Following the solid win against Wicklow (29-13) the previous week, a confident Kilkenny Firsts travelled to Ashbourne on Sunday but things didn’t work out.
The scoreboard does not reflect the immense effort put in by the Noresiders.
Kilkenny were beaten by a better team, but they deserved the praise of supporters who travelled and witnessed a team that is improving and growing in strength
Not much can be said about the game from a Kilkenny perspective, except that their defensive game has improved immensely. The tackle count was immense. They were out-muscled in the set pieces which proved to be their downfall.
Ashbourne are a more experienced side. This was evident in the way they spotted cracks in the Kilkenny defence and capitalised on those weak areas, allowing them to cross the try line on two occasions for rather soft tries. On a normal day Kilkenny would not have allowed this to happen, but alas, Sunday was not one of those days.
The losers can take solace from the fact that they did score the best try. In the second half winger Killian Everard sprinted down the touchline, cut inside and scored to the right of the posts. There was a suggestion by the touch-judge that Everard had entered touch, but the referee, who was well placed, quickly over ruled that call.
To add to Kilkenny woes, kicker Willie Wright failed to get his name on the scoresheet with the conversion. In his defence, he did carry an ankle injury into the game.
Nevertheless, Kilkenny can be proud of their performance. They managed to prevent Ashbourne from achieving the try bonus point which was a victory in itself.
The losers remain fourth in the table behind Monkstown and Malahide. With these two teams to play in the coming weeks, Kilkenny could find themselves nearer the top before the Christmas break.
Young out-half Sean Moran was the best player, putting his body on the line on numerous occasions. Philly Walsh and Killian Everard were exceptional, with the latter remaining on the field despite a shoulder injury.
The Leinster League takes a short break this weekend which will give Kilkenny time to regroup and analyse where exactly things went wrong on Sunday. Their next opponents are Monkstown on Sunday, December 1 (2.30pm).
The Kilkenny Seconds will be in action in the curtain-raiser against the same opposition (1pm).
Kilkenny Firsts - Joey Manuel, Denis Hogan, Podge Mahon, Philly Walsh, Killian Everard, Sean Moran, Willie Wright, Darragh Farragher, Lee Wilson, David O’Connor, Ray Pembroke, Victor Ryan, Eddie Brennan, Martin Leahy, Hugh O’Brien. Subs - Sean Moran, Ronan O’Donoghue, Kevin O’Toole, Gerry Callinan.
An under-strength Kilkenny Seconds took to the pitch in Ashbourne on Sunday and were beaten by a tougher Ashbourne side.
The Cats, who were missing a good number of key players through injury and work commitments, still managed to secure a bonus point which keeps them in the running to take the league title.
Kilkenny’s only try came in the second half through the ever present Ronan O’Donoghue, who has been playing some fabulous rugby this season. His ‘never give up’ attitude has been inspirational to his fellow teammates.
It was through his actions that Kilkenny scored a further nine points through the boot of Barry Daly (one penalty) and Gerry Callanan (two penalties).
Kilkenny are away to Monkstown in their next game on December 1. Kick-off 1pm.
Kilkenny Seconds - Alan O’Donovan, Ger Flood, Gerry Callinan, Kevin O’Toole, , Barry Daly, Tom Massey, Ronan O’Donoghue, Ben Dyer, Peter Rodgers, Darragh Morrissey, James Blanchfield, Leon Madigan, John Curtin, Ronnie Moran. Subs - Richie Connolly, Cormac Connolly, Ben O’Connor.