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J2 Leinster League 03/10/10

Kilkenny 49-13 Edenderry

On a wonderful sunny, Sunday afternoon in Foulkstown, in conditions ideal for rugby, Kilkenny Seconds strengthened their position at the top of the Leinster League, with a solid win over their opponents Edenderry.

Kilkenny were definitely the stronger team on the day, scoring 8 tries in total (Conor Bass-3, Martin Brien-2, James McGregor, Joubert Debertia, and Quentin Hearne – 1 each) and thus securing the vital bonus point. However, to be fair to their opponents, they threw everything they had at Kilkenny and caused a few anxious moments for the Kilkenny coaching staff and supporters! Edenderry also possessed a very agile outhalf who constantly provoked the Kilkenny backline and who was also quite adept in his place-kicking duties.

Kilkenny started with great gusto, playing fast flowing rugby. The forwards were rucking like professionals, producing quick ball for Captain Vinnie O’Shea and his very eager backline. 4 minutes into the game, winger James McGregor opened the scoring, superbly side-stepping his way past two defenders to touch down in the corner. Quentin Hearne’s conversion, from a very difficult angle, went just wide of the posts.

The forwards kept up the pressure on Edenderry, with No.8 Conor Bass leading his men with great passion and vigour. On 13 minutes Edenderry were caught offside at a ruck in their own 22m and Quentin Hearne easily kicked the 3 points.

From this moment on, however, the game turned for Kilkenny. Although they were the physically and skilfully stronger team, they started losing control of the game. The amount of unforced errors made by both forwards and backs alike was astronomical. Despite some fine individual runs from the ever present Conor Bass and Richard Connolly, Kilkenny continued to make mistakes. Edenderry capitalised on this, and applied the pressure. The pressure paid off eventually and on 13 and 22 minutes, they kicked two fine penalties through the boot of their outhalf. They missed, however, an easy penalty kick on 38 minutes which would have given them the lead and which could also have meant a massive psychological victory for Edenderry going into the break.

With the half-time whistle beckoning, Kilkenny realised they needed to rescue this game and save themselves a tongue-lashing from coach, Enda Cantwell. Probably with this in mind, the forwards pushed on towards their opponent’s line. Quentin Hearne spun the ball to Martin Brien who collected it at pace, rounded a defender and crashed over the line to kick-start the recovery. Hearne added the conversion points. Kilkenny ended the half 15 – 6 in front.

The half-time talk from Cantwell was not for the faint-hearted and Kilkenny took on board what he said and crossed the line twice in the first 8 minutes with tries from Quentin Hearne and Conor Bass. Kilkenny made a number of changes bringing on Joubert Debertia for Dave Matthews, Jimmy Dunne for Kevin Oates and Conor Foley for the injured Brendan McIntyre. Following a nervous few minutes for Kilkenny, Edenderry crossed the home teams, try-line but the Edenderry second row dropped the ball before he touched down. Kilkenny regained their composure and Conor Bass broke from the back of a scrum inside his own half and ran the length of the pitch to score his second try. The conversion attempt rebounded off the post.

Kilkenny again allowed Edenderry space to play and on 24 minutes they crossed the line to score their one and only try with their outhalf adding the conversion points.

Kilkenny flanker and French wonder, Joubert Debertia, took control of the game from this moment on. Following a back row move, which he initiated himself, he regained possession and scored in the corner. From the restart, Joubert again gathered the ball and off-loaded superbly to Vinnie O’Shea who passed out to Martin Brien who ran 60 metres to score under the posts. Hearne added the points.

The game was now well and truly out of reach for Edenderry but they did not give up the hunt. The final nail in the coffin came on the final whistle when Conor Bass scored a fine try, making this his third on the day.

Best on the day for Kilkenny were Conor Bass, Joubert Debertia and Richard Connolly who has made a solid return to the game. Martin Brien was also very strong in his running and fullback duties.

Kilkenny are away to Clane next Sunday, again in the Leinster League, kick-off 1.30pm. Full attendance at training is required from all players if they are to maintain their unbeaten record.

Kilkenny: – Martin Brien, James McGregor, Vinnie O’Shea, Jamie Quane, Richard Connolly, Keith Brennan, Quentin Hearne, Conor Bass, Alan McIntyre, Dave Matthews, Brendan McIntyre, Johnny Corr, Brian Nolan, Brian Hanrahan, Kevin Oates. Subs: – Jimmy Dunne, Conor Foley, Conor Phelan, Tom Corrigan, Joubert Debertia.

Padraic Treacy, 3rd October, 2010