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Kilkenny 57 Tullow 17

28/2/11

On a crisp, dry night a strong Kilkenny Under 15s side registered a comprehensive victory over Tullow under floodlights at Foulkstown last Monday night.

Centre Kevin Mullen was unstoppable, scoring four tries, the pick of them just before half time when he sprinted 50 metres down the touchline and dummied the full back before touching down. Second row Tom Cuddihy proved equally hard to contain, a series of rampaging runs seeing him too ending up with four tries.

Although Tullow had a fair amount of possession, for three quarters of the game they were frustrated time and again by a Kilkenny defence in which captain Matthew McWey was outstanding. McWey’s fellow back rower Aiden McDonald, along with left winger Luke Rafter tackled well and often, with McDonald also contributing a number of turnovers and Rafter setting up two tries as a result of speedy attacking and good offloading in the tackle.

Tullow must have hoped that, with their hosts 38 points up at half time, Kilkenny might relax their efforts. Unfortunately for the visitors the first three minutes of the second half proved this to be a vain hope. From the kick off Kevin Mullen took the ball and hared 60 metres up the left wing for a try and from the kick off following this score, Tom Cuddihy did precisely the same on the opposite touchline. When replacement second row Cian Smith took a pass from a Matthew McWey break and charged 50 metres for a try under the posts there was to be no way back for Tullow in this game. To Tullow’s credit, and aided by a remarkable series of penalties in their favour, they never hung their heads and finished with three tries in the last ten minutes.

Out half Jake McDonald had a very good game, directing operations like a No. 10 should, and Kilkenny can be satisfied with an emphatic win but slightly concerned with how their slackening of effort in the final quarter would be punished by a stronger opposition.

Niall McDermott, 01 March, 2011