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J1: Leinster League, 24/10/10

Kilkenny - 11
Mullingar - 06

Kilkenny have certainly learnt a lesson or two in the past few weeks and wanted to prove a point on a sun-filled afternoon in Foulkstown on Sunday. The score line unfortunately did not reflect the effort and skill shown by the home side in this Leinster League tie against Mullingar.

A revitalised Kilkenny team opened the scoring on 5 minutes through a beautiful penalty kick from Conor O’Brien. Moments later O’Brien attempted a drop goal which just went wide of the posts.

Kilkenny upped the tempo from here on in and played fast, intelligent rugby. With the forwards working hard and producing fast ball for their eager backline, they made their way slowly but surely towards the Mullingar try line. Kilkenny lost James Coady and Alan McIntyre early in the half through injury only to be replaced by the formidable duo of Bob Kelly and Lee Wilson. Kilkenny really put on the pressure now and on 21 minutes, Killian Everard crossed the line to touch down for the home side. Despite allowing Mullingar 3 points on 29 minutes, Kilkenny kept up the pressure until the break and lead 8 -3 at half-time.

Kilkenny started the second half strong. Mullingar realised they were not going to beat the Nore-siders and tried best to upset the Kilkenny side. The result of was the Mullingar fullback receiving a yellow card for an off the ball incident. On 47 minutes Mullingar were penalised for not releasing and Conor O’Brien stepped up to slot the ball between the posts.

Kilkenny piled on the pressure and were unlucky not to score on at least two occasions. The forwards rucked and mauled superbly and backline moved like gazelles. On 19 minutes Mullingar were awarded a penalty and the resulting 3 points earned them their bonus point.

Kilkenny seemed to slow down after this and made things hard for themselves. They held out until the final whistle and ended the game deserved 11 – 6 winners.

This was a much better performance for Kilkenny with the forwards especially showing real improvement. Wayne Kavanagh had a fantastic game and showed real example to his fellow forwards. Ger Costelloe worked tirelessly at No.8 and Joe Manuel was a force to be reckoned with in the backline.

Coach, Pat McDonald summed it all up at fulltime when he confirmed his forwards had really stood up to Mullingar and they need to bring that onto next weeks game against Roscrea, where victory there would open the whole competition for Kilkenny again.

Kilkenny play Roscrea away in the Leinster League next Sunday. Kick off 3pm.

Tickets for the Autumn Internationals are now available through the Club. Those interested contact Hazel on 056 7762027.

Colm Brady, Alan O’Donovan, Joe Manuel, Mark Coughlan, Killian Everard, Conor O’Brien, Victor Harper, Ger Costelloe, Alan McIntyre, Tristram Dyer, Gerry Clarke, Johnny Corr, Nigel Daly, James Coady, Wayne Kavanagh.

Replacements: Kevin Oates, Bob Kelly, Ben Dyer, Alan Pembroke, Lee Wilson.

- By Padraic Treacy