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Friday, 07 November 2014 09:54

Athy v Athyboy 02/11/2014

Written by Paul Aspil – 2nd November 2014

 

Athy 17 Athboy 20

 

Athy Cruelly Pipped at the final whistle

 

 

The battle for mid table lived up to its promise in Athboy, with both sides striving to keep in touch with the leaders, a very entertaining game ensued.

The game was tight for the first seventeen minutes with most of the play within the respective 10m lines.

However Athy ramped up the pressure gradually creeping into the Athboy 22 and this pressure was rewarded with a penalty to the visitors 20m out directly in front of the posts, which was scored by Jamie McStay.

From the restart the home team made their way towards the Athy 22 and a drop goal attempt from their No10 narrowly missed. Several other attempts were made during the game proving how dangerous the home out half would be.

And on 29 minutes it proved to be the case. Athy were awarded a scrum following a poor Athboy lineout throw.

The scrum was badly turned over and the home No.10 danced his way under the posts for the games first try which he also converted to leave the game at 7 – 3.

On 35 minutes Athy winger Davy Walsh made a scorching run along the left wing and a high tackle resulted in a yellow card for one of the Athboy props. Athy missed the penalty and the chance to reduce the deficit

Just before the break, Athy were rewarded for their growing dominance when Captain Stuart Holland intercepted a pass on the half way line and ran the distance to cross in the corner. With the conversion from Mark Beever the visitors ended the half with a three point margin 10-7.

5 minutes into the second half the lead swung back to the home team. A clearance from Athy went out on the full. From the lineout the ball was moved quickly from the right to the left flank and grounded in the corner.

With the extra three from the trusted boot of the out half they now lead by 4. Another penalty for the home team saw them stretch their lead to seven (17-10)

Athy, however, weren’t leaving without a fight and with the introduction of the Kings, Peter and Aodhan, they upped the tempo negating the influence of the Athboy 10 who was pulling all the strings for the hosts. On 61 minutes the ball made its way to winger Davy Walsh who scorched along the left wing just short of the line he managed to pop a pass to the supporting Alan Talbot to cross for a try which was converted by Beever to square the game at 17 – 17.

Athy went for the kill continuing to punch holes in the Athboy defence forcing the hosts to concede two kickable penalties. One narrow miss and one hit the upright. These misses would ultimately prove costly for Athy.

It looked all set for a deserved draw with the hosts conceding a penalty while on the on the Athy try line.

On the 80th minute Athy conceded a penalty for going in off the feet at a ruck just inside their half way line. Cruelly the Athboy knock on at the same ruck was missed by the referee.

The pristine boot of the host’s no. 10 sealed the victory with the last kick of the game.

A cruel twist to the end of an enjoyable game. Athy will have to be more clinical in converting chances going forward.

Published in Mens Match Reports
Friday, 07 November 2014 09:46

Athy v Swords 19/10/2014

19th October 2014

Leinster League Div. 2B

Athy 24 Swords 0

Athy got their Leinster League campaign back on track with a bonus point home win against newly promoted Swords.  Starting with the aid of a strong breeze blowing straight down the pitch Athy had a dream start when they won possession from their own kick off and after some quick ball to the backs Alan Talbot touched down for a try with less than a minute on the clock.  Jamie McStay failed to make the difficult conversion from close to the touchline.

Swords did not let this early concession put them off their game plan and they pushed back against Athy in the following exchanges with quick line defence and some good aggressive ruck play.  Athy made more of the general play in the first quarter but frequently having won good line out or scrum possession during this period the aggressive Sword’s defence saw them concede turnovers and subsequent field position.  However the wind factor came into play in the first half with Athy making good use of it on occasions with some excellent kicks from the hand by Jamie Mcstay pinning Swords back towards their own line.  On the half hour mark Athy had put themselves in a promising attacking position with a penalty and lineout deep in Sword’s territory.  Despite winning the lineout Swords forced the turnover and a good break by their centre brought play to Athy’s 22.  Athy conceded a scrum due to a lineout infringement shortly after but an excellent shove saw them win the ball against the head.  The ball was kicked behind the Sword’s line by quick thinking Jamie McStay with good follow up pressure by the Athy pack winning possession and finishing with a try by Nigel Holland, converted by Mark Beever to put the score at 12 – 0 going into the break.

