|UNDER 13 FRIENDLY 14/11/2009
Kilkenny 17-10 Clonmel
Kilkenny were grateful to Clonmel for agreeing to this fixture, after two other clubs failed to provide opposition, and also for contributing mightily to a very close, well contested match.
On a windy, cold but bright day with the pitch showing little sign of the torrential rain that fell during the week Kilkenny got off to a great start. Clonmel were awarded a scrum on their own 22 after 5 minutes but a strong push by Kilkenny enabled hooker Ben Devlin to take a strike against the head. Scrum half Ian Buckley whipped the ball out to Jake McDonald and, two sidesteps later, the out half was touching down for a well taken try. Despite the strongly gusting breeze McDonald managed to convert his own try.
After 15 minutes Kilkenny were awarded a penalty near the right touchline and just inside their own 22. Ian Buckley tapped and passed to right wing Jay Leahy who made a powerful burst before offloading and starting a passing move which went all the way across the pitch until centre Michael Ryan was hauled down on the Clonmel 22. More quick passing and straight running got the ball out to openside Aiden McDonald and Aiden beautifully drew the last defender before passing to Jay Leahy who dived over in the right corner.
Clonmel were made of stern stuff however and for the next ten minutes they laid siege to the Kilkenny line relentlessly, aided by some Kilkenny indiscipline in the rucks. The whole Kilkenny defence made a succession of powerful tackles, none more so than front row partners Mark Carrigan and Ben Devlin, but eventually great Clonmel patience was rewarded when their scrum half scuttled over from close range.
The score at half time was Kilkenny 12, Clonmel 5 and the game still up for grabs.
The third quarter of the game saw plenty of committed rugby from both sides but some poor decisions and uncharacteristically bad handling from Kilkenny meant a succession of scoring opportunities came to nothing.
This wastefulness was punished 16 minutes in when the big Clonmel No. 8 picked the ball up out a ruck 15 metres out and charged over the Kilkenny line to leave the home side's lead at a slender two points.
Stung by this, Kilkenny finally strung a few decent moves together and forced a series of rucks and scrums close to the Clonmel try line. From one of these scrums Kilkenny No. 8 Daniel O'Connor picked up and drove over the line only to be held up in the tackle. He wasn't to be denied however and when his team mates worked a second opportunity with ten minutes to go Doc made certain of the score by crashing through two attempted tackles to touch down.
The final ten minutes or so were a great test of the Kilkenny defence with constant Clonmel attacking being well repulsed, particularly by back row Finn Connolly who finished the game top of the Kilkenny tackle count.
A hard fought game and great preparation for next week's match against a strong Waterpark team finished Kilkenny 17 points, Clonmel 10.