Kilkenny Under-15's took to the pitch on Saturday in this friendly tie against Tullow RFC. The Kilkenny squad was made up of mainly development players mixed with a number of the squads more experienced players. This combination proved to be too strong for the Tullow boys in the end.
Kilkenny kicked-off and Tullow, who were missing a number of key players through injury, started very strong and took the game to Kilkenny. The locals did not shy away and gave back as good as they got with neither side conceding an inch in the opening twenty minutes.
Kilkenny tackled well and drove well in the set pieces with the forwards producing some fine ball for the, at times, hesitant backline.
Tullow opened the scoring on 24 minutes when they finally broke through the Kilkenny defence and scored a converted try in the corner. Six minutes later, right on the stroke of half-time, Kilkenny prop, Tommy Cuddihy, broke from a ruck just inside the Tullow 22m and burst through the Tullow defence to score under the posts. Evan Treacy added the conversion points leaving the half-time score at 7 - 7.
Tullow kicked off the second-half. Conor Quinlan gathered the high ball and drove into the advancing Tullow pack and set up a ruck. Scrum-half, Davie Sutton, flashed the ball to outhalf Evan Treacy who decided it was time to take matters into his own hands and drove through the Tullow backline and dashed thirty meters to the try-line to score under the posts. His conversion attempt was also successful.
Now Kilkenny were on fire and started to believe in themselves. From the re-start Kilkenny again gathered the ball cleanly. The ball was flashed out along the backline where full-back Dean Conlon, having joined the line, made a beautiful run up to the opponents 22m where he was tackled. The Kilkenny forwards piled in and the ball was produced to Treacy who quickly passed to 1st-Center Darragh McGrath who crossed the try-line in the corner but quickly decided that under the posts was a better option where he subsequently touched down making the conversion duties much easier for Treacy.
Kilkenny were now leading 21 - 7 and looked comfortable. Tullow decided that they were not finished yet and applied pressure once again. Kilkenny suddenly found themselves in trouble and to make matters worse they lost James Rafter through a hand injury. Tullow also lost one of their props and the scrums became uncontested. This was much more to the favour of the Tullow pack who by now were dominating the pace of the game. Tullow scored two tries in the space of five minutes but fortunately for Kilkenny both conversion attempts were unsuccessful.
The score now stood at 21 - 17 in favour of the local boys.
Although Kilkenny were looking defeat in the eyes, their experience began to show. The backline started moving the ball and the forwards started to dictate matters in the set pieces once again. The ever present Tommy Cuddihy took charge of the ball at the breakdown and eventually his hard work paid off when he crossed the try-line for his second try on the 25th minute.
The conversion attempt headed straight for the centre of the posts but unfortunately just fell short.
Kilkenny were now back in charge and minutes later, following a well executed backline move, Darragh McGrath crossed the line for his second try of the day with Treacy adding the conversion points. Moments later the final whistle blew and Kilkenny could breathe a sigh of relief.
All in all this was a spectacular performance from both teams. Experience won out in the end and both teams can be proud of themselves for the display of rugby that they put on for the spectators.
Kilkenny are away to New Ross on Saturday, Oct 3rd, in the second game of the South East League. This promises to be another keenly fought contest.
Supporters are as always welcome to travel. Kick off is at 2pm but is subject to change.
- Padraic Treacy -
26 September 2009