Carlow 3 Tullow 30
Tullow Rugby Club emerged as clear winners in Sundays Leinster League Division 1B clash against Carlow in Oakpark in what was dubbed the County Final.
The final victory margin of 27 points may have flattered Tullow who scored tries in the last moves of both halves, but there was no doubt but that the better side won.
The main difference between the sides was Tullow number 8 Willie (Hollow) O Brien who scored a hat trick of tries and was rampaging throughout the game. In contrast Carlow lost their second row lineout talisman Wes Shirley five minutes into the game.
Mostly the first half was an even contest. In front of the biggest crowd of the season at Oakpark, the two teams tore into each other from the off. Tullow’s Paul Canavan and Carlow’s Ritchie Whyte exchanged penalties early on to put the score at 3 – 3. The same players got a second penalty opportunity late in the half. Canavan scored, Whyte missed to leave Tullow 6 – 3 in front but the Carlow outhalf was in fine form kicking good field positions from the hand.
On the stroke of half time Tullow ran a series of penalties close to the Carlow line and eventually O Brien squeezed in at the corner for the first of his three tries. Canavan was narrowly wide with the difficult conversion but crucially Tullow led 11 -3 and could expect the benefit of the wind after the turnaround.
Six minutes into the second half O Brien again got over in the corner after a Tullow purple patch. Canavan missed the conversion. Things looked bleak for Carlow when, ten minutes into the half, their captain James Nolan was sin binned for killing the ball during a Tullow onslaught. However the 14 men dug deep, raised the siege and almost scored at the other end during the 10 minute sin binning.
Twenty five minutes in O Brien struck again. This time he ran 50 metres through the middle to touch down under the posts. Canavan converted to make the score 23 – 3. Carlow then had a spell on top. James Nolan got over the Tullow line but knocked on when about to score. Carlow continued to press. Tullow’s John Hanbidge was yellow carded with 10 minutes left on the clock but the Slaneysiders seemed to be able to up a gear and finished the game with a last minute bonus try in the corner from sub winger Davy Moran. Then, to rub more salt into Carlow’s wounds, Canavan converted the try from the touchline and into the wind.
Along with O Brien Tullow had winners in Scott Caldbeck at prop, the Murphy brothers in the back and scrum half Dylan Leybourne. Full back Alan Nolan tackled well for Carlow as did Ritchie Whyte Ross Byrne and sub Niall Bermingham.
After a five games in the 1B league Tullow sit joint second to Gorey on 17 points while Carlow lie second from bottom just above Newbridge.
Alan Nolan, Eoin Bailey, Jeff McDermott, Simon Walshe, Harry Hennessey, Ritchie Whyte, John Whyte, Ross Byrne, John Farrell, Larry McGrath, Wes Shirley, John Lyons, Ed Barron, James Nolan Capt, Mark Furey
Subs used Chris Byrne, Ed Keating , Niall Bermingham, Mark Elmes, Chris Challe.
John Murphy Robert Davis Jonas Holland-Brennan Ato Bloomfield Robert Kehoe Paul Canavan Dylan Leybourne Scott Caldbeck Sam Corrigan Spencer Hanbidge Frank Murphy capt John Hanbidge Brian Murphy Aidan Murphy William O Brien
Subs bench Alan Burns, Steven Smith Joe O Connor Davy Moran
In an earlier match at Oakpark Tullow’s J2 side also prevailed against their fellow county team on a scoreline Carlow 14 Tullow 31. The O Brien family were again on song in this game with Willie’s brother John on two tries. These were added to by tries from Clive Stanley, Mark Nally and Paddy Tobin and four conversions by Aaron Campbell. Carlow, who led 14 – 7 at the interval, but lost Carlow hurler John Michael Nolan early on with a broken thumb, had tries by Landen which were converted by Tom Bolger.
At under 19 age group level Carlow and Tullow have combined as the Blackstairs Harlequins. At Oakpark on Sunday the Harlequins beat a Gorey under 19 team by 20 points to 13.
Tom Bolger, Eoin Rea, Mark Landen, Colm Harpur, Shane Mullins, Donal Carbery, Conor Murphy, Alan Byrne, Tiernan Regan, Kevin Brady, Anthony Mannion, David Keppel, John Michael Nolan, Ross Whitford, Chris Chall.
Subs Keith Dagg, Dillon Kehoe, Conal Slater, Kealan Power, Martin Fritton.
Peter Fitsgerald, Paddy McCall, Paddy Tobin, Willie Nolan, Bobby Henderson, Aaron Campbell, Clive Stanley, Tommy Dwyer, Aaron O Byrne, Fiacra Cunningham, John Baptiste, John O Brien, Brian Murphy, Joe Waters, Killian Murphy.
Subs Joe O Connor, Mark Nally