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  J2: Leinster League, Sunday 8/1/12

Malahide 16
Kilkenny 24

by Padraic Treacy

Kilkenny Seconds regained the lead on the Leinster League table with this fine win over Malahide on Sunday. Two points now separate them from their next opponents North Kildare who have been showing great form recently.

Kilkenny’s outhalf, Gerry Callinan, was the star of the day as he opened the scoring for the visitors after 15 minutes with a fine break-away try. Gerry also added the conversion giving Kilkenny a well-deserved lead. Malahide quickly replied however when they were awarded a penalty inside the Kilkenny 22. The Malahide kicker made no mistake with his effort as they closed the gap between them.

Kilkenny piled on the pressure from here on in and with ten minutes remaining in the first half, they found themselves under pressure in their own 22. Malahide launched an attack on the Kilkenny line, however James Blanchfield superbly intercepted a pass and ran the length of the pitch to touch down under the posts. Callinan easily added the conversion. Moments later, Kilkenny were penalised for offside and Malahide added a further 3 points to their tally.

Kilkenny entered the second half 14 – 6 in front. A re-energised Malahide team launched attack after attack, however Kilkenny kept their heads. Gerry Callinan extended the Kilkenny lead following a fine penalty kick attempt 4 minutes into the half. Kilkenny soaked up the Malahide pressure and on 23 minutes, outside centre, Ben O’Connor crossed the line to score a try following a fabulously worked back-line move. Callinan was again spot-on with the conversion putting the game out of Malahides reach.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Kilkenny eased up on the gas, and unfortunately allowed Malahide to cross the line and score two unconverted try’s bringing the final score to 16 – 25 in Kilkenny’s favour.

Best for Kilkenny were Gerry Callinan who demonstrated great skill and strength in attack and defence. He was closely followed by Ben O’Connor who, following his great performance, has now caught the attention of the First team selectors. James Blanchfield was also very impressive and his lineout prowess provided the platform for this vital win. Well done to all players on a great result.

Kilkenny are away to North Kildare on Sunday. Kick off 1.00pm.

Kilkenny: Shane Raferty, Paul Flynn, Vinnie O’Shea (C), Ben O’Connor, Rod Hogan, Gerry Callinan, Victor Harper, Conor Bass, Rod O’Donoghue, Leon Madigan, Emmet Carey, James Blanchfield, Paddy Boye, Emmet Lynch, Brian Nolan.

Subs: John Madden, Dave Matthews, Ronnie Moran, Quentin Hearne.