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Tullow 3 Kilkenny 15

Never an easy place to travel to and get a result but that is just what Kilkenny did last Sunday in the Leinster League. They got their first win of the League in a hard fought game with both sides committed and showing plenty of respect for each other.

Kilkenny were the better side but Tullow will regret the number of penalties they conceeded. Indiscipline can be crucial in a game and thankfully Kilkenny kept theirs on a beautiful afternoon in Tullow. Kilkennys defensive skills were also brought into play with the home side putting plenty of pressure on throughout the game.

This was a performance Kilkenny threatened in the two previous games but on Sunday they got it right.The scrum was solid although a little suspect at times but it was the lineout where Kilkenny dominated. It was a rob by James Blanchfield on a Tullow lineout with ten minutes to go which brouught about the winning try . The rolling maul also made good ground to work on and it brought the desired results.

Tullow had the wind advantage in the first half and they made good use of it with their backline looking very threatening. Centre Atho Bloomfield looked very dangerous and had a number of breaks which had the Kilkenny defence stretched.The first real Kilkenny break came in the 17th minute when Joey Manuel, Conor O Brien and Killian Everard linked up before the former was brought down by a high tackle. The resulting penalty shaved the wrong side of the posts and was a let off for the home side.

Shortly afterwards Tullow were in front when Willie Canavan kicked a penalty from in front of the posts. A great lineout catch by Victor Ryan in the 26th minute set up a rolling maul which brought Kilkenny from the half way line to within five metres of the line before Tullow got back to clear. Kilkenny did not score but it showed what they could do. That concluded the first half and Kilkenny despite trailing to a penalty they could feel the happier.

Four minutes into the second half the game turned Kilkennys way. James Cody's perfect throw in the lineout set up the move . The same player came around to take possession and pass to Joey Manuel who drew in the opposition before releasing Julian Hughes. The centre found Victor Ryan on his side and his perfect pass gave Killian Everard the chance to run for the line. He was caught just short of the line but Gareth Hayes was on hand to finish off the move in style.

Kilkenny were now in front and increased their lead with a Conor O Brien penalty in the 22nd minute. Then came the cream with James Blanchfield taking the ball on a Tullow lineout with ten minutes to go. His pass to Joey Manuel gave the former youth player the chance to show his kicking skills.

A massive kick up field stretched the Tullow defence. The race between Kilkenny's No 8 Liam Phelan and Tullow's winger William O Brien would have only one result. The big strong Phelan had both the pace but more important the strength to take possession and score a try close to the posts giving Conor O Brien the easy task of converting.

The seconds were a little unfortunate not to win for trail;ing with minutes to go they fought back but ran out of time. Out half Barry Daly kicked three penalties while prop Eddie Brennan scored a try. The final score was 16 points to 14 in favour of Tullow.

President Lar Foley intends hosting an open day in Foulkstown next Sunday commencing at 11am. The day will be an opportunity for members and those wishing to become involved in the club to see at first hand the facilities which are available. It will also show where the club sees its role in local sport and the doors are open to the general public. Refreshments and a B B Q are also planned .

Kilkenny W Kavanagh J Cody M Vidella V Ryan J Blanchfield A McIntyre G Costelloe L Phelan N Daly C O Brien G Hayes J Hughes J Manuel E Hennessy K Everard J Phelan

Seconds E Brennan J Dunne S Manuel B Mc Intyre P Mc Corry G Clark D Matthews L Meighan T Massey B Daly M Comerford C Bass G Tector G Mahon V O Shea

JI Wicklow H LL Sun 3pm
J2 Wicklow H LL Sun 1.30pm

Sean O'Shea, 11th October 2009