| U13s South East League Final
New Ross 21st April 2010
KILKENNY 31-10 WEXFORD
Wednesday was a fine, fresh evening in New Ross where these two teams had met earlier in the season with Kilkenny just winning on that occasion. Wexford found themselves unable to field a competitive front row and so the match took place with uncontested scrums but both teams, with the help of an excellent referee, managed to produce a thrilling game of rugby for an appreciative crowd.
Kilkenny showed their hunger right from the start and some hard, direct rugby saw prop Mark Carrigan charge over beside the posts after only 3 minutes although he was adjudged to have knocked on as he did so. Fierce pressure from flankers Brendan McSorley and Aiden McDonald force the Wexford out half to slice a clearance into touch ten metres from their own line. Kilkenny won the line out and two quick passes saw centre Darren Mullen jinking over under the posts for an early score.
Kilkenny kept up the attacking pressure and after two good breaks from number 10 Jake McDonald and centre William Spencer it took three Wexford forwards to stop the hard running Carrigan a couple of metres from the try line.
After 15 minutes Kilkenny found themselves defending an attack on their own 22. A strong double tackle by Mullen and right wing Michael Ryan turned the ball over and lively scrum half Ian Buckley started front row colleagues Gareth Graham and Ben Devlin as well as left wing Lyndon Brannigan on a devastating charge to 5 metres from the Wexford line. Noel Whelan picked the ball from the back of the ruck and the tough as nails second row somehow managed to batter his way over for a try by the left corner flag. Out half McDonald excellently slotted the conversion attempt.
Eight minutes later and the two teams were involved in a passage of play that had both sets of supporters roaring their approval. Brave tackling by Jake McDonald on a huge second row on the Wexford ten metre line forced a turnover from which Noel Whelan galloped 35 metres. However, an intercept by the Wexford winger sent him haring up the touchline and into Kilkenny’s half.
Full back Daniel O’Connor did enough to slow his opponent down until flying back row Aiden McDonald flattened his man and knocked loose the ball for hooker Ben Devlin to pick up. Devlin, Mark Carrigan, the ultra committed McSorley and O’Connor ripped through the Wexford defence and into the 22 on the right hand side of the pitch. Superb rucking from second row Finn Connolly and number 6 Jay Leahy meant that a couple of quick passes found Michael Ryan speeding into the line and scorching over for try number three. The conversion sent Kilkenny into the break leading by 21 points to 0.
Good Wexford attacking brought them to Kilkenny’s 22 five minutes into the second half where Kilkenny were awarded a scrum. The versatile Aiden McDonald found himself at number 8 from where he picked up and made a slashing break to the half way before offloading to Noel Whelan. Whelan crashed his way to the 22 where Kilkenny were awarded a penalty for hands in the ruck. Jake McDonald coolly stretched the lead by another three points.
Half way through the second period Wexford got the try that their play probably deserved when a big, hard running replacement centre burst through the Kilkenny defence from 40 metres to score by the left touchline.
On 22 minutes big Brendan McSorley brilliantly chased and won a kick ahead then passed for replacement prop Eoin Clarkson and his front row partner Carrigan to scatter defenders left and right as they bullocked towards the Wexford posts. From the ruck the ball came to William Spencer who produced a superb pass to send replacement wing Joe Connolly rushing for the line. Connolly took a big hit from his opposite number but strength and determination meant he was not to be denied a splendid try in the left corner.
Credit to a game Wexford side, they kept playing good rugby and scored their second try of the game when another powerful run from their new centre set their left wing up for the final score of the game.
An excellent Kilkenny win was built on a great defence, in particular we must mention Aiden McDonald, Mark Carrigan and Noel Whelan, that led to captain Jake McDonald being able to accept the trophy on behalf of a rightly jubilant squad who prevailed on a score of 31 points to 10.
Niall MCDermott 21/4/10