Firsts continue drive forward

A SLOW, hard game played in bitterly cold and damp conditions saw Kilkenny take the points in this Leinster League clash between top and bottom of the table on Sunday in Southknock. Kilkenny beat New Ross 13-6, writes Padraic Treacy.

A SLOW, hard game played in bitterly cold and damp conditions saw Kilkenny take the points in this Leinster League clash between top and bottom of the table on Sunday in Southknock. Kilkenny beat New Ross 13-6, writes Padraic Treacy.

Kilkenny never really got going and it was the weaker New Ross who provided the entertainment. From Kilkenny it was another notch in the bed-post as they continued their unbeaten run and as the League reached the midway point.

They remain four points ahead of nearest chasers Malahide, who scored a vital win against Gorey.

New Ross took the lead after 35 minutes through their out-half. Kilkenny’s Willie Wright, having missed three previous attempts, levelled just before the break. Kilkenny came close to the try zone on at least three occasions, but a mix of indiscipline on their own behalf and sheer determination from New Ross denied them.

Half-time score 3-3.

Kilkenny upped the tempo in the second half, but only to a certain degree.

Wright missed another opportunity on 49 minutes and it became clear that the young Kiwi was on an off-day.

In the 55th minute the forwards took charge and got the try they deserved through the sheer strength and determination of second row, Victor Ryan. Wright finally found his kicking boots and converted.

He was again successful 10 minutes later when he put the game out of the reach of New Ross with a penalty kick.

The losers did manage a consolation score two minutes before the end.

This was a weak performance from Kilkenny when a lot more was expected from them.

The addition of the youthful Diarmaid Hickey for the injured Ray Pembroke didn’t hamper the teams, which shows there is strenght in depth.

Kilkenny are at home to Enniscorthy in the South East League on Friday (7pm).

This will be followed by a players evening in the Foulkstown clubhouse where the Firsts and Seconds ‘Players of the Year for 2011/2012’ awards will be presented.

Kilkenny play Malahide and Gorey on December 2 and 9 respectively. A positive result in both could decide the promotion place for Kilkenny. Both games are eagerly awaited.

On Sunday, the Seconds also take on Enniscorthy in their South East clash in Foulkstown (2.30pm).

Kilkenny Firsts - Philly Walsh, Alan O’Donovan, Joey Manuel, Alan Pembroke, Killian Everard, Julian Hughes, Willie Wright, Willie Duggan, John Harper, Ray Pembroke, Gerry Clarke, Victor Ryan, Wayne Kavanagh, Tom Massey, Simon O’Shea. Subs - Eddie Brennan, Martin Leahy, Diarmaid Hickey, Clive Kavanagh, Shane Rafferty.

Heineken Cup

The Heineken Cup Tour of Leinster was in Kilkenny last week and the famous trophy was brought to 23 primary and secondary schools throughout the city and county by Kilkenny Rugby Club Community Rugby Officer, Barry Daly.
Barry conveyed a special thank you to Principal Margaret Walsh and the staff of St Mary’s NS, Thomastown, for allowing the official launch day to be held in the school.

Also, a special thank you to the Loreto Secondary School for turning their school ‘Leinster Blue’ and in the process they raised vital funds for various school projects.

The Heineken Cup also visited Grennan College Thomastown, Scoile Aireagail Ballyhale, Castlecomer CS, Urlingford NS, Johnstown NS, Model School Kilkenny, Kilkenny College, CBS secondary and primary, Presentation primary and secondary, St Patrick’s De La Salle, St Kieran’s College, St John of Gods, Gaelscoile Osraì, KSP, Colàiste Pobail Osraì, St Brigid’s, Callan, VEC and Bennettsbridge NS.

Ladies rugby

Meanwhile, the Kilkenny ladies rugby team has launched a major drive to recruit new members. The team was revived three years ago and has gone from strength to strength.

Currently they have a development team coached by Paddy McCorry and Barry Daly.

The initial team was disbanded around 10 years ago, but things are motoring again.

With the support of main sponsors, the Left Bank and a team of 25 plus women, Kilkenny are doing well.

In the second year of existance the ladies reached the cup final, losing narrowly to Carlow (3-0). Kilkenny welcomed Caroline Mahon, a former Irish international and Leinster player, into the fold.

She added vision and leadership to the squad.

The Kilkenny ladies train at the club on Wednesdays and Fridays (7pm).

Last year an under-age team was formed.

The starting of rugby at the grassroots level is very important as it feeds into the upper levels.

Rugby is becoming very popular among girls and is a great winter sport for GAA players.

Rugby, according to the players, is a great bonding game with players long since left the game continue to follow and support the teams.

The Kilkenny ladies launched their new kit in the Left Bank recently.

Pictured with Noel Lane, manager of Left Bank were Kelly McGuinness, Mags Hennessy, Aoife Lyons, Aisling McCool, Sharon Glendon, Madeleine Carroll, Jenny Daly, Deirdre O’Neill, Brona Kelly, Susan Battle, Mary Forristal, Aisling Moroney, Kathy Walsh, Sandija Veigule, Kate Hennessy, Yvonne Hickey.

New members are always, contact 087 6849257.