By John Shirley
New Ross 13
If Carlow are to entertain hopes of Leinster League promotion this season a win in last Sunday’s top of the table clash against New Ross was vital. So to come away with a bonus point victory was sweet indeed even if the margin flattered the visiting Oakpark side.
New Ross led for much of this game. Their backs, with two sets of brothers, looked young and lively.
And, unexpectedly, their scrum bossed the Carlow eight leading to a raft of penalties for the home side. Carlow were probably lucky too in that Kilkenny hurling star Walter Walsh, who played for Ross in recent Leinster League games, was absent on Sunday.
New Ross opened the scoring with a well worked try. A Carlow lineout throw went over the top and was collected by Ross scrumhalf Gavin Mernagh.
He ran across field, offloaded to centre David Crowdle who had run an excellent line and broke the Carlow line for a try. Number 10 Kevin Burke missed the simple conversion.
Carlow’s first try also came from a lineout overthrow. This time it was James Nolan’s turn to collect the overthrow at the back. He rumbled through Ross players left and right for fully 30 metres before being grounded. Somehow his backrow colleague Ross Elmes managed to collect the ball and seemed to stumble in the last 10 metres for a try. A good conversion by Robert Browne gave Carlow a 7 – 5 lead.
Within 5 minutes the Wexford side regained the lead with an unconverted try from Matt Crowdle after his brother David had pierced through some weak Carlow backline tackles.
New Ross held this 10 -7 lead till the interval and extended it to 13 – 7 early in the second half with a penalty kicked by Gavin Mernagh.
After this the visitors got more into the game with the backrow of Shirley, Nolan and Elmes making good runs. However every time Carlow progressed they were sent back by the ceding of penalties. On one foray to the Ross 22 Robert Browne kicked a penalty to narrow the deficit to 13 -10. Time was slipping and 20 minutes into the 2nd half the home side were still ahead.
However their heavier pack started to tire. Carlow looked fitter and carried more ball into contact. Eventually a break by sub Simon Walshe was carried on by Mannion and Elmes before Carlow captain Larry McGrath got the touchdown. Again fullback Robert Browne drove home the difficult conversion to put Carlow ahead 17 – 13.
Carlow’s next try followed strong carries by Gorman, Muphy and sub Mark Slye finished by Wes Shirley.
And in the final seconds of the game Wes Shirley, playing at 7, again seemed to break through half of the New Ross team before offloading to Johnny Murphy who dotted down under the posts.
Carlow had left it late but they now had the 4-try bonus point that keeps them top of the table, 6 points ahead of Newbridge and 7 points ahead of Railway Union who have a game in hand.
Carlow Junior 1.
Rob Browne, Seamus Curran, Jeff McDermott, Harry Hennessey, Johnny Murphy, John Whyte, David Barron, Larry McGrath, (Capt) Joe Gorman, Alan Byrne, Thomas Whitney, Michael Mannion James Nolan, Ross Elmes Wes Shirley.
Subs; Evan Gordon, Mark Slye, John Lyons, Simon Walshe, Tim Mullins
New Ross. Junior 1.
Barry Walsh, Matt Crowdle, David Crowdle, Eanna Burke, Paudi Barden, Kevin Burke, Gavin Mernagh, James Bryan, Shane Roche, Kevin Browne, Bryan Harte, Kyle Roche, Joe Coughlan, Tim Coughlan, James Ryan.
Subs Bob Dempsey, Kieran Treacy, Breen Howlin, Dion Prendergast, Gary Murphy.
Leinster League Junior 2 game
New Ross 9 Carlow 16.
Carlow’s Junior 2 side also left it late to oust New Ross in their Leinster League clash, eventually beating their hosts on a 16 -9 scoreline. At half time Carlow led 6 – nil from two penalties kicked by their new Kiwi outhalf Tim Mullins.
In a game of many penalties, Ross scored with two early in the second half to tie the game at 6 pts each.
Carlow then scored the games two late tries from the same routine. A penalty was kicked to the corner. From the lineout Niall Berminghan caught the ball and made some metres.
For the first crucial try, scrumhalf Peter Cassidy made the breakthrough and touchdown. For the second and final try second rower Gavin Whitney muscled over the line. Neither try was converted.
In between New Ross had slotted another penalty but good tackling by Carlow meant that the home side never looked like scoring a try. This win keeps Carlow Junior 2s on top of their Leinster League table.
Carlow J2 team
Tom Bolger, Eoin Rea, Rudi Corcoran, Aidan Niehenger, Dillon Kehoe, Tim Mullins, Peter Cassidy, Ross Byrne, Evan Gordon, Zac Fitzhenry, Gavin Whitney, Frederic Leonard, Ed Keating, Tim O Donoghue, Niall Bermingham.
Subs Mark , John Lyons, Simon Walshe, Niall O Mahony.