PREMIER Division Kilkenny roared into the semi-finals of the Culliton Cup at the weekend, proving far too powerful and physical for a game first division side Clondalkin.
The Kilkenny youths started on the front foot, attacking from the off, but a determined Clondalkin side defended well. The first score didn’t not come until the 16th minute, when Diarmuid Hickey broke from the back of a scrum and powered his way to the line for the first of his five tries on the night.
This was far from a one-man-show however, as most of Hickey’s tries stemmed from some good team play. Kilkenny’s play overall was notable for the work-rate and the quality of their play.
Leading 25-0 at half-time the result was never in doubt, but the winners defended their line with ferocity throughout the second half, denying Clondalkin what would have been deserved consolation scores on several occasions. With rivals Navan and Gorey posting even bigger scores in their quarter-final wins, and Naas scoring 31 points while knocking out favourites Enniscorthy, the semi-finals will be keenly contested. Kilkenny will play the winners of Naas and Portlaoise in a fortnight.
Try-scorers on the night for Kilkenny were captain Hickey, Hugh Lane, Paddy Mullen, Liam McWey, Sean Moran and Rikki Drennan, with Lane kicking three conversions. While all played well on the night scrum-half Robbie Corcoran’s slick passing was a notable feature.
Kilkenny: Cormac Connolly, Rikki Drennan, Adam Jordan, Hugh Lane, Paddy Mullen, Sean Moran, Robbie Corcoran, Mick King, Darren Knox, Nick Feehan, Conor Quinlan, Darragh Morrissey, Liam McWey, Diarmuid Hickey, Gary Dunne. Subs: Sean Mulholland, Jack Cotter, James Rafter, Craig Murphy, John Curtin.
Kilkenny’s South-East semi-final, which was due to be played next week, has been postponed. Kilkenny will now travel to Dungarvan, Waterford to play one of Munster’s best sides in what will be an extremely physical preparation for their Leinster semi-final.