Despite the two score margin at the beginning of the second half Athy were under pressure from the kick off due to the strong breeze now in their faces and Swords increased the urgency of their play.  Swords, knowing they had the advantage of the breeze now, began the half by mounting heavy pressure on the Athy defence in an effort to get a score quickly.  The home defence wobbled at times with the concession of some turnovers and kicks not making touch but Swords were not able to cross the line.  Athy’s massive work rate and discipline during this period stood to them with the opposition being afforded few penalty opportunities to close the gap.  The pressure began to tell when Athy had a player yellow carded after 15 minutes.  The home support now feared for 14 man Athy’s ability to hold the line and Swords also sensed an opportunity.  For the next five minutes the play was camped inside Athy’s 5 metre line until they won an excellent scrum off a Swords’ maul.  Athy won a penalty off the scrum and finally lifted the siege bringing play outside their 22 for almost the first time in the second half.  Swords conceded another penalty shortly after this and Athy brought play into the opposition half for the first time in almost 20 minutes of the second half.

An offside infringement by Swords’ scrumhalf at the back off the scrum won Athy a penalty.  A quick tap by Captain Stuart Holland saw some good ground made by him before offloading to Alan Talbot whose superb line saw him run in under the post for a try at 60 minutes, converted by Mark Beever.  From the following kick off Alan Harding gathered and quick ball saw the ball go to Davy Walsh on the wing who made good ground before offloading on the inside to full back Darren O’Keefe.  A perfectly timed pass to supporting scrumhalf Myles Aspil allowed him to finish off the move with a try under the post for the bonus point.  The conversion attempt by Beever was held up by the wind.  Swords did attempt to put pressure on Athy’s line for the last 15 minutes but the energy of their efforts was not as intense as early in the half and so the score finished 24 – 0 for the home side.

Team: Peter King, Brian Berry, Wes Whitten, John Fraser, Clive Kavanagh, Stuart Holland, Nigel Holland, Myles Aspil, Jamie MacStay, Davey Walsh, Paul Waters, Gavin Kelly, Alan Talbot, Darren O’Keefe. Subs: Mark Beever, David Curtis, Joe Deegan, Aodhan King, Peter Considine.

 
Published in Mens Match Reports
Friday, 07 November 2014 09:40

Edenderry v Athy 12/10/2014

12th October 2014

 

Leinster League Div. 2B

 

Edenderry 31     Athy 8

 

Edenderry has been an unhappy venue for Athy in recent years and this third round Leinster League fixture continued that trend.  Athy suffered a heavy defeat in a match that was characterised by Athy mistakes punished by Edenderry efficiency.  Athy started the game with purpose and the early exchanges saw Edenderry defending between their 10m and 22m lines.  However, an Edenderry turnover followed by a good clearance kick brought play to Athy’s 22.  Athy lost the lineout and following quick ball Edenderry touched down in the corner for a well taken try on 5 minutes, unconverted.

 

Although stung by this score Athy attacked Edenderry territory again putting a lot of pressure on their defence before winning a kickable penalty on seven minutes but the ball went just wide.  Athy won the subsequent 22 drop out and attacked again winning another penalty opportunity which again went wide.  Edenderry’s next drop out went out on the full and an excellent following scrum from Athy won them another penalty in front of the posts, this time Jamie McStay eventually getting them on the scoreboard after 17 minutes and closing the gap to 2 points.  The following kick off was knocked by Athy gaining Edenderry a scrum from which their number 8 made good ground into Athy’s 22 until good Athy defence forced play back up the field.  In the first half of second quarter Edenderry were now doing the attacking but Athy defended well, not allowing the opposition to penetrate until winning an excellent penalty for holding on the ground by Edenderry.  This brought play back into Edenderry territory and Athy pressure was causing problems for the opposition again including an excellent clearance kick block down by substitute Aodhan King forcing a lineout 5m from Edenderry’s line.  Athy could not capitalise on this and Edenderry held out and moved back into Athy territory again.

