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  January 2011 Tough day in Wexford for the Kilkenny RFC U11s...

With the original fixture list for the season long since consigned to the scrapheap due to what seemed the return of the ice age, KRFC U11s headed to Gorey RFC for what was only their fourth outing of the season. Training can only account for so much and in reality there is no substitute for a live game against live opposition and Gorey RFC, as it transpired, were as lively as they come.

A bitter January morning, described as merely 'fresh' by some of the coaching team, met the twoKilkenny sidesselected on the day. The 'Blues'(so named from their training bibs) took to the field first and kicked off into a stiff breeze and up a noticeable slope. Gorey, fresh(and conditioned) from action in Wicklow the week before and in no small way aided by gravity fuelled momentum returned the kickoff with interest and raced to an early lead. The 'Blues' battled gamely against the tide but it was half time before Blue’s skipper Jamie Dwan and his team got to grips with the opposition and the not inconsiderable conditions by which time the scoreboard was noticeably one sided.

They regrouped at half time and with the benefit of some decent possession and a bit of 'go forward' ball, not to mention the slope, they drew the second half 2-2 with the characteristically relentless Killian Egan galloping in for a brace of tries. The newly formed half-back pairing of Rioghan Brennan and Oisín Morrissey deserves mention for a gritty and fearless performance at the coalface. The game had proven a harsh lesson in the value of decent possession but the nature of the performance in the second half bodes well for future games.

Our second Kilkenny team to play that morning The 'Reds', who had been kicking their heels (And chattering their teeth) on the sidelines couldn't wait to get started and following on from the battling 'Blues' were looking to balance the books. A full blooded affair ensued with neither side willing to concede any cheap scores but a storming display by the half back pair of Alex Hatt and Matthew Russell, who grabbed a try apiece, guided the 'Reds' home as winners  and guarantee “honours even” on the day.

Score of the day had to go to Stephen Donnelly who burned the entire Gorey side with a scything rocket-boots run from deep in his own half. Deserved mentions go to Odhran Lawlor for a barnstorming display at tight head and Mitchell Synnott who slotted in as a makeshift hooker early on and looked to the manner born.

Overall there were a lot more positives than negatives from the day. Some good performances were recorded but there is still plenty to work on which is just how we like it. Next up is a local derby against Carlow at Foulkstown on the 5th. A 2nd fixture in a week! and at home! it's been too long.

Lar Conroy, January, 2011