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  U15: Premier Leinster League, 17th October 2010

Carlow 17 Kilkenny 12

This was the second time these teams had met already this season but the difference this time was that Kilkenny had much closer to a full Under 15s team and made Carlow work very hard for their narrow win. A game that looked dead and buried 5 minutes into the second half with the home team leading by 17 points was transformed into a thrilling contest with Kilkenny just unable to find the third score to draw or win the match in the dying seconds.

On a windless, sunny morning Carlow were quickest into their stride just being denied by an excellent tackle from centre David Jordan knocking his opposite number into touch 10 metres from the Kilkenny line. Carlow pinched the throw in and drove themselves close to the posts where, despite what looked an obvious knock on, they were awarded a try.

Kilkenny, led with a terrific display of heart and energy from captain Matthew McWey, played some great rugby for the remainder of a tense, hard fought half. Second row Noel Whelan topped his side’s tackle count, hooker Ben Devlin took two strikes against the head and was a dynamo around the field, outside centre Kevin Mullen tackled everyone he was asked to and made ground each time he received the ball and big number 6 Sean Brennan lived every flankers dream when he hammered an elusive Carlow winger over the touchline with the tackle of the day.

Despite a willingness to attack with pace from both sides solid defence meant the first half finished with Carlow leading by 5 points to nil.

After 30 minutes with only one score Carlow managed to rack up two in the first 5 minutes of the second half. After two minutes the Carlow loose head grabbed a ball from a 5 metre line out and crashed over by the left corner flag and three minutes later two missed tackles let their inside centre in under the posts for another try.

Instead of dropping their heads in the face of these two body blows Kilkenny launched waves of attacks, including two lung bursting runs from Kevin Mullen and David Jordan, that drove them to within a couple of metres of the Carlow line where they won a penalty. Scrum half Ian Buckley tapped the ball which was spun across the pitch by Matthew McWey and Ben Devlin to wing Michael Ryan and Ryan burst over for Kilkenny’s first score.

Excellent Carlow defending, and a few poor passes from Kilkenny attackers, kept the away side from scoring again until the 25th minute. All action Number 8 McWey launched a kick from his own half, ripped the ball from the full back who caught it and set prop Eoin Clarkson on a 20 metre charge. Clarkson fed replacement wing Declan McCarthy and his slashing run was stopped when he was tackled into touch 15 metres from Carlow’s try line. Second row Shane O’Carroll nabbed the Carlow throw then out half Jake McDonald and the ubiquitous McWey gave David Jordan the chance to show his speed and determination to score 20 metres to the right of the posts. McDonald kicked the conversion that left the final score, in a highly entertaining and very sporting game, at 17 points to 12 in favour of Carlow.

SQUAD: Eoin Clarkson, Ben Devlin, Mark Carrigan, Shane O, Carroll, Noel Whelan, Sean Brennan, Daniel O’Connor, Matthew McWey, Ian Buckley, Jake McDonald, David Jordan, Kevin Mullen, Lyndon Brannigan, Peter Hutchison, Declan McCarthy, Shawn Fitzgerald, John Hanrick, Jason Hoyne, Jim Moore, Gareth Graham, Daniel O’Connor

The Kilkenny Under 14 & Under 15 sides train together at the club every Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6.45pm sharp. Whether you’ve played rugby before or not you’ll get a warm welcome there if you were born in 1996 or 1997. Contact coach Noel Devlin on 087 2831174 for more information.

Niall McDermott, 17th October 2010