 

The period just before and after the break saw Athy’s challenge fall apart with the concession of two tries either side of half time.  The first was the result of a good scrum by Edenderry which saw their winger run an excellent line from behind the scrum.  Athy’s first tackle was missed leaving an open run into the corner.  The try was converted and Athy were now down 9 points at half time.  Athy knocked on the second half kick-off by not calling for the ball properly and unfortunately this was a sign of things to come.  Edenderry won a penalty a few minutes later and quick ball to the wing resulted in another try for the hosts.  The conversion now saw them lead Athy by 19 – 3 at the beginning of the second half.  Things got worse shortly after for Athy when, having managed to launch a promising attack well into the opposition half and establishing an attacking line out close to the Edenderry line, a wild pass saw the ball going behind Athy’s line.  Edenderry’s took advantage of the blunder and hacked the ball up the field with their winger gathering and scoring in the corner, unconverted.

 

Following this score Athy did try to regain some momentum but they put themselves under pressure frequently with basic handling mistakes allowing Edenderry to come back at them again and again.  At the end of the third quarter Athy won possession off an attacking Edenderry scrum but the clearance kick did not make touch.  Edenderry immediately managed excellent quick attacking ball stretching the Athy defence and scoring their fifth try, the conversion of which put them 31 – 3 ahead.  To Athy’s credit they battled on and pulled a try back after quick attacking ball through the backs to Davy Walsh who touched down after 70 minutes to bring the score to 31 – 8.  However a continuation of handling mistakes by Athy and excellent counter rucking and defence by Edenderry in the last ten minutes meant that this was to be the final score.  This Edenderry win was a fair reflection of the match though Athy will know that their error count and lapses in defence contributed to a comprehensive Edenderry victory.

 

Team: Peter King, Alan Harding, Joe Deegan, Wes Whitten, Gavin Doyle, Craig Hussey, Stuart Holland, Nigel Holland, Myles Aspil, Jamie MacStay, Davey Walsh, Paul Waters, Gavin Kelly, Stephen Cooke, Alan Talbot. Subs: Brian Berry, Peter Considine, Les O’Mara, Tommy Mulreid, Aodhan King.

 

Published in Mens Match Reports
Friday, 07 November 2014 09:36

Athy v Clane 05/10/2014

5th October 2014

Leinster League Div. 2B

Athy 27   Clane 0

Hosting their first home league fixture of this season Athy were looking to continue their winning form against Clane who dropped from Division 2A last season.  Although the final score suggested a comprehensive win by Athy they will have come away from this game aware that they missed an opportunity for a valuable bonus point win.

Clane started with purpose bringing the game to Athy from the kick off.  Having suffered a big home defeat against Edenderry last week they were clearly not in the humour to give Athy anything soft.  Despite not managing to control the game Athy did defend resolutely in the first quarter and began to assert themselves as the game opened up.  Some good phase play forced a Clane penalty which was converted by Jamie McStay on 21 minutes.  Clane responded by coming back up the field to force a kickable penalty which they missed.  Athy now began to up the pace of the game winning another penalty on 27 minutes, again converted by Jamie McStay.

Athy pressure was now beginning to be felt by Clane when they lost a player to a yellow card on the half hour mark for persistent ruck infringements.  The resulting penalty brought Athy deep into Clane territory where another penalty gained them an attacking 5m lineout.  An excellent maul from the throw in resulted in Nigel Holland touching down for a try on 35 minutes with the difficult conversion made by Jamie McStay.  Unfortunately Athy did not gain any impetus from this score as it was Clane who finished the half stronger but were not able to penetrate the Athy defence.

