THE rugby season ended in heartbreak for The Normans with defeat to a powerful Newbridge side in the quarter-finals of The Dunne Cup at The Curragh on Sunday.
The game started at frantic pace, and it didn’t take the hosts long to assert their dominance, taking the lead after just eight minutes thanks to a well-worked try under the posts.
The Kilkenny side regrouped, hitting back ten minutes later through a penalty kick from out-half Mike Wall. For the next 15 minutes the Normans stayed deep in the Newbridge half but they could not find a way through a well-organised home defence. However, disaster struck when the hosts stole the ball in a ruck, and broke upfield to score another try. This seemed to knock the life out of the visitors, as the men from The Curragh ran in two more tries before half time to take a firm 24-3 lead.
The Normans have shown great heart all season, and used it again to fight their way back into the game. Within six minutes of the restart Normans captain Conor Casey powered through the home defence to score a great try, before the extra points helped bring them back into the game.
Newbrigde started to put a lot of pressure on the Kilkenny defence, but great tackling from Willie Murphy in the centre and Clive Moriarty at full-back kept them at bay. David Doyle was also a threat going forward, and in one of his many breaks set up the Normans winger Declan Casey clear to score a powerful try in the corner. Wall this time missed the conversion, but the fight back was well and truly on.
Owen Casey was putting in a Man of the Match performance, giving everything for the men in pink and black but with ten minutes left Newbridge put the game beyond reach with another well worked try.
The Kilkenny side may have been beaten, but they remained unbowed. Davy Coughlan gave the Normans hope when he stole the ball from a scrum and put Conor Casey in for his second try of the game. The extras were added but time ran out on the Kilkenny side, who lost 31-22.
Kilkenny Normans: Clive Moriarty, Declan Casey, Willie Murphy, David Doyle, Shane Farrell, Mike Wall, Sam Wemyss, Jason McCarthy, Liam Moriarty, Paddy O’Keeffe, Conor Casey, Owen Casey, Ciaran Walsh, Ralph Holmes, Shane O’Keeffe. Replacement: Davey Coughlan.
The club will finish the season with their end of season dinner dance in the Long Man of Kilfane on April 30. Tickets are E30 and can be booked by emailing email@example.com or by contacting 086-8900415.