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Tuesday, 13 January 2015 10:09

Athy U16 v Portlaoise 10/01/2015

Athy 27 – 12 Portlaoise

Athy U16s overturned a first half 0-12 deficit to overcome a committed Portlaoise team in this Phase 2 Leinster League game. Athy played into a gale in the first half and had restricted Portlaoise to a single try before Portlaoise eventually forced their way over to extend the lead to 12-0 with the last play of the half. However this lead seemed anaemic in the conditions and within two minutes of the restart Athy had their first try when centre Billy Doyle scored after quick ruck ball was worked quickly wide. Soon after Athy scored again, this time No.8 Martin Maloney breaking from a scrum to outrace the defence to make the touchdown. Cormac Moore’s conversion tied the game. A rare excursion into Athy’s 22’ by Portlaoise was repelled and the subsequent clearing kick, chase and follow-up tackles put the Portlaoise fullback in all sorts of trouble. Moloney benefitted with the touchdown for a 17-12 lead. By this stage Athy were dominant and the next score was the result of quick hands from the backs, winger Cian English breaking a number of tackles to dot down in the right corner. The backs created the fifth and final try with early passing giving English the space to beat the last defenders on the outside for a 27-12 victory.

The seeds of this victory were laid in the first half with the pack leading the way. In this Eoin Cooney had no equal, consistently achieving shoulder contact in the tackle and driving attackers into the ground or backwards – then into the ground. In the backs centres David Considine and Billy Doyle were excellent in defence when it was required and showed great awareness in attack. An excellent performance and result from a hard working team hitting its stride.   

        

Published in Youth Match Reports
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 08:37

Athy U16 v Newbridge 06/12/2014

 

6th December 2014

 

Athy 24   Newbridge 0


Athy claimed their fifth league win of the season with a comprehensive 24-0 victory over Newbridge on Saturday. However this was not a facile win and Athy had to work hard for that scoreline against a competitive Newbridge side. In fact it was Newbridge who began strongest and for the opening 15 minutes Athy found themselves defending a series of strong surges. However the defensive line hit hard and every ball carrier was driven back until Athy secured a key turnover and finally cleared their lines. The failure to convert this pressure into a score seemed to drain Newbridge of confidence and fortify the Athy men. Now it was Athy’s turn to attack and immediately they upped the pace and kept a width to their attacks that had the Newbridge defence at breaking point. After a number of quick rucks the ball was moved wide where centre Seamus Lacey forced his way over in the left corner. Cormac Moore hit the huge sideline conversion. Athy kept up the pressure and scored again when Spencer Loughman drove over from a ruck, taking advantage of a stretched defence to score in the right corner. Cormac Moore surpassed his first effort, landing the monster conversion from the right touchline to give Athy a 14-0 halftime lead.

 

Athy continued to press in the second half but a determined Newbridge team held firm and at times forced Athy onto the defence. Midway through the half Athy grabbed their third try when quick ruck ball was moved wide where winger Cian English touched down for a 19-0 lead. There was time for one more score. From a scrum number eight Martin Maloney went up the blindside and found Jack Smith who carried on the move. The flanker made good ground before finding hooker Ronan Black just outside the 22 meter line. There was a lot to do but a crafty sidestep put Black into space and from there he scorched the defence to dive into the corner. Next up is the final league game of phase 1 where Athy travel to Portlaoise hoping to secure a place in the top tier of phase 2.

Published in Youth Match Reports
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 15:35

Athy v Swords 07/12/2014

Leinster League Div 2B


Swords 12           Athy      16


By Mark Bergin


Swords hosted Athy in the second of three Leinster League fixtures to be played between the sides this season.  Athy recorded a good win previously against Swords in the Showgrounds and on paper at least would have been strong favourites for this match.  However, as in the past, Athy found the ALSAA complex at Dublin Airport a difficult venue and were very happy to eventually come away with the winning points.


Swords kicked off and from the beginning showed little respect for the visitors, putting them under pressure and keeping play in Athy’s half.  Swords kept the ball close, hitting the rucks hard and using runners off ruck play to get over the gain line regularly.  Athy’s defence had to work hard to contain the opposition in the first period of the game and it took until the 12 minute mark before Athy forced a good relieving penalty bringing them to the Swords’ 10m line.  Athy won a good lineout ball and brought play towards the Swords 22m line, forcing a penalty.  A quick tap by captain Stuart Holland and subsequent play put Swords on the back foot with the ball finding its way to scrumhalf Myles Aspil at the end of the line who crossed over for a well taken try.  This was converted by Mark Beever putting the score at 0 – 7.


Athy settled now and began to dictate the game, holding most of the possession and testing the Swords’ defence constantly.  They won another penalty on the Swords’ 22m line at 23 minutes, converted by Mark Beever, which pushed them further ahead to 0 – 10.  Five minutes later Swords were penalised for a high tackle, again Beever converted to put Athy 0 – 13 ahead.  Closing out the first half Athy seemed to take their foot off the pedal somewhat, slipping off tackles and not driving Swords back in the rucks.  This allowed Swords back into the game and the half closed out with Athy doing most of the defending.


