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  Leinster League 18/9/10

J2: Longford 12-32 Kilkenny

Kilkenny 2nd XV started their Leinster League campaign in atrocious weather conditions with a resounding win away to Longford on Saturday. Kilkenny scored four tries in all through veterans Joe Walsh and Dave Matthews, thus securing the vital bonus point.

Kilkenny opened the scoring two minutes into the game when Longford were penalised for not releasing the ball. Club President, Quentin Hearne, easily slotted the ball between the posts. The three hour bus journey, however, took its toll on Kilkenny as they literally fell asleep for the remainder of the half allowing their opponents to put six points on the scoreboard through the boot of Longford outhalf, Barry Truicke.

The second half started much as the first half ended for Kilkenny. Directly after the restart, Truicke kicked a fabulous drop-goal from about 30m out putting the home team into a 9 – 3 lead. The stern half-time talk from the coaches finally sank in and Kilkenny woke up and started playing the rugby that we are accustomed to seeing them play. The forwards took control of the set pieces, largely through the addition of Kilkenny stalwart Mick Hennigan.

On 13 minutes, fullback Joe Walsh scored his first try. From a move that began in the Kilkenny half, Joe having joined the line, superbly rounded two defenders and sprinted 30meters to touch down under the posts with Quentin Hearne adding the conversion. Four minutes later, following a line-out on the Longford 5meter line, Kilkenny drove for the line. Dave Matthews broke from the maul and crashed over the line in the corner to score the first of his two tries. Despite the difficult angle and the atrocious weather conditions, Quentin Hearne superbly added the conversion points.

Kilkenny steamed ahead from this point denying Longford any reply. On 27 minutes, from practically the same situation as ten minutes earlier, Dave Matthews again crashed over the line to score his second try; although this time he scored nearer the posts making the kicking duties easier for Hearne. Longford were broken at this stage however they added six more points to the score largely through silly mistakes made by Kilkenny. On 35 minutes Joe Walsh crossed the line again and put the game completely out of their opponents reach.

Best for Kilkenny on the day were fullback Joe Walsh, hooker Brian Hanrahan whose lineout throwing and scrummaging were impeccable and James McGregor who was very unlucky not to cross the line on at least two occasions. Despite the slow start, Kilkenny can be proud of their performance. The newer players stepped up to the plate and mingled well with the more experienced players.

The return of Enda Cantwell to the game was a joy to behold and he showed that despite being away from the game for a number of years, he has definitely not lost the skills or passion for the game.

Padraic Treacy, 19th September 2010