Leinster League Division 1A
North Kildare 10
By Aaron Doyle
In what was a dress rehearsal for their upcoming Towns Cup quarter-final at the same venue, it was the home side Tullow who continued their push for promotion with a win over North Kildare in Black Gates.
With both sides making a few changes to their usual starting line-up ahead of the cup clash, it was Tullow who started brighter. Off the back of winning their own line-out in the visitors’ 22, Tullow worked their way across the field and Willie Canavan played the final pass to Frank Murphy who went over for a try. Ryan O’Neill added the conversion to put Tullow 7-0 up inside five minutes.
After that score, it was North Kildare’s turn to show some of their attacking skill. For most of the first half, they had the both the possession and territorial advantage but the Tullow defence was proving very difficult to breach.
Captain Atho Bloomfield was happy with their performance in this aspect of the game. “It is something we always pride ourselves on, our defence. Whoever we are playing against we want to make Black Gates a fortress,” said Bloomfield after the game.
North Kildare finally got through the wall of defenders camped on the Tullow try line when Gavin Satchwell managed to burrow his way through the defence after some patient build-up play by the visitors. Jack Bruton’s kick made it 7-7 with six minutes left in the half and it looked like North Kildare might kick on with Tullow having a man in the sin bin at this stage.
The reply was almost instant from the home side as they regained their own kick-off after the score. They built up a head of steam quickly and a chip kick from O’Neill played in Shane Rohan, who was not long off the bench, and he finished in the corner. The conversion was missed but Tullow went into the half-time break 12-7 up.
A penalty from O’Neill added to the Tullow lead before Tullow lost their second man of the day after a North Kildare player was tackled whilst in mid-air. The home side put in another massive defensive shift epitomised by Paul Stephenson who pulled off a try-saving tackle when it looked like the winger would finish in the corner.
A Bruton penalty reduced the gap to five points and it was tense for the people who braved the elements in Black Gates. The next score was always going to be important and Tullow got it when O’Neill intercepted a loose North Kildare pass and he ran from his own 22 under the opposition’s posts to seal the game for Tullow. He added the conversion himself to make it 22-10.
With this win, and Clondalkin squeezing past Portlaoise in their game, Tullow will need to beat Suttonians away to secure second place next week. There will be a bit of a wait before they find out whether this is enough for promotion however as they are relying on a Leinster team to not finish bottom of the All-Ireland League.
Tullow: Louis Kilcoyne, Sam Corrigan, Scott Caldbeck; Frank Murphy, Joe Waters; Kyle Hanbidge, John Hanbidge, Will ‘Holla’ O’Brien; Dylan Leybourne, Will Canavan, Richie Nicholls, Atho Bloomfield, Sean Doyle, Ryan O’Neill, Paul Stephenson. Subs: Shane Rohan for W Canavan (32 mins), Martin Cole for S Caldbeck (45 mins), John Fitzgerald for W O’Brien (59 mins), JP Nolan for F Murphy (63 mins), James O’Brien for L Kilcoyne (75 mins).
North Kildare: Gavin Satchwell, Dermot Preston, Darius Takurua; Luke Dempsey, Niall McCann; Sam Woods, Daire Russell, Tom Satchwell; Conor McCrossan, Ciaran Henegan, Darren Kearney, Joe Curran, David Sweeney, Patrick Casey Dunne, Jack Bruton. Subs: Conor Byrne for J Curran (30 mins), Darragh Moran for N McCann (HT), Michael Doyle for D Kearney (HT), Rob Landy for D Preston (66 mins), N McCann for T Satchwell (77 mins).
Referee: Ian Hayes
Three wins for Tullow juveniles
With many games falling victim to the weekend’s bad weather, only three of Tullow’s underage sides got to see some action with two of them competing in cup games.
The first side in cup action were the under-14s who travelled to Kilkenny for a place in the Leinster semi-finals. It was Tullow who were winners by a 56-10 margin.
The under-15s were also in Leinster cup action as they hosted Roscrea. It was a slightly tighter affair but Tullow came out on top 29-5 to book their place in the semi-finals.
Finally, the under-17s were in action against local rivals Carlow at Black Gates. Tullow managed to win well with a final score of 35-5.