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Kilkenny 10 Tullow 9

Kilkenny got that much sought after Leinster League win on Sunday in Foulkstown by the narrowest of margins.This was no more than they deserve for in recent weeks they had no luck as results went against them. That was all put aside in the game against Tullow but they did make hard work of it.

For the supporters it was even harder with the visitors leading for most of the game. It was a hard, tough, tight but fair game which saw each player give every ounce of energy in their bodies.

Kilkenny had enough opportunities to put the game beyond their opponents in the first half but ball handling errors and a little
nervous tension cost them scores. The first ten minutes saw Tullow inside the Kilkenny half and causing a little concern.

When Kilkenny did get inside the Tullow half they were awarded a
penalty but the kick was off target. Was it to be another day of missed chances?

When Tullow were awarded a penalty in the 16th minute from
the half way line the responsibility was handed to Willie Canavan
their out half. We all know what his father Larry could do in his day
breaking the hearts of many a team. Well young Willie can do the
same. He repeated his kicking skills in the 28th minute with a drop
goal and Tullow were six points ahead.

The score remained the same at the break with Kilkenny having missed three try scoring opportunities. The second half would decide Kilkennys season for a win was the only desired result. It began in earnest in the 15th minute with Tullow on the attack.

Kilkenny turned over posession and the move began. No 8 John
Phelan broke out of defence and had Killian Everard along side. The
winger made ground before passing to Mick O'Grady who burst along the sideline to within 15 metres of the Tullow line. The ball was recyled along the backline and the last man there was Max Vidella the prop. If ever you needed a man like Max to be in that position this was it.

When he received posession the look of determination said it all. TRY! Vidella crossed the line as fast as any winger to touch down and make the conversion for Dave McMahon that little bit easier.

Kilkenny were in front but not for long. When Willie Canavan was given the opportunity to put his team back in front he duly obliged. The score read 9 to 7 and ten minutes plus remaining. Possession was now vital and both sides pushed hard but Kilkenny appeared to have the upper hand.

Centre Julian Hughes made one of his many breaks into the Tullow half and in attempting to stop the move the visitors went offside. The responsibility to put Kilkenny back in front was handed to the coolest man on the park. Out half Dave McMahon has done it all before and his sweetly stroked penalty sailed between the posts.

Kilkenny were in front by the narrowest of margins and we still had five minutes to play. Tullow did not look like scoring a try but a penalty or drop goal was within their range. Kilkenny's discipline was of the highest order and the win and league points were theirs.

The pack once again stood up and were counted, Kavanagh and Cody in the front row while the Ryan brothers were giants on the day. John Phelan was superb and close by Willie Duggan and James Blanchfield covered every move. Rod O'Donoghue was making a welcome return from injury and made a huge impression. Wherever O'Donoghue is the action is close by.

In the backs Alan Pembroke was really on fire and making big
hits. Scrum half Nigel Daly gives so much, Conor O'Brien had his
monents while Kilian Everards speed had Tullow really stretched at

The seconds were never in any danger and ran out convincing winners 58 points to 12.The tries came from Dave Matthews(2) Paul O Flynn(2) Simon Manuel(2) Tom Massey and Gerry Clark.

It was good to see Shane Rafferty and Bruno Byrne back playing after long lay offs to injury.

Kilkenny: W Kavanagh J Cody M Vidella P Ryan V Ryan J Blanchfield W Duggan J Phelan N Daly D McMahon C O Brien A Pembroke C Phelan J Hughes K Everard R O Donoghue

Seconds: E Brennan B Nolan M Hennigan P McCorry G Clark D Matthews C Bass R Pembroke Q Hearne B Daly A O Malley S Manuel K Brennan P O' Flynn V O'Shea J Madden A O'Donovan S Rafferty T Massey B Byrne

The League table after twelve games stands as follows:

Newbridge 42
Coolmine 39
Enniscorthy 34
New Ross 31
Tullow 30
Wicklow 21
Kilkenny 20
Garda 16

President Lar Foley would like to thank the medical staff of Frank
Chambers Julie McMahon Nadya Borisova and the Tullow physio for their prompt action during the game on Sunday.

Sean O'Shea