What’s seldom is wonderful. Carlow Rugby Club’s first win in the 2014-15 Leinster League campaign has finally arrived. The pre Christmas morale boost for the Club has come with a 20 – 15 victory over visitors Longford on Sunday.
Smarting from last week’s heavy loss in Wicklow, Carlow started on Sunday driving forward with power and with success. The scrum, again fronted by Larry McGrath and Byrne brothers Ross and Alan, was dominant.
Ritchie Whyte, back at number 10, pulled the strings keeping Longford penned back in their own 22 for much of the first half. Carlow’s first score came from a Whyte penalty. This was followed by the first try when Carlow turned over a Longford five metre scrum and captain James Nolan drove over. On the half hour winger Jeff McDermott ran into the corner for another unconverted try. The score was now Carlow 13 Longford nil. This was stretched to 20 – nil on the stroke of half time when Ross Elmes touched down to the left of the posts after the forwards had made several surges to the right of the posts.
The visitors had wind advantage in the second period but it was Carlow generosity that allowed them back into the game. First Longford got a soft try when a player standing in the front of the lineout wasn’t watched. Next a late tackle led to a kicked penalty from where the ball landed 50 metres up field.
With the penalty count against Carlow mounting, there was a jittery feeling that yet another game could slip from the Oakpark side’s grasp. Carlow lost a player to the sinbin and the scrums went uncontested which didn’t suit the home side. But the 20 – 8 lead proved to be an adequate cushion to absorb even the second Longford try which arrived in the 10th minute of stoppage time.
Carlow’s next game is almost a month off on Jan 4 2015 against Kilkenny but Coach Alan Galavan and Captain James Nolan agree that the win will have changed the dynamics for this side.
“Despite the setbacks and losses we never lost our pride in the jersey and the efforts in training never dipped” said the team captain.
The draw for the 2015 Towns Cup takes place in Dublin next Saturday after the Leinster Harlequins European Cup game.
Harry Hennessey, Christof Challe, Alan Nolan, Ross Elmes, Jeff McDermott, Ritchie Whyte Mark Elmes, Ross Byrne, Alan Byrne, Larry McGrath, Wes Shirley, John Lyons, Ed Barron, Niall Bermingham James Nolan Capt.
Subs Ed Keating, Brian Diskin, John Whyte.
Carlow’s J2 side almost made it a double winning Sunday for the Oakpark Club when the lost 17 – 15 in a Leinster League game against Wicklow. Wicklow scored a late late converted try to win by two points. Ironically Carlow had earlier missed a conversion in front of the posts that could have earned them a draw. Carlow tries came from Tom Bolger and Mark Landen plus a penalty try.
Paul Byrne, Gearoid Dunbar, Eoin Rea, Colm Harpur, Shane Mullins, Tom Bolger, Conor Murphy, Brian Diskin, Colm Slater, Dylan Kehoe, Willy Whitford, Dave Keppel, Keelan Power Mark Landen Hugh Frasier.