|| U17s Kilkenny 07 Gorey 15
After a 4 week break where several league matches were cancelled due to unplayable pitches, Kilkenny youth team returned to action in a friendly at Gorey played on a soft wet pitch on Saturday last.
Great credit is due to both sides for the quality and endeavour of the play as the Kilkenny team, short of many players due to injury, sickness and unavailability put in arguably their best performance of the season to date, as the players ongoing commitment to improvement means they have been increasingly competitive over their last four games.
Kilkenny were low to start against the wind and rain as they did not have time to complete their warm up having been late arrivals due to travel conditions and a simple chip through in the 5th minute led to Goreys first score a try in the corner.
In the 18th minute Gorey scored again as Kilkenny lost a ball in contact in their own 22 and were punished as Goreys number 8 crashed over after a series of tapped penalties which was converted from under the posts to leave the visitors 12 nil behind. In quick succession the side's injury jinx struck as Simon Cuddihy retired with a fractured collar bone after an innocuous ruck and Ultan Moran was stretchered off with a bad ankle strain after receiving a routine tackle.
Gorey sportingly supplied 2 players to Kilkenny to ensure a contest and rather than lie down, Kilkenny took the game to Gorey, only a referees call and good defence keeping the visitors at bay. On the stroke of half time Gorey kicked a penalty to lead 15 nil at the break.
With the wind in their favour in the second half Kilkenny's pack gradually took control of the game and their defensive alignment kept Gorey pinned back. A converted try after 21 minutes narrowed the gap while Gorey pulled down a lineout maul that looked as if it would drive to the line and Liam Mcwey chipped a ball dead in the 22 when keeping the ball in hands would surely have led to a score.
Try as they did, Kilkenny could not bridge the gap and finished on the attack. This was an encouraging performance as the side shows continual improvement. The line outs were consistent and with throwing, lifting and driving mauls all successfully linked for the first time this season, the throwing of Darren Knox in the poor conditions being exemplary.
The scrum was solid throughout with James Quinn performing at loose head for the first time and Darren Bawle carrying lots of ball in the tight throughout , Liam Mcwey had his best and most disciplined performance of the season to date and all players rucking consistently well as the game went on.
Half backs Robbie Corcoran at scrum half and Finbar Hayes was solid with everyone else stepping up to the mark. Special mention to William Murphy who, after only one training session played in the difficult number 6 position with aplomb.
Team: Adam Jordan, Luke Kedney , Alex Stanley , Niall o Brien , finbar Hayes, Robbie Corcoran , James Quinn , Darren Knox , Darren Bawle, Simon Cuddihy , Ultan Moran , Will Murphy , Liam Mcwee , Shane O'Neill
Shield V new Ross this Saturday.
This final fixture before Christmas is dependent on Kilkenny being able to field as several of the side in contention for south east duty in the Shaggy Horgan cup against north midlands this Saturday. Darren Bawle and Finbar Hayes are definitely in the south east panel with Ultan Moran definitely ruled out of rugby for the next 4 weeks after his ankle sprain. Brian Howe is also on the injury list which could rule him out of contention for south east selection.