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Leinster Plate Quarter Final
27th March 2010

U13s Kilkenny 17 - 0 Gorey

On a fine spring morning captain Noel Whelan led his team out to face a strong Gorey side on their home ground. The benefits of a hard, Wednesday night match against Waterpark were evident as Kilkenny powered into the game with a big scrum and even better maul after only 3 minutes forcing Gorey to concede a penalty inside their own 22. Out half Jake McDonald confidently took the three points, a wise decision as Gorey dominated territory and possession for the next 15 minutes.

However, committed, if at times desperate, defence from Kilkenny soaked up the pressure until after 17 minutes the ball was worked out to left wing Darren Mullen who made a lovely jinking run then fed supporting prop Mark Carrigan. Carrigan charged into the Gorey 22 from where the ball was worked across the pitch by the excellent Gareth Graham, flanker Jay Leahy and centre William Spencer before scrum half Ian Buckley came on a great supporting run up the wing.

Buckley was tackled into touch 5 metres out but Kilkenny were not of a mind to let the pressure up now and from the Gorey lineout Mark Carrigan made an excellent charge down from an attempted clearance. Kilkenny kept the home side pinned in their own 22 until, with 5 minutes to half time, Gorey tried to run a penalty rather than kicking for touch. No. 7 Aiden McDonald hammered back the ball carrier and the tireless Noel Whelan ripped the ball and started a series of quick passes out to the ever dangerous Darren Mullen.

The number 11 unleashed three devastating side steps to cross the try line then tested the blood pressure of all of his coaches by taking on another defender before touching down under the posts. The half time whistle sounded shortly after with the score at 10 points to 0 to Kilkenny.

The away side came flying out of the blocks in the second half when Jake McDonald made a break from his own 22 after only 2 minutes and freed wing Michael Ryan on a slashing break which was stopped by a tackle on the half way line. Gorey were working themselves back into the game with a series of good phases until great defensive pressure from a ruck on the half way line led to an interception by hard running centre Joe Connolly. Like an out of control SUV, Connolly barrelled 45 metres into opposition territory. When he was dragged to ground he had the presence of mind to turn and pop a lovely pass to the supporting William Spencer to score Kilkenny’s second try.

Gorey responded to this setback by mounting a succession of attacks into the Kilkenny half. After 18 minutes they worked themselves to within 5 metres of the try line but three huge tackles in a row by skipper Whelan, teak tough replacement Brendan McSorley and the consistently impressive hooker Ben Devlin emphatically slammed the door in the faces of the home team.

Kilkenny never sat back and Number 8 Daniel O’Connor – twice – and the long striding McSorley made great runs to relieve the attacking pressure. The boys in black’s determination to give nothing to the opposition was epitomised by replacement scrum half Keelan McDermott’s refusal to surrender the ball when surrounded by a towering maul of Gorey forwards and the game finished with Kilkenny victorious on a score line of 17 points to 0.

A much improved defensive display saw excellent tackle counts by second row Finn Connolly, prop Gareth Graham and try scoring wing Darren Mullen, all of them topped by the wonderfully competitive Noel Whelan and blue helmeted dervish Aiden McDonald.

Niall McDermott 27th March 2010