The second half started with Athy taking the game to Clane but not really making any inroads.  Clane managed to defend well eventually winning turnover ball and forcing Athy back to their own 22m line.  Clane maintained pressure on Athy winning a number of scrums in promising positions until an excellent clearance kick by replacement full back Vinnie Murray following an Athy turnover brought play back into Clane territory.  A crooked throw by Athy seemed to hand the momentum back to Clane again but Athy were now beginning to assert themselves and an excellent cross field kick by Daren O’Keefe brought play to the Clane 5m line.  A crooked throw by Clane gave Athy the scrum who forced Clane back with an excellent shove.  An offside pick up by Clane’s scrum half gave Athy a penalty try on 61 minutes, again converted by Jamie McStay.

Athy might now have been expected to push on for more scores but despite some good possession and excellent driving mauls they were still not able to close the game out.  Clane managed to keep play in Athy’s half for the first part of the final quarter until Athy again regained the upper hand and forced play back up the field.  Good phase play by Athy saw them win a penalty in the centre of the field which they decided to run.  After sucking in the Clane defence Athy then moved the ball quickly into space resulting in a well taken try by Davy Walsh, converted by Jamie McStay.  Athy were now looking for their bonus point but despite upping the pace of the game they could not get the score.  Frustratingly for Athy the last move of the game saw an almost certain try denied by an unlucky knock on.

Overall this was another valuable league win but one perhaps that Athy might have got more out of if they had been able to play more consistently at the high tempo they achieved for periods in the game.

 

Published in Mens Match Reports
Saturday, 04 October 2014 19:18

Athy v Birr September 2014

Leinster League Div. 2B

Athy Tough It Out In Birr

Birr 6      Athy 19

Athy opened their Leinster League Div 2B account with a very good win in what was a tricky away opener in the 2014-'15 league campaign against Birr.  These two teams were familiar with each other having played twice last season and Athy expected a stern challenge from Birr.  They were not disappointed as a well drilled Birr team started stronger and dictated the game for the first quarter.  Athy did not get out of their own half for the first twenty minutes of the game and were made to work hard in defence to contain Birr.  Although Athy were putting in the tackles the defence lacked aggression during this first quarter which allowed Birr to keep possession and maintain pressure on Athy.  The Birr scrum also had the better of the early exchanges which kept Athy pinned down in defensive mode.  Despite this it took until the 18th minute for Birr to register a score when they converted a penalty for a ruck infringement by Athy.  This penalty also Athy down to 14 men due to a yellow card but it did have the effect of injecting more urgency into Athy's game and they responded with good phase play to bring play to within 10m of Birr's line.  However Birr were able to avert the danger and came back up the field assisted by basic errors by Athy which gave Birr some easy possession.  On 35 minutes Birr converted another penalty from just inside the halfway line, again for a ruck infringement.  Athy did manage to close out the half with improved attacking pressure and forcing Birr on the defensive.

The second half started much better for Athy with players holding on to possession and putting together better phase play.  Birr now began to look more vulnerable and possibly were tiring a little.  Within 5 minutes of the restart some good back play involving Gavin Kelly and Davy Walsh opened up the Birr defence finishing with a well taken try by Jamie McStay which was unconverted.  Athy were more settled now and dealing with any Birr attack more efficiently although on occasion scramble defence was required to prevent a Birr breakthrough.  Within another 5 minutes an excellent high clearance kick by Darren O'Keefe caused confusion amongst Birr defenders which was taken advantage of by Davy Walsh who managed to hack the ball behind them before taking possession to score a great try, converted by Jamie McStay.  With the score now 6 - 12 Birr upped their game again and put pressure on Athy but were not able to breach their defence.  Again Athy's scramble defence was required on occasion but the line held.  Handling errors were still causing problems for Athy and affording Birr cheap possession at times and while the Athy scrum was stronger in this half, including one against the head, Birr still managed to put Athy under pressure at put in.  The last 10 minutes of the game saw Athy in the ascendancy forcing errors from Birr and winning a number of attacking scrums.  In the last play of the game a strong attacking run by Gavin Kelly from the 10m line saw him get behind the Birr defence and with some determined running he touched down for an excellent try, converted by Jamie McStay, to finish the game out with a 13 point win.

 

{gallery}Mens 1st v Birr Sept 2014{/gallery}

Published in Mens Match Reports