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  Leinster Cup Under 14 Cup Semi final

Gorey 14 Kilkenny 12

Kilkenny suffered the heartbreak of losing to a final second score in a fiercely contested Leinster Cup Under 14 semi final in Tullow last Saturday morning.

On a bright, very windy day both teams hammered in to each other from the start with a player from each side being sent from the field for ill discipline during the second half.

Remarkably, even though the game was full of enterprising rugby from both teams, all of the scoring was done in a few minutes concentrated at the end of each half.

After 29 minutes Kilkenny were awarded a penalty on the Gorey 10 metre line. With his red hair, immense work rate and inspiring leadership making him look like Kilkenny’s version of Paul O’Connell, No. 8 Noel Whelan tapped the ball himself and charged forward before offloading to the ever willing Lyndon Brannigan at centre. Brannigan passed to Aiden McDonald and the Kilkenny open side showed great acceleration to hare in for a try by the left corner flag.

From the kick off second row Eoin Clarkson caught the ball, burst through two tackles and set off on a thrilling run that ended with him touching down under the posts leaving out half Jake McDonald with the simplest of conversion chances.

Three minutes later a series of close in rumbles by a big Gorey pack led to one of their second rows flopping over by the posts to leave the half time score at 12 points to 7 in favour of Kilkenny.

With Kilkenny being reduced to 14 men for two thirds of the second half and playing into a strong breeze, their backs were very much to the wall and they responded with a wonderful defensive display. With Noel Whelan and Aiden McDonald leading the effort lads tackled themselves to a standstill to deny Gorey a score. Also prominent in a stirring exhibition of fiercely committed tackling were prop Mark Carrigan, hooker Ben Devlin, blind side flanker Finn Connolly and centre Brannigan.

Unfortunately, in a carbon copy of their first score, Gorey scored a converted try in the last action of the game leading to predictable scenes of jubilation from one side and despondency from the other.

Kilkenny must now set aside the disappointment of this loss and harness an excellent team spirit to prepare for a League semi final at home this evening (Wednesday).

SQUAD: Gareth Graham, Ben Devlin, Mark Carrigan, Eoin Clarkson, Daniel O’Connor(No.4), Finn Connolly, Aiden McDonald, Noel Whelan(captain), Ian Buckley, Jake McDonald, William Spencer, Lyndon Brannigan, Michael Ryan, Shane Stapleton, Paddy Ryan, Daniel O’Connor(full back), Marcus Stapleton, Jay Leahy, Luke Hassan, Daniel Rafter, Sean Bateman

Niall McDermott, 3rd April, 2011