The second half began with Athy kicking off into the sun which was won after a wonderful chase and catch by prop Joe Deegan.  Athy pushed into the opposition territory and won a penalty for a ruck infringement just inside the Swords’ 22m line but the conversion attempt was wide.  Play in the third quarter was mostly Athy who had the lion’s share of possession in this period.  However, rather than putting the result beyond doubt by scoring from this Athy frequently lost the momentum through slow ball and failing to break down the Swords’ defence.  The visitors would have profited handsomely had they moved the ball wide quickly but an approach that was at times ponderous gave Swords ample time to realign their defensive structure and contain the Athy threat.  Athy’s only profit from this period of dominance was a converted penalty on 56 minutes which put them 0 – 16 ahead.


Having weathered Athy’s efforts Swords began to up their game moving into the final quarter and pushed deep into the Athy half.  On 62 minutes they had pushed right to the Athy line when they were held up for a 5m scrum.  Athy got a great shove on Swords but the hosts held on to possession and kept the pressure on the Athy defence until a gap opened up outside of a ruck allowing them to slip in easily under the posts for a try.  The conversion closed the gap between the sides to 9 at 7 – 16.  Just 5 minutes later Swords won a lineout on the Athy 10m line and from this they made huge yards due to very slack Athy defending, bringing play again to the Athy line.  Athy stopped the attack on the line but Swords moved the ball quickly to the left and crossed over for their second try.  The conversion attempt failed but with the score at 12 – 16 this was now a single score game and, based on the general run of play in the second half, could have gone either way.


Athy did steady the ship in the last 10 minutes of the game but despite securing better possession they struggled to make territory.  The concession of a series of penalties, mainly for ruck infringements, by Swords kept Athy just about on the front foot but they failed to get the necessary score to open up the gap again.  Eventually Athy won a penalty on 40 minutes which they tapped and immediately put into touch to prompt the final whistle the final whistle from the referee.  Athy were relieved to finish the game knowing that they could well have lost.


Athy Team: Joe Deegan, Alan Harding, Brian Berry, John Fraser, Nigel Holland, Clive Kavanagh, Craig Hussey, Stu Holland, Myles Aspil, Alan Talbot, Davey Walsh, Mark Beaver, Gavin Kelly, Jimmy Quinlan, Paul Waters. Subs: Paul Buckley, Brian Meredith, Conor Martin, Steven Cooke, Dave Curtis.

 

Published in Mens Match Reports
Thursday, 04 December 2014 16:36

Athy v Edenderry 30/11/2014

30th November 2014


Leinster League Div 2B


Athy 8   Edenderry 13


By Mark Bergin


The expression often used that ‘defence wins matches’ in rugby certainly applied in this match between Athy and Edenderry at the Showgrounds.  Unfortunately for Athy it was the commitment of Edenderry’s defence and counter attacking movements against the home side’s dominant possession, set piece play and attacking rugby which prevailed in a gripping and intense match that offered full value to spectators right to the final whistle.


These sides have become quite familiar with each other over the last number of seasons and a full on game from both teams was expected in this league encounter.  As was the case a few weeks ago in their first meeting Athy started the game strongly, asking questions of the Edenderry defence from the kick off and securing a kickable penalty within 3 minutes.  The conversion attempt was just short and Edenderry began to come into the game more, asking their own questions of Athy but it was the home side who continued to have most of the play in the first 20 minutes.  Athy’s complete dominance of the scrums and excellent line out mauls were causing the visitors all manner of problems, resulting in a high penalty count against Edenderry in this period.  However, as was the case in their last match, it was Edenderry who opened the scoring somewhat against the run of play at the end of the first quarter when they won a penalty for an Athy line out infringement just outside the home 22 and converted it to lead 0 – 3.


Athy knocked on the following kick off but won a penalty from the resulting scrum which saw them bring play to the Edenderry 5m metre line.  A superb line out maul by Athy looked sure to see them cross the line but the maul was brought down.  From the resulting penalty Athy went for another line out maul, again they looked sure to cross the line but the Edenderry defence held eventually winning a relieving penalty.  Having cleared their lines the visitors pushed back up field winning a penalty and lineout on the Athy 10m line at 30 min.  A good maul from the throw in resulted in quick ball out to the left wing who got by a number of Athy defenders before touching down in the corner.  Once again Athy had conceded a score against the run of general play and now found themselves 0 – 8 down.  Shades of déjà vu from the first fixture between the sides came a few minutes later when Edenderry fielded an Athy kick upfield  and again got the ball to the left wing quickly who again managed to beat 3 Athy defenders before being stopped.  Edenderry were not to be denied and crossed the line from the resulting ruck to lead 0 – 13 at the break.


