20 Feb 2017
Leinster U17 Cup
Tullamore-Birr 36 Boyne 20
Rampant Tullamore shock Boyne
Tullamore-Birr U17’s caused the upset of the round as they toppled U17 premier division side Boyne in a breath-taking display of attacking rugby. The early stages suggested a tough old day at the office for the Tullamore youngsters, but these lads are made of tough stuff and showed huge resilience in the first 20 minutes to keep their line intact. Brian Keogh, Jordan McEvoy and Diarmuid Egan in particular put in some huge bone crunchers to repel the Boyne waves.
Having weathered the early Boyne onslaught, Tullamore went on the offensive. Egan, Keogh, O’Meara and McGuinness had strong carries and after some brilliant work by Sean Flynn who dabbled through a dainty grubber, the hard running Cathal Farrell was able to follow up and touch down for the first score of the game. Stephen Fitzgearld hammered over the conversion and Tullamore lead by 7 – 0. Tullamore had further opportunities to extend the lead, particularly after one lovely Adam ‘Ducksie’ Flanagan break, but they couldn’t capitalize on the good field position.
McGuinness was rummaging and disrupting to good effect at the breakdown and the industrious Ducksie was a thorn in the Boyne lineouts side. However a couple of slipped tackles, fumbled passes and sloppy lineouts, and all of a sudden Boyne had posted a try and a penalty to take a one point lead into the halftime break despite Tullamore being the better team for large parts of the first half.
Cattleman Pat Flynn and Eamonn O’Meara said the right things at the break and Tullamore came flying out of the 2nd half traps. Big rumbles by Jamie Fallon, Gabriel Conroy and Jordan McEvoy put Boyne on the back foot and after Cian Cronly had a nice snipe, Tullamore eventually eked out a penalty and the ever reliable Fitzy chipped over 3 pointer to put Tullamore back in front at 10 – 8.
Boyne were rattled and Tullamore soon pressed home their advantage. Tommy Ryan had come on at half time and immediately made an impact. A good run by Tom gained ground and then O’Meara had a snipe and suddenly Farrell was bursting through for his 2nd try of the match. Fitzy again nailed the conversion and Tullamore were pulling clear at 17- 8.
Sean Flynn moved back into the back row after a successful 35 minutes in the 15 jersey and added more steel to the Tullamore pack, himself and McGuinness were like terriers in a fox hole when they went foraging at the breakdown and gave the Boyne no 9 a torrid time at the ruck.
Brain Keogh was in unstoppable form at this stage and revelled in the space afforded to him in the centre position. Another rampaging break saw him drive over for his first try of the day. This put Tullamore 24 – 8 up after Fitzy again nailed the conversion. Boyne did pull a try back and threatened to stage a fightback but two more well worked tries through Egan and Keogh put the result to bed and sets Tullamore up for a midlands derby in the 2nd round against the old enemy Mullingar.
Tullamore had big performances all over the park. Big 2nd rows Gabriel Conroy and Jordan McEvoy heaved like two oxen and gave their props great scrum support. McEvoy in particular had a super game, and is making serious progress having only recently started to play rugby. Fitzy kicked like a mule, Shane O’Callaghan and Jamie Fallon carried a huge amount of ball, while McGuinness and Flanagan were workaholics off the back of the scrum. Matty Molloy might be small in stature, but he tackled superbly and made a few super runs. Conor O’Meara was classy as ever at scrumhalf while Farrell, Egan, Flynn and Kevin Kelleher were all in tremendous form but the star of the show was Brian Keogh who was simply unstoppable with ball in hand and was the man of the match.
Army man Odran McIntyre is home on leave at present and this bunch of lads have benefitted from his training sessions this past week. Well done to Pat and Eamon on a job well done. Training continues this Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm and newcomers are always welcome.
Squad; Jamie Fallon, Cian Cronly, Shane O’ Callaghan, Gabriel Conroy, Jordan McEvoy, Steven Fitzgerald, Afam Flanagan, Conor McGuinness, Conor O’Meara, Cathal Farrell, Matt Molloy, Diarmuid Egan, Brian Keogh, Kevin Kellegher, Sean Flynn: Jamie Doolin, Jamie Delaney, Tommy Ryan, Declan Cooke, Caoimghin Buckley