Walsh sets Tullow on the way to win over Wicklow
RUGBY LEINSTER LEAGUE DIVISION 1
Tullow 38, Wicklow 7: There was absolutely no doubt about Sunday’s Leinster League Division 1 result at Black Gates, but the winner’s concession of 22 penalties, against six in the other direction, will give the Co. Carlow team management something to ponder on before heading to Boyne for their final league joust on Sunday next.
Perhaps the points will be of little concern in that Tullow must win on Sunday and further expect Portlaoise to lose twice and give them ninth position (and that anticipating Navan will win AIL status) or will they be posturing for the March 8 Town’s Cup match?
A repeat of Sunday’s indiscipline could see Tullow defending their own line on Sunday next; the figures suggesting there is a wide corridor for improvement, particularly in their rucking technique.
This was no examination for a team chasing league status and a cup; a poor rehearsal for tougher foe in that they mauled the east coast visitors for most of the 80-plus minutes with some very energetic play by Alan Burns, Martin Madjinski, Ronan Bolger and Rob Porter.
Yet their 24-0 interval lead was not unduly flattering given their possession and the wind at their backs; Aaron Campbell forced into touch three times in that half after some fine handling.
William Canavan opened with a penalty after just 110 seconds at the lower end and six later Campbell skated over on the left with Canavan converting.
Indeed, Tullow should have crossed several more times before Thomas Walsh weaved 40 metres from the left and through the middle for a fine try which again Canavan goaled in the 25th minute.
Comfortable passage, but the penalty count as not encouraging and suggests a laxity Boyne will not dismiss as easily as Wicklow, Towns Cup finalists a few seasons back but losing up to a dozen players from last season.
However, they showed admirable teeth ands the player of the match was the diminutive full-back Alan Byrne who showed aggression far above his weight, and bar a ten minute spell in the bin was the outstanding player, considering he was on he receiving end for most of the trip.
They had other grafters in Chris Sillery, Paddy O’Flaherty, Brian Clarke, John McSherry, Stuart Donohoe, Ben Armstrong and Eanna Killeen, but not even their combined concerted effort was enough to chip the paint off the Tullow performance.
That said, they had Tullow in their own half for longer than the winners would have liked in the second-half and McSherry was almost over three minutes into the new half, only to see Tullow turn them over on the line.
With Donal Haskins binned, followed by Alan Byrne, the hosts ended visiting ambitions with the bonus try when under 20 Philip Timmons hacked through a Wicklow fumble inside his own half and Owen O’Toole was on hand to win the race for the touch with Bolger supporting on the left in he 19th minute. Canavan again obliged. Six later it turned into a slaughter when Martin Madjinski peeled from third ruck to over with a hand laid on him, again Canavan adding the two points.
It all became scrappy with neither team sticking to any purpose and Wicklow took advantage of a slack Tullow defence when O’Flaherty ducked several tackles on the right to score at the posts in he 35th minute and Byrne making it seven.
It hardly mattered that Tullow’s O’Toole was binned in the concluding moments for the exercise by that stage held little interested for either party.
The result was predictable and Tullow could afford the absence of John Fitzgerald, Tony Bolger, Paddy Byrne, Ivan Glynn and Patrick Walsh, and injured William O’Brien who heads for an operation next week, banning him from further Tullow games, he having dislocated a shoulder during in the ’08 GAA season.
Still to face Enniscorthy in the South East Cup final (postponed earlier in the year) Tullow could still be a force in the Towns Cup and showed a good head of steam on Sunday, particularly from Burns, Madjinski and Bolger in the engine room and Porter and Roche behind. Robert Lubin and Canavan had it much heir own way behind an authorative pack with newcomers Timmons and O’Toole not doing their unfolding reputations any harm whatsoever.
Tullow put into ten of the 18 scrums and 11 of the 18 lines (only three in the second half) but Larry Canavan ands Co. will not be happy with the error count.
Tullow 53, Wicklow 3: Tullow seconds showed good form in light of their forthcoming Seconds Cup game in Navan on March 7 when they demolished a youthful Wicklow at Black Gates on Sunday.
They went through the interval with tries from Paddy Curry, Gavin Doyle Alan Deering and William ‘ Hollow’ O’Brien, one converted by Trevor Whelan.
And it was worse for the visitors in a Tullow-dominated second 40 with further tries from O’Brien, Doyle, Aussie recruit Daniel Quinn a pair from Andy Phelan and another from Deering with Whelan adding the extra points.
Winners over Mullingar in the opening cup game, they will travel to Navan full of confidence and with a number of players returning from injury to a very physical team.
Doyle Deering Seamus Quirke and O’Brien forced the pace in a team which saw the return of Darren Leonard, Peter Fitzgerald and James Kearney.
Wicklow’s three points came after Curry’s opening Tullow try.
Tullow’s Thomas Walsh uses his strength to evade a tackle from Dermot O'Rourke.