08 Apr 2015
U 15 Premier League Semi Final V Mullingar 2015
Tullamore 13 Mullingar 10
Tullamore produced a trademark gritty winning performance against near neighbours Mullingar in the league semi-final on Wednesday night in Spollanstown. Mullingar were the fancied side having gone unbeaten all year. Tullamore started the brighter and had Mullingar on the backfoot. Mullingar were penalised after two minutes for being offside. However, the resultant kick was just short of the mark. Tullamore turned the screw on their opponents and pinned them inside their own 22. Mullingar were awarded a scrum for a knock on in the 10th minute. Adam Stone stole the Mullingar put in, Brian Keogh gathered the ball for Tullamore and the result was inevitable with Tullamore’s first 5 points. The conversion was just wide of the uprights from a difficult angle.
Mullingar have not gone unbeaten all year for no reason and they duly responded to their early setback. Tullamore conceded a 30 metre penalty after 15 minutes and Mullingar duly obliged by slotting over for 3 points. The game ebbed and flowed but Tullamore were holding their own in the scrums and lineouts and were putting in successive big tackles to halt each Mullingar attack with Brian Flynn, Sean Flynn and Jamie Fallon to the fore. Alex Halpin, Cathal Farrell and Thomas Ryan were working very hard in the back line in defense and on the counter attacks. Tullamore increased the pressure and it told in the 26th minute when Mullingar conceded a penalty for being offside. Diarmuid Egan slotted the resultant penalty between the uprights to give Tullamore an 8-3 lead at half time.
If Tullamore started the first half well, Mullingar replied in similar fashion in the second half. A few handling errors crept in to the home side’s play and after persistent waves of attack in the Tullamore half, Mullingar crossed in the corner for a well deserved try. A successful conversion followed and Tullamore found themselves down 10-8.
Most teams would surrender but this Tullamore side up their game when their backs are to the wall. Shane O’Callaghan, Cormac Izuchukwu, Cathal Farrell and Eoin Deegan began to shine and had a big impact on the game. Diarmuid Egan’s kicking and over all play has grown from strength to strength and he delivered in the final twenty minutes with accurately placed balls. Sean Flynn was magnificent on the Mullingar lineouts and he intercepted time and time again. Connor McGuinness and Stephen Fitzgerald made storming runs at the Mullingar defence and set up the platform for the decisive score in the 18th minute of the second half. Cormac Izuchukwu was having a terrific second half and ran at the Mullingar defense, drew two players, passed to Cathal Farrell. Cathal passed the ball to Alex Halpin and he sprinted for the line, crashing past the last despairing tackle of a Mullingar player, touching down in the corner for a try. It was a crucial score. Mullingar never gave up and Tullamore had to withstand the last 10 minutes of the game pinned in their own half of the field. Mullingar threw everything they had but could not breach the Tullamore rearguard. Kealan Hand, Adam Stone, Brian Keogh, Adam Flanagan, Thomas Ryan and Sean Flynn put in Trojan work and made some great last ditch tackles to keep Mullingar out. With seconds remaining, Mullingar had procession 5 metres from the Tullamore line. But the ball was turned over and the referee blew the final whistle and a jubilant Tullamore team celebrated a well deserved victory.
Congratulations to all the players and replacements on a great squad performance and in particular Alex Halpin, Brian Keogh, Diarmuid Egan, Cormac Izuchukwu.
Thanks also to the parents who brought in food for our visitors.
Tullamore: Shane O’Callaghan, Adam Stone, Jamie Fallon, Steven Fitzgerald, Kealan Hand, Cormac Izuchukwu, Sean Flynn, Brian Keogh, Eoin Deegan, Diarmuid Egan, Adam Flanagan, Conor McGuinness, Cathal Farrell, Alex Halpin, Thomas Ryan. Subs: Jamie Doolin, Cian Cronly, Kevin Kellegher, Paddy Claffey.
Coaches : Kieran Egan and James Doolin