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  UNDER 13 FRIENDLY 31/10/09


Not too many scares for Kilkenny on this bright, mild Hallowe'en morning. After only four minutes the ball was whipped out the line from a scrum 15 metres from the Tullow posts to wing Alex Foley who offloaded well in the tackle for full back Paddy Ryan to dive over in the right corner.

Eight minutes later and great pressure by scrum half Ian Buckley forced a poor kick from the Tullow out half, the Tullow defender who picked up the ball was smashed back by a tackle from prop Gareth Graham, the ball knocked loose and snapped up by number 8 Daniel O'Connor who powered over from 5 metres out.

Following on from a fairly disappointing display of tackling in the previous game Kilkenny's defence was much improved today with the tackle count topped by O' Connor, the two McDonalds, Jake and Aiden and centre Michael Ryan.

Five minutes before half time full back Ryan caught a steepling garryowen on the half way line and immediately ran hard at Tullow before passing to Michael Ryan. He raced to 5 metres from the try line then passed to wing forward Aiden McDonald who crashed over for Kilkenny's third try to leave the half time score at 19 points to 0.

Eight minutes into the second half and Kilkenny engineered a great team try. It was started by captain Ben Devlin who ripped the ball from a Tullow forward on Kilkenny's 22 and was involved three times in a sweeping move which included a run by Paddy Ryan, a fine pick up and pass by prop Sean Bateman and a powerful run by wing Aidan Cleere who was eventually tackled and the ball knocked on by a Tullow hand.

Scrum half Buckley made a great blindside break from the scrum before being tackled into touch ten metres from Tullow's try line. Kilkenny won the line out and hard running by Michael Ryan and Aiden McDonald brought the ball across the pitch and a couple of metres out from where ' Doc 'picked up and dived over for his second try.

Straight from the ensuing kick off replacement flanker Brendan McSorley caught the ball and drove hard into the Kilkenny half then offloaded to O'Connor who charged on another 15 metres and set up good ruck ball when tackled. Two quick passes later and Michael Ryan found himself with just enough space to use his scorching speed to race in under the posts from 35 metres out.

Five minutes later Tullow managed to drive the ball inside the Kilkenny 22 where they were awarded a penalty and, with the Kilkenny defence dozing, a quick tap saw them touch down under the posts for their only try of the game. The conversion made the score 31 points to 7 in favour of Kilkenny.

Three minutes after this score and good tackling and rucking by Gareth Graham and McSorley forced a turnover. Second row Eoin Clarkson charged through Tullow defenders and offloaded to Michael Ryan who passed to replacement wing Ross Lennon for Lennon to drive through a tackle for another try.

To underline Kilkenny disappointment at conceding the Tullow try, Gareth Graham took the kick off and burst into opposition territory where he passed to Alex Foley. Alex went on a darting run and was tackled into touch on the 22. Kilkenny won the lineout and got the ball to Jay Leahy, normally a back rower but filling in very well in the centre today, and Jay side stepped off his right foot and stormed over for a try.

The final action of a 40 minute second half saw No 8 O'Connor pick up from the back of a scrum on Kilkenny's 22 and drive to the half way line. Great support from Jake and Aiden McDonald got the ball to Tullow's 22 where Tullow were awarded a lineout. Their throw was snaffled by McSorley and whipped out to Michael Ryan to score his second try from 15 metres out. Out half McDonald kicked the conversion making the final score Kilkenny 52, Tullow 7.

Niall McDermott, 31 October 2009