herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tullamore eye Skerries win

USUALLY when penning this article I'd begin with a highlight or maybe a strange occurrence, but this past weekend was packed with the unusual and the problem is where to begin.

How about three different players kicking second-half drop goals in Tullamore's memorable 9-3 All Ireland Junior Cup Final victory over in Monivea in Dubarry Park, Athlone?

Or how about the two referees getting injured simultaneously during the first half of their games on adjacent pitches in Skerries before being adequately replaced, and the fact that one of these matches was the Towns Cup tie of the 2nd round which the hosts won 16-10 against holders Dundalk?

Or three players from the same team in the bin all together, as Tullow were at one stage reduced to 12 players for two minutes as they hung on for dear life in a 22-15 Towns Cup success in Wicklow?

Well let's start with Tullamore's success on the national stage as they became the first club to win the All Ireland Junior Cup on two occasions.

The Offaly side dominated from start to finish but, thanks in the main to gritty Monivea defence, the Leinster League side had to wait until the second half to creep in front and gradually add the points that secured success. They can now concentrate their efforts on their remaining two Division 1A games, the first of which is in Enniscorthy on Sunday, as they attempt to bridge the five-point gap to leaders Skerries. First-quarter tries from wingers Kevin McGrath and Paul Devitt were the foundations on which the Skerries Towns Cup victory was built as they had to sustain long bouts of Dundalk pressure especially after the break.

For their penultimate League game, Skerries travel a little banged up to Coolmine this weekend.

Newbridge appear to be hitting top form again as they ran in five tries after travelling to Forenaughts to dispatch Naas 2nd XV in the Towns Cup, while Enniscorthy were in even less charitable mood in Navan as they beat the AIL club's 2nd XV 55-7, notching seven tries in the process.

Newbridge host bottom side Monkstown in Division 1A action on Sunday while the two clubs immediately above last place do battle in Westmanstown when Garda host Dundalk. Tullow and Cill Dara had tight encounters but progressed in their Towns Cup ties. Kilkenny and Roscrea also advanced.

There is a full programme of Leinster League action on Sunday with Cill Dara having the opportunity to win Division 1B if they prevail in Portlaoise and second-placed Wicklow slip up.

Division 2A leaders Portarlington will be expected to maintain their grip on proceedings when they host Clane while Gorey will win Division 2B if they record a home victory against Athy.

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