herald

Sunday 22 April 2018

Barn' storm to shield win

Last Friday saw Naas RFC and NUIM Barnhall battle it out for the Leinster Senior Shield title in Donnybrook and Barnhall emerged with the honours thanks to a narrow 13-6 scoreline.

With Naas seen by many as the favourites for the title this year the game started as many would expect with Naas taking the early advantage by going 3-0 up after just a minute of play after a well taken penalty by Naas number 15 David Aherne.

Naas again forced another penalty after they cleared their lines from a great Blue Bull attack and the penalty again converted by David Aherne to make it 6-0 to Naas after 22 minutes. As the first half went on it was a real clash of the titans as neither side wanted to give in and both were hungry for any advantage given by the referee.

Luck began to go in NUIM Barnhall's favour late into the first half as the penalty count started to go the Blue Bulls way and with the sure-footed boot of NUIM Barnhall's Simon Gillespie to make it 6-3 after 30 minutes.

After that the two sides could not break the deadlock and with furious tackling and epic defending the first- half ended 6-3 to Naas. NUIM Barnhall managed to take advantage in the second-half with a well-taken penalty by Simon Gillespie to draw the match at 6-6 after 45 minutes.

The match seemed to step up a gear as it seemed only the slightest mistake would then seal the fate of the other team. Then the straw that broke the Naas back came when another yellow card was given and Naas were down to 13 men.

NUIM Barnhall seized their chance and as they began another counter- attack the ball was released out to winger Rob McGrath, who collected on the half-way line and with lightning speed broke the Naas defence to run in a 50-metre try under the posts.

Simon Gillespie was on hand to slot the conversion to make it 13-6 to the Blue Bulls. Tonight will see UCD RFC and Terenure College go head-to-head as they kick off the Leinster Senior League Cup Final in Donnybrook at 7.30pm.

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