Walsh sets Tullow on the way to win over Wick­low

RUGBY LE­IN­STER LEAGUE DIVI­SION 1

Bray People - - Sport - Paul DON­AGHY

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.

SEC­ONDS

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.

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