Relegation looms as Kilkenny struggle for results in league

This is another busy period for domestic rugby fixtures

The New Year has opened as the old one finished for Kilkenny 1st XV and they are finding it hard to get a rhythm going.

The Firsts failed to build on the solid performance against Enniscorthy last week when they travelled to Gorey on Saturday for this J1 Leinster League clash. They were beaten 20-3. 

With Monkstown pulling off a huge surprise by beating Ashbourne, Kilkenny have now dropped  to the bottom of the table.

Barring a miracle, or massive change in fortunes and luck, relegation to Division 1B looks a likely prospect.

A dark and damp Clonattin Road grounds  did not make the going any easier for the visitors, and the underfoot conditions were  very soft and greasy. 

None of this hampered Gorey, who  opened the scoring with a converted try within six minutes. 

The home side added points from a penalty  in the 18th minute. 

Gorey were then penalised for a high tackle, and with a player sent to the sin bin following the  infringement, Jake McDonald opened the scoring for Kilkenny.

 Failed to capitalise

The visitors  failed to capitalise on the reduced Gorey numbers.

In fact, with the second half just underway they handed Gorey a simple penalty kick and the opportunity to increase their lead.

Gorey duly did so, jumping  13-3 in front. 

Kilkenny had one scoring opportunity which saw them batter the Gorey try line.

However, fortune  did not fall their way and Gorey were let off the hook. 

As the game progressed, Kilkenny found it more difficult to break through the solid Gorey defence.

The game slowly but surely slipped from the visitors  grasp. 

With only two minutes of normal time left on the clock, Gorey slipped through the Kilkenny defence and were able to score under the posts. They added a further seven points to their tally.

With only three games left in the league, Kilkenny will need to dig really deep to avoid automatic relegation. 

They face league leaders Malahide on Saturday in Foulkstown in the first of their survival games. 

This won’t be an  easy assignment. Malahide have had a relatively easy time of it this season so far. 

Kick off in Foulkstown is at 2.30pm.

Seconds beaten

Kilkenny Seconds were also well beaten  in Gorey on Saturday. 

Playing in very difficult conditions, Kilkenny tried their best to break through a tough defence and to keep out  repeated Gorey attacks. 

The final score of 29-10 did not reflect the valiant effort put in by Kilkenny.

However, individual fitness and lack of team training was very much evident on the day and eventually led to the visitors  downfall. 

Kilkenny  face Malahide on Saturday. Kick off 1pm

Kilkenny Firsts - Liam Caddy, Mark Coughlan, Padraig Mahon, Joe Manuel, Lyndon Brannigan, Jake McDonald, Aiden McDonald, David O’Connor (capt), Ronan Scott, Jay Leahy, Liam Phelan, Andy Nyenhuis, Hugh O’Brien, Murt Leahy, Simon O’Shea. Subs - Darragh Farragher, Conor Dempsey, Jason Connolly, Ciaran Sutton, Sean Moran. 

Kilkenny Seconds - Alan O’Donovan, Peter McBride, Ian Holohan, Jimmy Quan, Sean Flynn, Liam McWey, Ciaran Sutton, Drew Phelan, Leon Madigan, Noel Whelan, Paul Donnelly, Seamus Corcoran,  Alan McIntyre, Brendan McIntyre, Chris Brady, Ronnie Moran, Wayne Byrne. Subs: Ray Pembroke, Barry Daly.

Fixtures

Saturday - J1 Leinster League, Kilkenny v Malahide (h). K/O 2.30pm; J2 Leinster League, Kilkenny v Malahide (h). K/O 1pm

Sunday - J3 South East League, Kilkenny v Athy (h). K/O 2.30pm; women Leinster League, Kilkenny v NM Falcons (a). K/O 1pm.

Sunday, January 29 - J1 Provincial Towns Cup, round 1, Kilkenny v Wicklow (h). K/O 2.30pm.