Win keeps Firsts in title contention

New Ross 6pts

New Ross 6pts

Kilkenny 1sts 12

THE Kilkenny Firsts didn’t disappoint the travelling fans when they came away from Southknock with the valuable Leinster League points on Sunday.

A win in New Ross was vital for Kilkenny if they were to remain in contention. They did just that, moving up to third place in the table on 23 points having been bogged down in fourth place for so long. The Noresiders still have a lot of catching up to do; Roscrea are second place on 31 points, with Portarlington top of the pile on 35 points.

Despite the close scoreline, Kilkenny dominated this game with the forwards carrying on the momentum from last week’s clash against Carlow. Captain Philly Ryan opened the scoring with a try for the visitors which led the way for his scrum-half Robby Walsh to touch down a short time later with Denis Hogan adding the conversion.

Kilkenny denied New Ross the opportunity to cross the line but nevertheless they answered with two penalty kicks. Ryan, as always, led his team superbly earning him the Man of the Match plaudits, closely followed by Robby Walsh and the ever-present prop Mick Hannigan.

Portarlington were up against North Kildare on Sunday and took full advantage of the home tie, beating their opponents 46-10. Roscrea were away to West Offaly Lions and although they won 26-6, they would have been expected to score a bigger result against their weaker opposition.

Malahide, who looked like the team to beat at the beginning of the season, lost 15-10 to Clane. Defeat means they have slipped into fourth place, one point behind Kilkenny.

Kilkenny’s performance in New Ross means they are still in with a good chance to get the title, but with six games left full points are required from each of their remaining matches. Kilkenny have it all to play for and with both Portarlington and Roscrea still to play in Foulkstown, it is hoped Lady Luck might just shine on them. If Kilkenny stick to their plan, a season decider could be on the cards in the final game against Portarlington in March.

Kilkenny: Alan O’Donovan, Rod Hogan, Alan Pembroke, Joe Manuel, Ger Flood, Denis Hogan, Robby Walsh, Philly Ryan (capt), Conor Bass, Ray Pembroke, Brendan McIntyre, James Blanchfield, Mick Hannigan, Brian Hanrahan, Wayne Kavanagh. Subs: Emmet Lynch, Eddie Brennan, Leon Madigan, Eamonn Carroll, Philly Walsh.

Seconds beaten

An understrength Kilkenny Seconds were not so lucky in their Leinster League clash against the same opposition. Despite leading 10-3 at half-time, they were solidly beaten by the home side in the second half, with the final score of 41-15 going in New Ross’ favour.

Defeat leaves Kilkenny in second place in the table with 24 points, five points behind Malahide who now have 29 points.

Both teams will be in action against Clane in Foulkstown this Saturday. The Seconds play at 12.30pm, with the Firsts taking on the visitors at 2pm.

Social night

Following Saturday’s Leinster League game against Clane, the club will hold a special event in Foulkstown to celebrate the achievements of the recently retired Ian Dowling.

Ian and Irish Ladies International, Caroline Mahon, will present their representative jerseys to the club on the night.

The night will also double as a reunion night for the Firsts and Seconds Towns Cup and Leinster League winning teams of 2001-2003, in which a very young and sprightly Dowling very much featured.

All are welcome to attend the night, which starts at 8pm. Admission is free.