Under 17 Leinster League
Kilkenny 24 Wexford 22
Kilkenny under 17s almost learnt a costly lesson in their first Premier league game of the season in this fiercely contested contest played in dry breezy conditions at the Wexford ground last Saturday as tactical naivety by the Kilkenny lads almost cost them a deserved victory over a well drilled and physical home team.
Kilkenny had got off to the worst possible start as playing into the wind and having won the kick off Liam McWey carried the ball on his own into contact expecting the opposition to be similar to the division one teams that Kilkenny have played recently. Isolated, the ball was turned over in a flash by the Wexford lads the majority of whom are well used to winning having won the Division 1 title last year.
A series of drives at the Kilkenny defence where several players fell off or missed tackles and Wexford had scored in the corner to go 5 points head after sixty seconds. Desperate defence on their own line by the Kilkenny lads where Tadhg O’Carroll, Adam Jordon and several others held Wexford players up when over the Kilkenny line prevented tries on three further occasions in the next fifteen minutes as Kilkenny failed to get to grips with the physical and dynamic home team, who would have been out of sight had they possessed a quality finisher.
As Kilkenny started to get to grips with the game they lost Cormac Connolly who has been in great form to date due to a clash of heads after 22 minutes when breaking for the line allowing John Curtin into the game who went on to play a blinder in the second half. Coming to the break Kilkenny were asking the questions and after their best passage of play Jack Cotter finished a great move after thirty three minutes to leave the sides level at half time with Kilkenny having the wind at their backs in the second period .
Kilkenny however fluffed the kick off and allowed Wexford regain the initiative and conceded a converted try after only three minutes of the second half to give Wexford a boost . Despite this setback and being unusually slow to react in defence the Kilkenny lads showed great skill and commitment and scored excellent team tries by Sean Moran, and Liam Mcwey now playing centre who finished off a great pass from Adam Jordon. A brilliant piece of play by McWey looked to have killed the game off as he gathered a ball on half way, chipped the full back and gathered his own kick to score under the posts, converted to leave Kilkenny ahead by 14 with 15 minutes remaining.
Incredibly through tactical naivety or overconfidence, Kilkenny having gathered the restart, chose to run the ball with the strong wind at their backs rather than kick deep, dropped the ball and within a minute Wexford had scored a converted try. Kilkenny again made a hash of the restart giving the ball away cheaply and back in the game Wexford stole a Kilkenny lineout and scored again to leave two points between the teams with eight minutes remaining and Wexford on top.
However to their credit Kilkenny finally gathered themselves tactically and pinned Wexford back in their own 22 for the remaining time and were unlucky not to add to their score being called back for an accidental offside and a forward pass as they refused to let Wexford into their half until the whistle.
A good start to the league and a reminder that conceding easy points at this level will be punished. The team attacked well but were far to slow to react in defence being constantly outflanked as Kilkenny players were constantly drawn to the ruck area instead of defending with width, a flaw that Carlow with better finishers will exploit if not corrected this week
All the players played with distinction but need to commit physically from the start. Before he went off Connolly looked sharp, and newcomers Rikki Drennan and Jack Cotter deserve mention in the confident manner they performed while Mcweys try was a gem.
Jack Cotter , Rikki Drennan , Cormac Connolly , Adam Jordon . Dara Mcgrath, Sean Moran Robbie Corcoran , Mick King, Darren Knox , Nick Feehan , Tadhg O Carroll , Conor Quinlan , Gary Dunne , Liam McWey , John Curtin , Cieran Sutton
Sat next Leinster league V Carlow , Foulkstown KO 11.30 . Carlow have already beaten the locals in their first game of the season when Kilkenny conceded 3 soft breakaway tries. This will be a bigger test again for the locals as Carlow have 11 players on the South East Development squad , several on the back of the victory over Kilkenny and two Kilkenny players lost places in the squad to Carlow counterparts as a result of that South east game so a great game is in store .
The CBS scored a great victory over Tullow Community School in the Senior development cup winning 28 points to 26 against a Tullow team that contained many of Tullow’s under 19 team. They play Baltinglass Community school this Wednesday in the second round.
With a number of players unavailable due to hurling commitments and injuries last weekend , Kilkenny under 17s are looking for new recruits. If you like a physical challenge or want to experience rugby, come along to training on Thursday night at 7pm
Mick McGrath, 9th October 2010