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Coolmine 19 Kilkenny 12

Last Sundays Leinster League games away to Coolmine will be remembered for a number of things but most important the fight back by the seconds. Trailing by 14 points to 0 after ten minutes the omens looked anything but good. Then the team knuckled down to the task on hand and the fight back began.

When the final whistle was blown the underdogs won by the narrowest of margins 24 to 23. The first team for their part were a little unluckier for having led at half time they allowed Coolmine back into the game and finished up losing 19 points to 12. They did however get a bonus point and that was reward for a display which might have deserved more.

The team once again played consistently but the number of penalties which were awarded against them proved costly. Three minutes into the game outhalf Conor O Brien had his team in front with a penalty. Shortly afterwards his opposite number Dominic Crotty had the sides level.

The deciding moment came in the 31st minute when Coolmine No 8 Liam McGrath split the Kilkenny defence open to send full back Niall Fitzgerald in for a try. Kilkenny did reply with penalties in the 33rd and 39th minute to lead 9 points to 8 at the break but the emphasis was with the home side and they struck early in the second half.

From the drop off Kilkenny were penalised and Coolmine were back in front 11 to 9. It was 14 to 9 when Crotty kicked a penalty in the 21st minute and when the same player made it 17 to 9 in the 35th minute even the bonus point appeared to have slipped away. Then the character came into play and Kilkenny upped the pace and went all out for the win. It was not to be but with time just up they won a penalty and the kick from O'Brien assured them the bonus point and justly deserved.

The seconds were trailing 14 points to nil after ten minutes and a win was the last thing they anticapated. Containing the home side was the only thing they could expect against a team which had not lost in two years at home. Then Kilkenny began a fight back which will be rembered for many a day.

Winger Tom Massey got the first try after been set up by Quenten Hearne and converted by Barry Daly. Scrum half Hearne born in Fetard On Sea and domiciled in Kilkenny for 15 years got the second after a forwards maul . Now the tide had turned and it was anybodys game.

Coolmine showed why they are considered a top class side when they replied with two penalties . Kilkennys reply was a try from veteran player Simon Manuel who scored under the posts after been set up by none other then commander in chief Quenten Hearne with a perfectly delayed pass. Manuel proved his pedigree when the forwards created a maul and the Kiwi born player finished it off in style for his second try.

Coolmine made it 24 to 23 with a penalty but Kilkenny would not be denied a brillant victory with a super team performance.

Both first and seconds will have next week off and return on November 22nd for the home game against Enniscorthy.

It will be followed on December 6th at home to Garda.

The break might help Kilkennys cause with key players Killian Everard Philip Ryan and Nigel Daly on the injured list. A player making a huge impression since his arrival from Argentina is Max Vidella the front row forward. Only 21 years and weighing in at close to 17 stone he is really making a big contributiuon to the forwards with his power house displays.

The club send their best wishes to former captain Pat Holden who got married last week end to Diane Guiney in Bruff. The Dunamaggin farmer played a key role in Kilkenny's sucess in recent years along with playing for Clontarf, Blackrock and Leinster. His main mentor over the years was rugby guru Willie Brennan.

Kilkenny: W Kavanagh J Cody M Vidella V Ryan J Blanchfield A McIntyre R O Donoghue L Phelan J Manuel C O Brien M O Grady C Phelan A Pembroke J Hughes C Hayes

Seconds: O Hennessy M Comerford S Manuel V O Shea T Massey B Daly Q Hearne D Buckley E Brennan G Clark B McIntyre L Meighan C Bass G Costelloe M Hennigan B Nolan J Dunne J Madden A Virgo D Matthews Ico Tvildiani D Ryan

Sean O'Shea, 10th November 2009