Tullow power past helpless Rathdrum
RATHDRUM'S Provincial Towns Cup campaign came to an abrupt end when last year's runners up, Tullow, came to town.
Tullow prevented the home side from putting any scores on the board. Although the first half showed a poor performance from Rathdrum, the second half was all about the home side's efforts and Tullow's defense, with some exciting action along the Rathdrum five yard line.
The referee barely had time to turn around, before the visitors had made their way into Rathdrum's half, with Frank Murphy touching down for a try after less than two minutes. Murphy sailed over the line, right by the posts leaving for an easy conversion for Tullow's William Canavan.
This early move from the hands of Andrew Turner, Alan Deering and Frank Murphy set the mantra for the game; good tries from Tullow in excellent positions leaving the majority of conversions easy for Canavan.
After eight minutes, Tullow had scored their second try. A Canavan ball came from the back of a scrum to John Hanbidge who went over the line right at the posts. Canavan again converted bringing the score to 14-0.
What was starting out as a cool crisp day, great weather for rugby, quickly changed, with the rain slowing the game down at the 10th minute.
After 15 minutes, Tullow made a change bringing on John Fitzgerald for Stephen Smith who went off injured.
Frank Murphy scored his second try of the day after the 24th minute. A lineout in the home side's favour was stolen by Sean McCarthy. After three phases, Murphy went under the post for a try. Canavan kicked this conversion bringing the visitors to a storming lead of 21-0, just a quarter of the way into the game.
Tullow's pack was up to scratch on the day, with some excellent scrummaging. After 33mins, Tullow turned over a Rathdrum scum. John Fitzgerald stole the ball from the scrum, and a move to John Hanbidge saw him bring the ball safely over the line for Tullow's fourth try. Canavan had a tough conversion against the wind, which he unfortunately missed.
The visitors made some changes in the second half, with Paul 'Pookie' Canavan replacing Darren Dunne. Cillian Murphy temporarily came on for Murphy, who made a return to pitch around the 65th minute.
After the 50th minute, the front row seen a huge change, with Joe O'Connor replacing Sam Corrigan and Scott Caldbeck replaced Alan Burns.
Andrew Turner put in a massive run in the 70th minute to get Tullow's fifth try. A high kick from Rathdrum's fullback, Rob Winterbottom, sent the ball sailing into Tullow's 22, where it was grabbed by Aaron Daly.
Daly passed it to Roche, who then made a move to Turner. Speed and fancy footwork seen Turner go over the line, running almost half the length of the field, leaving the home side trailing behind him. Canavan converted bringing the score to 330.
William Canavan scored the final try of the game almost at the last minute. He went over the line in the corner. This brought the score to 38-0, a massive opening win in the cup campaign for the visitors.
Tullow put in a huge performance in the first half, in the wet weather conditions, against the wind. The second half was expected to be easier, with the wind in their favour.
However, Rathdrum came back fighting in the second half. A massive effort from the home side saw some exciting action along their five yard line. However, Tullow put in a massive defense, leaving them without a score on the board.
Rathdrum have never been in the Provincial Towns Cup final, while Tullow have had some considerable success in it in recent years.
Rathdrum had impressive performances from Michael Dowling, Barry Sheehan, Ronan Phelan and Rob Winterbottom.
Rathdrum: C.Donegan, N.Cross, S. Byrne, K. Doyle, J. Emery, D. Walsh, M. Dowling, B. Sheehan, S. Kinsella, R. Phelan, I. Snell, J. Conway, S. Burch, C. Phelan, C. Parsons, R. Winterbottom. Rep: V. Kingston, M. Driver, M. Binions.
The Rathdrum side had no answer for the Tullow onslaught.