Carlow 11 – Tullow 16
Tullow have re-established rugby bragging rights over local arch rivals Carlow following a hard fought 16 – 11 Leinster League victory at the Black Gates on Sunday.
The Slaneysiders win came almost totally via their dominant scrum. They never actually crossed the Carlow line, their 16 points coming from a scrum related penalty try plus three penalties kicked by outhalf William Canavan.
For their part Carlow defended strongly but their promising backline was starved of possession for most of the game.
The visitors scored first. Almost from the kick-off Tullow were penalised for holding on and Carlow captain Ritchie Whyte slotted over the kick to put the visitors 3-0 ahead.
Within three minutes Tullow were up to the Carlow line and the Oakpark side was penalised for pulling down a moving maul. Despite this being a very kickable penalty, especially for Tullow’s William Canavan, the home side signalled their intent by opting for a scrum.
Four times the teams packed down with Tullow getting additional penalties. The visitors were under desperate pressure but somehow they survived and forced a Tullow knock-on when the ball went out to the Tullow backs.
However the relief was short lived. On 15 minutes Tullow were awarded another penalty at a scrum 35 metres out from the Carlow posts. This time Canavan kicked his goal to make it 3 points all.
Back in September when Carlow beat Tullow by 12 -3 Carlow backs looked potent. Again on Sunday scrumhalf Isaac Daly and winger Fionnan Burke made good breaks but didn’t have enough support on hand to convert these into scores.
But thirty five minutes into the game the visitors were again under the cosh with a series of messy inconclusive scrums on their own line. However the referee was in no doubt but that Carlow were at fault and loosehead Larry McGrath paid the price and was sinbinned.
Tullow continued to opt for scrums and while the home side never actually crossed the Carlow line with the wheeling scrums the referee eventually lost patience and ran in under the posts to award the home side an automatic 7 pointer penalty try.
The home side started the second half 10-3 ahead and immediately this was stretched to 13 – 3 when Tullow’s Joe Waters forced a turnover penalty straight from the kick off.
Canavan kicked another penalty within minutes to give the Black Gates side a substantial 13 point advantage.
The Tullow scrum seemed to lose some of its power when Kilcoyne and Waters were substituted and the powerful Stephen Smith went off with an injury. The visitors came more into the game. Carlow players made a number of breaks the most promising of which came from Wes Shirley who was hauled down near the Tullow posts. The two Mullins, Darragh at Fullback and Martin at 6, also made clean breaks. Thirty minutes into the half Carlow eventually broke the Tullow defence when slick handling from Millward and Whyte was finished by David McDermott. Whyte’s conversion came back off the post to leave Carlow still 8 points adrift at 16 -8.
However momentum had shifted in favour of the visitors who were getting more possession. More breaks by Jeff McDermott and Millward lacked supporting runners but the pressure led to Tullow conceding kickable penalties. Fullback Willie O Brien was yellow carded . Ritchie Whyte was wide with a penalty attempt 12 minutes from time but succeeded 2 minutes later to earn Carlow a losing bonus point.
While Carlow pressed hard for a winning score in the final 10 minutes Tullow held out relatively comfortably.
When it comes to nominating a man of the match the leading candidates were Tullow number 10 Canavan and loosehead prop Scott Caldbeck.
Speaking after the game Tullow coach Maurice Logue said that he was relieved to have won the local derby. “Our players showed up and dominated the set pieces.
In Carlow in September we missed some front line players. Today we had them back and they made a difference.”
Carlow coach Steve Ashmore praised his side’s defence but regretted not getting more possession. “We were decimated in the scrums but in the second half when we had more possession we showed that we could make progress”.
Tullow J1 team
William O Brien, Ryan O Neill, Keiaho Bloomfield, capt, Shane Rohan, Richard Nicholls, William Canavan, Dylan Leybourne, Scot Caldbeck, Sam Corrigan, Louis Kilcoyne, Joe Waters, John Hanbige, Kyle Handbridge, James O Brien, Stephen Smith.
Subs; Jordan Leybourne, Aaron Byrne, Jack McDonald, Sean Doylee, Philip Deane.
Carlow J1 team
Darragh Mullins, Fionnan Burke, David McDermott, Ritchie Whyte capt, Jeff McDermott, Fiach Millward, Isaac Daly, Larry McGrath, Evans Gordon, John Lyons, Wes Shirley, Thomas Whitney, Martin Mullins, John Murphy, Ross Elmes,
Subs John Farrell, Owen Edgehill, Sam Dunne, Sam Cullen, John Whyte.
Tullow 30 – Carlow 12
In a match played at the Black Gates on Sunday prior to the Junior 1 game Tullow seconds outclassed their Carlow counterparts by 30 points to 12. This result has shunted Tullow ahead of Carlow into third place on the table.
Tullow outhalf Paul Canavan opened the scoring with a penalty in the third minute . Playing an expansive game Tullow had first half tries from fullback Adam Doyle and speedy winger Paul Stephenson. A further penalty plus conversion from Canavan put the home side into an 18 to nil lead with 35 minutes gone.
Then it was Carlow’s turn to play to their strengths. Captain Ed Keating, number 8 James Nolan and winger Graham Brennan all made good runs before passing to Joe Gorman who broke through to register Carlow’s first score. This made it 18-5 to the home team at the interval.
The visitors upped their game for the second half and had a lot more territory and possession. Subs including the Slater brothers Liam and Conal made a significant impact with Liam getting in for a try. Fullback Tom Bolger ran strongly through several tackles but lacked support. But Carlow’s lineout malfunctioned badly and was made worse when their tall second rower Anthony Mannion went off injured.
However it was the more clinical home side that again put the most points on the board in the second half. Paul Stephenson ran 40 metres before passing to Fionn Murphy for a touchdown.. And almost in the final play of the game the fourth Tullow try was scored by Paddy McCall.
Tullow had strong performances from outhalf Canavan, number 8 John FitzGerald and veteran prop Alan Burns.
Tullow J2 team
Adam Doyle, Patrick Tobin, Aidan Murphy, Paul Stephenson, Tom Eustace, Paul Canavan, Bill Eustace, Alan Burns, Cian Doyle, Martin Cole, Dylan Thomas, Neil Keane, Paddy Dawson, , Fionn Murphy, John FitzGerald
Subs Devin Moran, Paddy McCall. John Bolger, Paddy Kehoe, David Tobin, Shane Brooks.
Carlow J2 team
Tom Bolger, Cormac Walshe, Simon Walshe, Harry Hennessey, Graham Brennan, John Whyte, Daniel Nemec, Lorcan Gill, Joseph Gorman, Mark Slye, Anthony Mannion, Fred Leonard, E Keating capt, Owen Edgehill, James Nolan
Subs; Conal Slater, Liam Slater, Conor Tully, Dean Hayden, Ian Atkinson.