Sunday 20 October 2019

Ross remain in first place

Sunday brought Birr to Allianz Park for the latest instalment of the Leinster League, with the Ross XV anxious to atone for the perceived dropped points away to Balbriggan the previous weekend.

New Ross 37 Birr 7

This nervousness showed in the early exchanges when, after an early penalty success from Delaney, Ross coughed up repeated penalties for infringements at the breakdown and granted Birr a number of chances which were missed by their kicker even though the wind conditions were favourable to him.

This inaccuracy from the placed ball was certainly a let-off for Ross as Birr had the better of the early first-half exchanges but could not make it count on the scoreboard.

As the half progressed, earlier Ross indiscipline improved and solid tackling from Philips and Ryan forced several turnovers, with Ross looking to spread the ball wide at every available opportunity.

Good breakdown work followed by the ball travelling the width of the pitch three times led to the opening try wide on the left by loose head Browne on the stroke of half-time. Delaney just missed the conversion attempt to the left, leaving the interval score at 8-0.

The second-half resumed with the home side using the boot to successfully turn the pressure on the Birr backs who eventually capitulated when Tierney dived over in the right corner on 48 minutes to continue the rich vein of form he has demonstrated in his rookie season.

Delaney added the extras, with the wind conditions becoming increasingly tricky.

Barely two minutes later, Ross coughed up a soft score with a series of missed tackles allowing the Birr centre partnership to open their scoreline. The extras were added from just right of the posts.

Revenge was swift in coming, with Ryan setting off on yet another of his trademark runs, being brought down on the Birr five-metre line. The ball was re-cycled by Shane Roche and Steve Roche before Philips dived over from a metre out.

On 57 minutes, the Ross backs' willingness to spread the ball fast and a simple skip pass prised open the Birr defence once more as Matt Crowdle cantered in in the right corner to secure the four-try bonus point.

At this point, the expectation was that Ross would double down and so it proved as intense pressure and defence high up the pitch yielded tries for the brothers, Joe and Tim Coughlan.

The final whistle sounded when the scoreline of 37-7 was reached, with this result ensuring that the Barrowsiders maintain their leading position in the division.

Man of the match was awarded to James 'Tank' Ryan for putting in a huge shift, culminating in several effective carries and destructive interference at the breakdown.

Honourable mentions also go to Paddy Delaney whose line breaks in the second-half kept Birr under the cosh, and Foley Philips whose tackling has been likened to a mowing bar in a field of hay.

The New Ross second XV took to the road on Saturday in the J2/J3 league with a trip to Kilkenny.

The Wexfordians came away from this as narrow winners of a tight encounter with the final scoreline at 26-23.

The highlight of the match from a New Ross standpoint was a rather unusual try from a crossfield kick when a Kilkenny winger saw his attempt to create an overlap on the other side returned for the

touchdown by Des Cleary after he completed an acrobatic Gaelic football-type aerial interception between their outside centre and left wing that Tommy Bowe would have been proud to call his own.

The Dunbrody Warriors travelled to Donnybrook Stadium on Saturday to play an exhibition match during half-time of Leinster 'A' versus Nottingham.

Team: Diarmuid Byrne, Dumitra Keogh, Michael King, Christine Byrne, Colin Egan, Damien Phelan, Philip Jordan, Larry Kehoe, Thomas Murray, Aidan Rossiter, Michael O'Neill. Coaches: Laura Doyle and Nick Murphy.

Wexford People