Play in the second half continued as before the break with Athy dominating possession but finding a stubborn Edenderry defence very difficult to break down.  The home side began to attack space better in this half and the solid visitor defence began to look more vulnerable.  Athy started to get the ball to their pace players more quickly and were rewarded on 45 minutes with an attacking lineout maul halfway inside Edenderry’s 22 which delivered the platform for David Walsh to cross over and reduce the gap to 5 – 13.  Despite changing the point of attack more and testing the Edenderry defence more in this half all too often incomplete passes or knock-on’s killed Athy momentum.  A converted penalty for Athy by Mark Beever on 59 min closed to the gap to 5 at 8 – 13.  Now within one score of the visitors Athy increased the intensity of their attack, winning a number of scrum penalties on the Edenderry 5m line and putting the opposition under serious pressure.  Despite this they still could not cross over and eventually Edenderry got a toe to the ball from an incomplete Athy pass to relieve the pressure.  This proved to be Athy’s best chance to catch the visitors.  Although Athy continued to have the greater share of possession in the final quarter, and dominance of the scrums, they could not add to their tally.  Athy did, however, get to grips with Edenderry’s dangerous counter attacking, closing down their strike players better to prevent a repeat of the first half scores.  Athy’s line defence also held on the occasions that Edenderry managed to bring their attack to close quarters.  The score finished 8 – 13 in a game that Athy will know they could have won had they been able to reduce their handling error count and maintained concentration against the dangerous Edenderry counter attack in the first half.

Published in Mens Match Reports
Thursday, 04 December 2014 16:30

Athy v Clane 23/11/2014

23rd November 2014


Leinster League Div 2B


Clane 8 Athy 6


By Mark Bergin


In previous years Clane has not been a happy hunting ground for Athy and so it proved again in this Leinster League fixture when they failed follow up on their comprehensive win over the same opposition at home a few weeks ago.  This was a poor match littered with errors and characterised by a stop start routine that prevented any decent rhythm of play throughout.


In the early stages of the game Athy seemed the more assured team looking to find gaps in the Clane defence but Clane were clearly determined to disrupt and defend any Athy attack.  Despite this Athy advanced into the Clane half when a knock on at 5 min gave Clane the put in just outside their own 22.  A great push by the Athy pack saw Clane scrambling to secure the ball at the back of teh scrum and strong follow up pressure by Craig Hussey won Athy the penalty.  The straightforward kick was converted by James Quinlan.  Athy failed to capitalise on this first score allowing Clane to take the game deep into Athy’s half and increasingly force errors from Athy.  Athy conceded a penalty on 8 min for a ruck infringement inside their own 22 and this was the start of a sustained period of pressure from Clane attacking the Athy line.  Twice coming to the end of the first quarter Clane were held up over the Athy line but to their credit Athy’s defence was solid and eventually they forced Clane back up field.


Athy were not helped in general by their set piece play in the first half which was at best inconsistent, losing a number of their own line outs and allowing Clane to disrupt their scrum.  Clane also managed to slow down ruck ball regularly much to Athy’s frustration and as a result they were not able to put together any decent phase play which might have allowed them to mount a meaningful attack.  Play in general in the second quarter moved between the two 22’s with neither team really gaining the upper hand until the 33rd min when Athy won a penalty just outside the Clane 22 for illegal entry into the ruck by Clane.  Athy opted to kick for a lineout when perhaps a shot at goal might have been the better option given the inconsistency of set piece play up to this.  Clane managed to defend the lineout successfully and with that went Athy’s last opportunity of the first half to add to their score.


Athy won the kick off at the beginning of the second half but almost immediately were penalised for holding.  Instead of Athy moving on from a mediocre first half display, as might have been expected by the visiting support, Athy started where they finished the first half allowing Clane to dictate the game on the ground and preventing any worthwhile Athy possession.  Indeed it was Clane who began to sense that the game was swinging in their favour and brought play deep into the Athy half.  Having brought play to within 5m of the Athy line Clane won a scrum towards the right of the field.  Despite a good shove from Athy at the put in Clane managed to get the ball away from the scrum and attacked the Athy line left and right until eventually crossing over for a well taken try by their number 7 on 43 min.  The conversion was missed leaving the score at 5 – 3 in Clane’s favour.

Unfortunately the game deteriorated after this with the exchanges becoming somewhat more physical  At 50 min a stamp on an Athy player at the bottom of a ruck and the following exchange between the players resulted in two yellow cards being issued, one each to Clane and Athy.  After this incident ironically the Athy scrum improved and for the first time in the match they appeared to be able to assert some control on the game winning a series of scrums and putting Clane under a lot of pressure at their put in.  On 52 min Clane won their scrum outside of their 22 but excellent pressure from scrum half Clive Kavanagh and flanker Mark Beever won a penalty for holding.  The penalty was converted by James Quinlan and Athy were now back in front by the narrowest of margins, 5 – 6.  Clane upped their game again and won a penalty within range on 54 min which they converted putting them ahead again 8 – 6.


Despite having the greater share of possession in the final quarter Athy created very few opportunities to score with their only real chance being a penalty on 58 min which was just wide of the posts.  Clane were determined to contain them by whatever means necessary and saw two of their players sin binned in the last 10 minutes for persistent ruck infringements.  Athy eventually ran out of time and the score finished 8 – 6 in Clane’s favour.

Published in Mens Match Reports
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