Carlow 13, Longford 15.
After an up and down season in the Leinster League, a crucial losing bonus point against Longford at Oakpark on Sunday has got Carlow into a play-off for possible League promotion into Division 1B. The point from the 13-15 loss, put Carlow into second place on 47 points in Leinster League Division 2A just ahead of Cill Dara on 46 points.
The promotion play-off against the Dublin side Suttonians, second from bottom in Division 1B, could take place as early as next Sunday. Already in Division 1B for next season will be local sides Tullow and Kilkenny who will drop from Division 1A. The Carlow Suttonians game will be in a neutral venue.
Sunday’s game in Oakpark against lead leaders Longford was there for the taking. To actually win the League Carlow needed to beat Longford by about 40 points ands stop them from getting a bonus point; an unrealistic hope.
Carlow played some exciting rugby and actually led for much of the game but errors in the red zones cost them the game. The home team played into the breeze in the first half and led at the interval 8 points from a try and penalty to Longford’s 7 points from a converted try.
Thirteen minutes into the second half after dominating possession and territory, Carlow went 13 – 7 ahead with another try. A Longford clearance on the left failed to find touch. The ball was passed to fullback Peter Hennessey who made good ground before passing to Sam Dunne. He straightened the line and made the sweetest of cut out passes to Caomhan Brennan who sped through for the try. (Brennan had also scored Carlow’s first half try which also followed good backline handling.)
Carlow then seemed to go into error mode for a spell and suffered a harsh yellow card when Shirley the tallest man on field was deemed to have high tackled Shane Rodgers the diminutive Longford number 9 even though Shirley pulled away from the tackle and allowed Rodgers run on.
A Longford penalty kicked by number 12 Colm Glynn in the 60th minute narrowed the gap to 13 – 10. Carlow also missed a long range penalty during this period. The home side came back to threaten the visitors line again and again without getting over.
The turning point in the game came 10 minutes from time. Longford fullback Ciaran Kennedy seemed to be trapped on his own line after a deft chip to the corner. Somehow he escaped the Carlow runners coming at him. He sped down the line and launched a kick into the Carlow half. The referee pinged Carlow for obstructing Kennedy after he kicked and awarded a penalty from where the ball landed. Longford kicked for the corner. The subsequent mauls were poorly defended allowing the visitors number 4 Brendan McManus in for the winning try.
Carlow had their chances in the final minutes but over eagerness led to knock-ons and mistakes when more patience could have delivered tries. But then again had Longford scored another converted try, Carlow could have missed out on their play–off match for promotion and their season would already be over.
If promotion does come Carlow’s way, the fact that it will have been achieved with such a young side, will reflect well on everybody involved and especially on coaches Padraig Brennan and Ross Byrne.
Carlow: Peter Hennessey. Samuel Dunne, Simon Walshe, Caomhan Brennan, Seamus Curran, Fionnan Burke, Alexander Crossley, Larry McGrath, Evan Gordon, Ross Byrne, Wes Shirley, John Lyons, Niall Bermingham, Thomas Ratahi Capt, James Nolan,
Subs: Alan Byrne, Andrew Hanley, Harry Hennessey, Thomas Whitney, Martin Mullins.
Longford: Ciaran Kennedy, Eoin Bartley, Cormac Hughes, Colm Glynn, Joe McGowan, Daniel McHugh, Shane Rodgers, Michael Bannon, Hubie Connolly, Dylan Quinn, Anthony Hughes, Brendan McManus, Barry Stewart, Derek Farrell, Paul Gallogly. Subs Kevin Rogers, Justin Murray, John Geelan, Arron Beirne, Karl Murray.
Carlow 10, Longford 10
Carlow’s Junior 2 side had an excellent season and collected silverware on Sunday as runaway winners of their League Division.
Under captain Tom Bolger and Manager David Fitzhenry Carlow’s J2s headed the League by 7 points and still had a game in hand. On Sunday at Oakpark, Carlow played out a 10 all draw with Longford’s J2 side. Carlow fielded a mix of Junior 2 and Junior 3 players but even if they lost this game they were already champions based on previous results. However their fate on promotion will depend on the fortunes of the Club’s Junior 1 side which is heading for the play-off with Suttonions.
In the match on Sunday Carlow’s points came from two tries in the first half both scored by winger Dylan Keogh. Longford’s reply came from a converted try and a penalty.
Carlow Junior 2.
Danny Keogh, Eoin Rea, Jack Hickey, Peter Cassidy, Dylan Keogh, Tom Bolger, Nigel Smyth, Ed Keating, Rudi Corcoran, Timmy O Donoghue, Zach Fitzhenry, Nathan Balfe, Liam Nolan, Chris Challe, Anthony Mannion. Subs Aaron Owens, Alan Egan, Eddie Barron, Barry Waddock, James Waddock.