Ark­low lose out

RUGBY LE­IN­STER LEAGUE ACTION

Bray People - - Bray Sport -

Ark­low R.F.C. 11, Kilkenny R.F.C. 37: The score­line might sug­gest a dif­fer­ent match, than was the case with the real match, as this was Ark­low’s best game so far this sea­son.

Ark­low play­ers played above what we have seen up to now and hope­fully are now putting a team to­gether that will com­pete with the best in the league.

Ark­low lost this match mainly due to meet­ing a good Kilkenny side with the am­bi­tion to play in the higher divi­sion next sea­son. The ref­eree was no help to Ark­low as he caused the Ark­low for­wards prob­lems with many tech­ni­cal de­ci­sions go­ing against Ark­low.

The home side were not in any­way over­awed by their op­po­nents and in par­tic­u­lar the Ark­low pack tack­led with great com­mit­ment and never al­lowed Kilkenny to gain any ad­van­tage in any facet of play.

Af­ter only six min­utes Kilkenny were awarded a soft penalty in front of the posts hav­ing got into the Ark­low 22 by be­ing awarded a se­ries of penal­ties. Kilkenny’s young back­line ran at Ark­low with each ball and Ark­low while tackling man­fully could not pre­vent Kilkenny scor­ing in the cor­ner the try was not con­verted, Kilkenny 11, Ark­low 0.

Ark­low now lost their scrumhalf Si­mon Tyner due to a ham­string in­jury and he was re­placed by Chris Hughes who trans­ferred from the wing to take over the num­ber 9 job.

Kilkenny were awarded an­other penalty in front of the posts which was turned into three points. Ark­low were in this game all the while Kilkenny were ahead on the score­board, the Ark­low pack and the backs were not out­classed at all by their op­po­nents.

Ark­low were ap­ply­ing pres­sure of their own by now, and were granted a penalty from 30 me­tres or so which Michael Ka­vanagh sent be­tween the posts beau­ti­fully. Now Ark­low were in the as­cen­dant and were awarded an­other penalty af­ter con­tin­ued pres­sure in the Kilkenny 22. This was put over the bar with ease by Michael Ka­vanagh again.

Ark­low at­tacked the Kilkenny back­line again and were re­ward- ed with a well ex­e­cuted try with great han­dling by the Ark­low backs and fin­ished by none other then Michael Ka­vanagh. The con­ver­sion was missed.

We now had a game and Ark­low played their part but af­ter 47 min­utes in the first-half Kilkenny ran in a good try which was con­verted. The score­board was slightly dis­torted with Kilkenny 21 points to Ark­low’s 11 points.

The sec­ond-half started off badly for Ark­low with a mix up from the Ark­low for­wards re­ceiv­ing the ball gave pos­ses­sion to Kilkenny in the Ark­low 22.

Ark­low with­stood the pres­sure and cleared their lines.

From a line-out which Kilkenny clearly knocked the ball on but was not spot­ted by the ref­eree and ended with a try in the cor­ner without the con­ver­sion. This gave Kilkenny the en­cour­age­ment they needed and they started to run the ball from all phases of pos­ses­sion.

Ark­low’s pack con­stantly dis­rupted Kilkenny pack scrum and Ark­low turned over ball time and again from Kilkenny. Ark­low’s fit­ness was weak­en­ing, and they al­lowed two more tries in be­fore this match ended.

The Ark­low pack de­serves great praise for this per­for­mance, it would be un­fair to sin­gle out any in­di­vid­ual player but as a unit they per­formed mag­nif­i­cently.

The Ark­low backs were no less im­pres­sive and de­serve ev­ery praise for their tackling and their at­tack­ing flair and the whole team and subs are to be con­grat­u­lated. Ark­low are start­ing to show small signs of re­cov­ery and are start­ing to play as a team and they can look for­ward to a good fin­ish to the sea­son if they con­tinue to train and play like this.

This was the fi­nal match at home for Ark­low this year and Santa must have known this as he ar­rived to give out presents to all our un­der-age teams from 14 years of age down to un­der-8s.

He en­ter­tained th­ese youngsters with great pa­tience and care and made them all happy. They ate crisps and drank their fill of soft drinks ‘ til their moth­ers and fathers took them home late in the evening.

A spe­cial thanks is due to all who helped or­gan­ise this Christ­mas party. Ophe­lia Byrne, Bar­ney Hynes, and the com­mit­tee who helped her in ev­ery way to put this party to­gether as a lot of or­gan­is­ing went into the pre­ced­ing days to get it to­gether. Fi­nally a spe­cial thank you to Santa Claus for mak­ing the day spe­cial for so many kids.

Stephen Duffy in action for Wick­low R.F.C. against Garda.

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