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U17: Leinster League 23/10/10

Enniscorthy A 28 Kilkenny 22

Kilkenny under 17s fell to joint table toppers Enniscorthy who along with Carlow remain unbeaten in this Leinster league campaign after this clash played in Enniscorthy in breezy conditions on Saturday last. Kilkenny had worked extremely hard to put themselves into a winning position with 15 minutes remaining against an athletic Enniscorthy side who have an advantage in being able to field 2 teams at this level with over 50 players available while Kilkenny struggle for numbers.

This showed in in the last quarter as with some key players carrying knocks and substitutes used Kilkenny were not able to close out a game that Enniscorthy never really looked like winning only remaining in contention due to Kilkenny’s defensive frailties and not finishing a higher proportion of their chances. 

Kilkenny started confidently against the wind and looked comfortable as they tested the home sides defence. With a series of driving mauls and lineouts without making any clean line breaks. In the first visit to the Kilkenny 22 however, a straight forward outside break by their centre led to the first score.

Kilkenny replied with a well-worked score by Gary Dunne converted by Hugh Lane. Receiving the Kick off Kilkenny for the 4th game in succession dropped the ball in trying to run out of defence immediately after scoring and an Enniscorthy player picked up, evaded several half hearted tackles to score under the posts. Kilkenny pressed hard until the break creating a number of overlaps and scoring opportunities to no avail until Nick Feehan finished off a series of forward drives to score at the whistle and leave the score 12 all at half time.

Playing into the wind and lucky to be in contention Enniscorthy upped their game in the second half and the majority was played in mid field, however Kilkenny began to struggle up front with players starting to pick up knocks. It didn’t stop them from scoring a well worked try by Darragh Morrissey which was replied to immediately as Kilkenny failed to clear their lines again from the short restart and the sides were level.

Kilkenny struck back with a leading penalty by Hugh lane with 12 minutes to go but got caught flat-footed in defence as the game swung to and fro. Playing intelligently Kilkenny fought for the winning score and were unfortunate with 4 minutes remaining they had a lineout maul pulled down from five yards which resulted in a series of drives bringing the ball to the home line. Two more surges would have got them over but Enniscorthy rushed up and smothered the back line attack as Kilkenny as Kilkenny dropped the ball in the tackle with a minute remaining. 

With a sting in the tail, in the last move of the game a Kilkenny kick from defence was watched and not chased by the defenders to allow Enniscorthy the delight of scoring another try. Kilkenny played more intelligent and controlled attacking rugby in the first half than in any game to date and created a series of overlaps which were not availed of as having made the space the ball was either kicked ahead or the support players did not call for the ball when chances were on leaving the ball carrier bring the ball into contact.

While the side continues to score almost twenty points per game stemming the concession of points that the opposition do not have to work for is the next challenge for the team as defending efficiently as a team is the sign of a really good side. Kilkenny are still well in contention for one of the qualifying places with home games to come in next rounds starting with New Ross in two weeks time. If they sort out the defence over the next few weeks they will have taken a major step forward.

Cormac Connolly, Aaam Jordan, Liam McWey, Jack Cotter, Sean Moran, Hugh Lane Robbie Corcoran, Nick Feehan, Mick King, Darren Knox, James Rafter, Conor Quinlan, Dara McGrath, Craig Murphy, John Curtin, Tadhg O’Carroll, Diarmuid Hickey, Darragh Morrissey, Gary Dunne

Training - Saturday next 10.30 sharp in club

South East - a number of Kilkenny players will represent the south east in the Shaggy Horgan cup for under 16s and the inter area games for under 17s on Wed in Enniscorthy.

Mick McGrath, 24th October 2010