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  J1: Leinster League, Saturday 4/2/12

Kilkenny 11
Roscrea 13

by Padraic Treacy

Hopes of promotion for Kilkenny to Division 1 faded on Saturday as opponents, Roscrea, walked away with the points having caused one of the greatest upsets witnessed in recent times in Foulkstown. A win for Kilkenny would have given them the chance at the play-off but alas, this was not to be. Questions were asked and eyebrows were raised at the amount of extra time allowed (10 minutes) by the referee at the end of the game despite the fact that the ball had entered touch on two occasions within that 10 minute period. Nevertheless, it was not to be and Kilkenny must now look to the Towns Cup as news filtered through that Gorey had beaten Clondalkin 16 – 9.

Kilkenny were without doubt the stronger and more composed of the two teams. Roscrea however opened the scoring two minutes into the game when Kilkenny were penalised for not releasing the ball. From the restart, Kilkenny were up quick and regained possession. Alan Pembroke saw a gap and drove hard at the line. He was tackled just outside the Roscrea 22 but the tackler was penalised for not rolling away and Denis Hogan made no mistake with his kick at goal and levelled the score.

With 11 minutes gone the Roscrea centre made a break up the middle of the pitch, but was stopped in his tracks by Joey Manuel. The referee deemed the tackle was high and Manuel was sent to the sin-bin. Roscrea failed to convert the penalty and the score remained 3 – 3. Eight minutes later Kilkenny were again penalised and Roscrea took the lead.

With Manuel back on the pitch, Kilkenny upped the pressure and in the 25 th minute, Roscrea were caught offside. Hogan again levelled the score line. Kilkenny composed themselves and took on Roscrea up front. This pressure finally paid off when on the stroke of half-time, Manuel crashed over the line to give the home side a well-earned 11 – 6 lead going into the break.

Despite Kilkenny’s hold on the game, Roscrea denied Kilkenny any scoring opportunities. Hogan did have a chance to increase the lead on the 30 th minute but his attempt fell just short of the target. With 15 minutes played a Roscrea player was sent to the bin for a deliberate punch and 2 minutes later another Roscrea player was sent to the bin for lashing out with the foot. Kilkenny failed to capitalise on the two man advantage. With 40 minutes played and very little injury time registered on the clock, it looked as if time had run out for Roscrea. The home side defended superbly and kept their opponents out of the try zone. Roscrea did not give up and with 10 minutes of extra time played, they finally touched down in the corner and levelled the score. Roscrea added the conversion and Kilkenny’s hopes of a play-off spot vanished.

This was a huge loss for the Foulkstown squad, and a very bitter pill to swallow. Roscrea were delighted and with North Kildare and Malahide left to play, the play-off spot now looks certain for them. The result did not reflect the immense effort put in by all Kilkenny players, in particular, Brendan McIntyre, Ronan O’Donoghue and Alan Pembroke. Kilkenny of course were dejected but they can find solace in the fact that all players put in a huge effort and were very unlucky to be beaten in the end.

Kilkenny next face Gorey in the Towns Cup second round in Gorey on the 19th February. This will be a tough contest and will surely test the strength of the Kilkenny team. Kick off in Gorey is at 3.00pm.

Six Nations.
KRFC in conjunction with club sponsor, Eamonn Langton, will show the France v Ireland game in the Set Theatre on Saturday 11th February 2012 at 8pm on big screen. Entry is €5 with complimentary finger food.

Kilkenny: Alan O’Donovan, Killian Everard, Philly Walsh, Joey Manuel, Alan Pembroke, Denis Hogan, Robby Walsh, Philly Ryan (C), Ray Pembroke, Ronan O’Donoghue, Brendan McIntyre, James Blanchfield, Mick Hannigan, Brian Nolan, Gavin McCarthy.

Subs: Emmet Lynch, Eddie Brennan, Conor Bass, Julian Hughes, Ger Flood.