Hosts Ross lose to Carlow
New Ross 13 Carlow 29
Carlow travelled to Southknock on Sunday as Division 2A leaders and hoping to retain and extend their lead.
However, it was third-placed New Ross who had the better of the early exchanges, steadily controlling play before a scintillating exhibition of skill involved Gavin Mernagh picking up from the tail of a line-out and David Crowdle then cutting back inside to register the opening points after ten minutes.
Three minutes later, Carlow broke away following poor first up missed tackling and scored their opener in the left corner, with the additional points being added by their young full-back.
Ross were back in front again after 20 minutes when another piece of sublime handling saw David Crowdle put brother, Matt, through for a five-pointer.
Throughout the remainder of the first-half, Ross performed well at scrum and breakdown but were a little less efficient when it came to putting the opposition to ground early.
Carlow were taking advantage of the errors to make large advances without actually making it count on the scoreboard.
The second-half opener was a penalty conversion from the tee by Gavin Mernagh on the 45th minute, and ten minutes later Carlow were successful with one of their own.
The second Carlow try followed swiftly after when the missed tackle count finally cost Ross dearly.
The game pulsed from end to end until, with 71 minutes on the clock, Carlow registered their third try and moved two scores clear at a critical juncture.
Ross never gave up and launched attack after attack but were unable to find the breakthrough needed before Carlow secured the bonus point try in injury time to leave the final score 29-13 - a margin not accurately reflecting the closeness of the encounter.
A notable point about this match was the presence of four sets of brothers on the Ross team.
Contenders for man of the match included Gavin Mernagh, Kevin Browne, James Ryan and Kyle Roche, but the award goes to the captain, David Crowdle.
New Ross: James Bryan, Shane Roche, Kevin Browne, Bryan Harte, Kyle Roche, Tim Coughlan, Joe Coughlan, James Ryan, Gavin Mernagh, Kevin Burke, Eanna Burke, David Crowdle (capt.), Matt Crowdle, Paudie Barden, Barry Walsh, Bob Dempsey, Breen Howlin, Kieran Treacy, Gary Murphy, Dean Prendergast.