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U13s LEINSTER PLATE QUARTER FINAL
Saturday, 6th March, 2010

KILKENNY 38 -07 ATHY

After a couple of losses Kilkenny turned up for this home fixture determined not to make it three in a row. The home team tore into a game Athy side right from the off and fine runs by Michael Ryan, full back Daniel O’Connor and forwards Jay Leahy and Mark Carrigan led to an Athy scrum 5 metres from their own line. A good strike against the head and No. 8 Daniel O’Connor, ignoring the effects of a stomach bug, was picking up and driving over for a try after only 4 minutes.

Six minutes later and Kilkenny worked a try that would grace any game. A huge hit by second row Finn Connolly in the home 22, an alert turnover by openside Aiden McDonald and centre Joe Connolly was bursting forward before feeding flanker Jay Leahy. Leahy, who had a superb game, drew a couple of defenders and released Michael Ryan, who revelled in the space he was given on the wing today, and he scorched away on a mazy run from his own ten metre line outside, inside then outside the cover again before touching down.

On 15 minutes a fine display of hard running and support play by the impressive Noel Whelan, the ever present Jay Leahy and centre William Spencer brought play to the Athy 22 where the away team were awarded a scrum. Another take against the head, another burst from the big Number 8 and, festooned with would be tacklers, ‘Doc’ was charging under the posts for his second try.

Kilkenny were rampant now and five minutes later a crunching tackle from Noel Whelan jarred the ball loose for Leahy to pick up and pass to prop Mark Carrigan on a bullocking run to set up a ruck on the 22. Quick passing out the line got the ball to wing Darren Mullen who stepped inside beautifully making the space for centre Spencer to loop around, take the pass and score in the left corner. As with all the Kilkenny tries this one was converted by Jake McDonald meaning the home side led at half time by 28 points to 0.

Athy were offered no respite on the resumption of the game when a burst from his own 22 by the away team’s Number 8 was brought to an abrupt halt by a fierce Daniel Rafter tackle. The ball was first whipped out left to William Spencer and when he found no way through here he promptly sent it back along the line to the other side of the pitch and to prop Carrigan on another of his trademark bursts, this one ending in a try.

With the game well won the home team showed the strength of their talent with a series of substitutions. All of the replacements showed well during their time on the pitch, keeping up great competition in every position and making this a real squad victory. A Jake McDonald penalty and a late breakaway try for Athy brought the final score to 38 points to 7 to Kilkenny.

Niall McDermott, 10 March 2010