Friday 15 December 2017

Ross stay top of pile

Tadhg visits old club

Seán Crowdle ships a strong tackle from the Athy full-back
Seán Crowdle ships a strong tackle from the Athy full-back
The New Ross squad with Irish international and former clubman Tadhg Furlong prior to Sunday’s home victory over Athy

Sunday was the annual sponsors' day at New Ross R.F.C. This is always a good sociable gathering and was made more special this year by the attendance of All Black beater, Tadhg Furlong, who had the weekend off before his anticipated selection for the re-match in the Aviva.

New Ross 28 Athy 11

Tadhg was his usual affable self and posed for numerous photos with both adults and children before watching the Ross firsts host Athy in the Leinster League.

Unseasonably calm and pleasant conditions saw a large crowd of spectators in attendance who were treated to early scoring from New Ross as they screamed into a 10-0 lead within ten minutes following a Paddy Delaney penalty and a cleverly-worked try by Kieran Butler, with the additional points being secured by Delaney again.

After this solid start, the match seemed to want to slip away from Ross with indiscipline at the breakdown costing several penalties, one of which was converted by Athy.

Scrappy handling featured heavily with both sides conceding several knock-ons despite the ideal conditions for running rugby which should have suited the quicker home backs.

Delaney added three more points from the tee on 36 minutes after Athy went off their feet straight in front of the posts and just outside their own '22, but these were reversed some three minutes later when New Ross committed the same offence just outside their '22.

At half-time, the crowd were wondering if it was going to be one of those days when lady luck does not smile but, on resumption, Paddy Delaney slotted a drop goal to keep the scoreboard ticking after good line-out work.

The match then settled back into a long period of play between the '22s, with Athy slowly building the pressure.

Their perseverence was rewarded after 72 minutes when they crashed over for a five-pointer but failed to add the extras.

This seemed to finally spark the underlying sharpness inherent in the Ross back line, with line breaks from Dunbar, Seán Crowdle and Delaney igniting the quicker ball needed to capitalise on their superior fitness.

On 76 minutes, Matt Crowdle racked up his latest contribution with a trip to the in-goal area after a more trademark rapid recycling from the pack and the swift hands we have become accustomed to this season.

Kieran Butler then added another try three minutes later when speed of hands across the back line was again in great evidence. This time Kevin Burke brought the match to a conclusion with the successful conversion leaving the final score 28-11 to Ross and cementing the table-topping position.

Earlier in the weekend, the New Ross Under-15 girls had been successful in their Leinster League fixture versus Enniscorthy.

That victory also leaves them as table-toppers after just two outings, while the Under-18 girls lost out by one try to the same opposition.

Wexford People

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