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  Kilkenny 16 Dundalk 25

Kilkenny made their exit from the Provincial Towns Cup competition last Saturday afternoon (30th January) in Foulkstown in a game which had some real cup fare. The cup may not have the same attraction as some years ago but that did not take from the real hard competitive edge which we had come to expect.

The scoreline does not give Kilkenny true value for their performance. A try in the last move of the game by Dundalk gave them a comfortable advantage but the real story was a lot different. They were glad to hear the final whistle for just before the referee called a halt to the game they were defending their lines from a Kilkenny onslaught.

Kilkenny created the first attack but Dundalk had the first chance to score with a penalty. The effort from Gearoid McDonnell was off target. They were back in the Kilkenny half very quickly and this time made no mistake. It was in the 6th minute and full back Stevie McGee was the man to provide the goods. He collected posession 35 metres from the Kilkenny line and waltzed through the defence to score under the posts with McDonnell adding the points.

In the 15th minute Conor O'Brien kicked a penalty for Kilkenny but before the break McDonnell kicked two more penalties to give his team a 13 points to 3 lead. When McGee pounced on a Kilkenny mistake in the 9th minute of the second half to score a converted try the game looked lost.

Then true to Kilkenny's nature they decided to play rugby. As in many of the games this season when they want to play rugby they can really play.

In the 13th minute Kilkenny were awarded a penalty and decided to run it. The momentum had Dundalk under severe pressure but they managed to clear their lines. The clearence fell into the hands of Conor O Brien and he set up a move which took play back in to the Dundalk 22 metre line. Full back Killian Everard took it in on and passed to Mick O Grady whose power took him over the line to score a try in the corner.

The conversion by Dave McMahon from close to the touchline sailed between the posts and Kilkenny were back in the game. A drop goal by McMahon in the 30th minute brought his team close and when O'Brien kicked a penalty in the 33rd minute they were even closer.

Now the game was taking a dramatic turn and the visitors were finding the heat hard to take. Kilkenny piled on the pressure and gave every ounce of energy in order to find that winning score. With the game in injury time McGee found a gap and completed a hat trick of tries to assure his team a place in round two.

Kilkenny will be disappointed for coming up just a little short but it was the early lapses of concentration which cost them dearly. The pack once again gave a powerful performance and can take heart from their effort. The backs did play well but should those little mistakes disappear the results will surely follow.

The club night in Langton House Hotel once again proved a marvelous success. Fully supported by both members and club mentors the programme started with Mick Galwey and Anthony Foley discussing the International and Heineken Cup campaigns.Then Jon Kenny the star of the night came on stage and from start to finish he had the audience in raptures.

We had a brief interlude from former 4ths captain John Kenna who gave an outline of his managerial career in rugby .The success of the night will be shared by a few but Mick O'Donovan has to get special mention for his dilgent attention to detail and work committment.

Next Sunday both first and seconds will entertain Tullow in Foulkstown with the results crucial to League positions.

Congratulations to former player Adrian O Shaughenessy and his wife Gemma on the birth of a baby girl called Grace.

Sean O'Shea