Carlow 30 Newbridge 3
Happy days again in Carlow rugby club. Just like Ireland in the Six Nations at the weekend Carlow are Leinster League Division 2a Champions with one round left in the series.
A 30 – 3 point victory at Oakpark on Sunday over Newbridge put Carlow into an unassailable lead and automatic promotion into Division 1B for next season where they will be in the company of near neighbours Tullow.
With 13 straight wins from 13 games, Carlow are the only team across all of the Leinster League this season to remain unbeaten.
With the 8 point advantage over second placed Dublin side Railway Union after this weekend’s matches, the presentation of the Division 2A cup to the Carlow team on Sunday sparked off joyful celebrations.
However for much of Sunday’s game it looked as if Newbridge might spoil the party. The young Kildare side came equipped with fast young backs and from the start they tore into the home side with no holds barred. At one stage they crossed the Carlow line but the referee deemed that the ball was held up.
In between the Newbridge surges Carlow managed to kick two penalties from 3 attempts by fullback Rob Browne. Newbridge too had three kickable penalty attempts but winger Karl Darragh was only successful with one. This left the home side reaching the break with a narrow 6 – 3 lead and down to 14 men after their captain Larry McGrath was sinbinned on the stroke of half time.
But the 1st half exertions took their toll on the visitors. From the start of the second half Carlow turned on the after burners. They played some of the best rugby of their season which delivered four well worked tries.
The half was only minutes underway when James Nolan made one of his trademark bursts up the middle. The ball came back to outhalf John Whyte whose pass to winger Seamus Curran on the right sent him in for the games first try.
Another Nolan burst eight minutes later and quick passing allowed centre Simon Walshe in for the second Carlow try. The third try followed a kick to the corner with Joe Gorman getting the touchdown at the back of a powerful Carlow maul.
By the time of the fourth bonus point try Carlow had all of their subs on the field. Outhalf John Whyte cut right through the opposition before feeding centre Fionnan Burke who ran in under the posts. Rob Browne’s conversion brought up the 30 points for home side and celebrations were beginning.
In praising his squad after the game coach Steve Ashmore told them not to underestimate how good they were and not to underestimate how hard it is to win a league.
In accepting the cup and pennant captain Larry McGrath, (fresh from wresting with the snow on his Baltinglass dairy farm) said that this trophy had come after many season’s of struggle without reward. He said that the team had a lot of talented youth on board and that the Club’s future was again bright.
Carlow’s only remaining match in the Leinster League is an away encounter against Mullingar which was postponed from Sunday March 4 due to weather. This has been rescheduled for next weekend.
Robert Browne, Seamus Curran, Fionnan Burke, Simon Walshe, Johnny Murphy, John Whyte, Jeff McDermott, Larry McGrath, (Capt) Joe Gorman, Alan Byrne, Thomas Whitney, John Lyons, Niall Bermingham, Wes Shirley, James Nolan.
Subs; Evan Gordon, Tim O Donoghue, Ed Keating, Michael Mannion, Cormac Walshe,
Conor Dolan, Karl Darragh, Paul McDonald, Billy Delaney, Denis O Callaghan, Liam Donovan, Ronan Skehan, Rory McCann, Niall Duggan, Paddy Commone, Oisin Howell, Keith Moran, Niall O Connor, Brendan Kiernan, Ronan Mangan Capt.
Subs Davin Morgan, Alan O Connor, Brendan Commane, Billy Delaney, Garry Maguire.
St Mary’s 24 Carlow Coyotes 13
The Carlow Coyotes women’s team were beaten at the weekend in their playoff match against Dublin side St Marys for possible promotion into the All Ireland League. However margin of 24pts to 13 was a lot closer than the 45 – 5 loss suffered against the same opposition in an earlier round of the league.
Fourth placed Carlow had to travel to the top placed Dublin side but it was the visitors who scored first with a Maureen Young penalty. Carlow continued to play well and were only in arrears by 10 – 3 at the interval.
In the second half the Coyotes added to further tries scored by fullback Aisling Brosnan but the home side also added two converted tries to go in front by 11 points at the finish.
The Carlow Coyotes now look forward to playing Gorey away in the Women’s Provincial Town’s Cup.
Aisling Brosnan, Louise Conville, Maureen Young, Bethany Sharpe, Lisa Doyle, Sorcha Fitzhenry, Emily McKeon, Erin Byrne, Val Timmons, Tanala Keogh, Rebecca Mullen, Val Kavanagh, Joyce Mahon, Keeva Owens, Catriona Cassidy.
Subs Lisa O Malley, Fiona Cantwell