Kilkenny 12 Newbridge 21
The big question was this a game Kilkenny could have won and the answer is yes. Newbridge are a competent side with the ball in hand and make few if any mistakes. Kilkenny for their part gave a good performance but made mistakes which were severly punished.
The two tries came from poor clearances which Newbridge latched onto and took full advantage of. The chance of a bonus point was also lost with two kickable penalties in the final minutes. These are problems which can be overcome but must be worked on and sorted quickly.
The pack were on top throughout most of the game while the backs were receiving slow ball to work with. Kilkenny are missing players in key positions but the solution has to be found in the panel which is available. A minutes silence was observed for Ned Sothern before the kick off a long serving member of the Newbridge club and father of Eddie Sothern the team prop.
The President Lar Foley, players and club members wish to convey their sincere condolences to the Hewitt family on the death of their father James in Bruff County Limerick last week. His son Brendan has been the back bone of our youths section over the years and our thoughts are with them at this sad time.
The game was into the 9th minute when the first score came. A kick ahead by Newbridge was fumbled by Kilkenny and before you could catch your breath scrum half Peter Hutton was in for a try.
From the kick off Kilkenny went on the attack led by a super break by Joey Manuel who took play into the opposition 22 metre line before a knock on halted the move. It was followed by three brillant penalties from the boot of Conor O'Brien in the 17th, 24th and 35th minute to give his side a 9 points to 5 lead. Just before the break Carl Darragh kicked a penalty and the half time score read 9 to 8 in favour of Kilkenny.
Disaster fell on Kilkenny 6 minutes into the second half . Once again a poor clearence by Kilkenny was punished when full back Carl Darragh caught possession and raced at the Kilkenny defence. He chipped into space and was surprised to find no Kilkenny player prepared to take responsibility and clear the danger. The Newbridge player was decisive in taking control of the ball and ran in for a try close to the posts. The conversion by Darragh pushed his team 15 points to 9 in front.
Both teams swapped penalties and the scoreline read 18 to 12 but Darragh made it 21 - 12 in the 30th minute with a drop goal. Then came two opportunities in the final minute which could have brought Kilkenny within striking distance of victory or a bonus point but it was not to be.
This game was to be played in Newbridge but due to the heavy rain the pitch was deemed unplayable. Great credit must go to the team which swung into action early on Sunday morning and made sure Foulkstown was in good condition despite the over night weather.
Those who thought former Kilkenny, Blackrock College and Leinster scrum half Pat Crotty retired could be somewhat misled. He may have retired from public life but played rugby for the Oireachtas against the French Parliament this year in Paris and gave an outstanding performance.
One of the best players of his generation he will always be remembered for his abilty to leave defences for dead with his blinding pace from the base of the scrum.
Kilkenny: Max Vidella James Cody Wayne Kavanagh Victor Ryan James Blanchfield Rod O Donoghue Alan McIntyre Liam Phelan Nigel Daly Conor O Brien Alan Pembroke Conor Phelan Joey Manuel Mick O Grady Killian Everard Owen Hennessy Liam Meighan Eddie Brennan David Buckley Ger Costelloe
J1 Coolmine A LL Sun 2.30pm
J2 Coolmine A LL Sun 1.00pm
Sean O'Shea, 1st November 2009