, John Whyte.
Listen in to our weekly rugby podcast involving Carlow, Tullow and Kilkenny called “The Knock On”.