Apr 102018
 

The final home game of the season saw our senior’s win out in a tough hard-fought match against a well drilled Omagh side.  Going into the game Omagh were sitting in 3rd place looking at a promotion play off, a win in Towns Park would have brought them that bit closer.  We were in 5th, 8 points behind that play off place, looking for as many points as we could, hopping for other results to go our way this week and next.  After this round 17 win we are in a stronger position going into next week, needing a win away to Seapoint and either Malahide or Omagh to lose without getting a bonus point next week.

The game started at a lightning pace, both sides looking to get the upper hand early on.  Big hits were coming in from all angles as the hard carries looked to break the defensive lines. Neither side managed to get the upper hand for most of the first half, with the opening score coming after 35 minutes.

In the lead up to the try Midleton looked the more threatening of the two teams with the backs making huge ground out wide, however the errors were mounting as the ball was continuously lost in contact just a few phases from the try line.  Louie Farnham again showing his deadly pace he terrorized the outside defenders, as did Rian Hogan using his size and pace to get through the gaps.

The defensive effort from the home side was massive especially from openside flanker Aidan Ware who lead the tackle count with some huge hits, showing incredible strength and determination refusing to take a backward step all day.

Following a period of sustained pressure from Midleton were awarded a penalty in front of Omagh’s posts, Rob Smyth got his hands on the ball and took a quick penalty. He offloaded from the tackle to Stuart Lee who fed Jon with the ball.  Jon crashed over from 5 out carrying three defenders with him.  Lee added the conversion making it 7-0 for the half.

The second half went much the same as the first with both teams battling it out for the upper hand.  The hits and the carries were mounting up and the pressure was telling on both sides as a number of players had to go off injured.  The substitutes made the difference for the home side as Rob Smyth manoeuvred his time into a kicking position.  Lee added two penalties to his tally bringing the Midleton total to 13 points for the day.

Omagh were not finished however, as they battled hard, finding the space out wide to go over from a long-distance effort.  The extras were added making it 13-7.

With only 13 minutes to go Denis Broderick found himself sitting on the side line for ten minutes for repeated infringements giving Omagh the chance to turn on the big guns and constantly attack the Midleton defence.  However, their own inaccuracies killed their momentum as they missed two lineouts in a row, giving Midleton an easy out.

The game finished at 13-7, a fantastic win for the home side in a tough and abrasive match making it three in a row.  The turnaround since the low point after Christmas has been incredible, 25 points from 6 games.  Our final game is on Saturday, 14th of April, away to Seapoint.  Thank you to everyone who has supported the team in Towns Park and around the country this year.  Lastly, we would like to thank everyone who helped out last weekend for the youth’s festival which took place in Towns Park.  It was an incredibly busy day with teams coming from all over, including from Doha in Qatar.  All the volunteers who pitched in, from organising the car park to the burgers and picking up glasses, thank you for it would not have been possible without you.

 

 

 

Apr 042018
 

Saturday the 31st of March saw the re-scheduled fixture against Bective Rangers at home.  This game was meant to take place on the 3rd of the Month however the elements intervened and the snow won the day.  Going into the game Bective were sitting in bottom with Midleton in 7th yet a mere 8 points separated the sides.  Midleton were on the wrong side of a good beating in Donnybrook back in September and were looking for retribution against a side fighting to protect their 100 year heritage as a senior club.

The game started poorly for the visitors with the kick off going straight to touch and then conceding a penalty from the resulting scrum, no better way to take the wind out of the sails and to kill any momentum they tried to carry through from the warm up.  The Midleton pack that dominated a poor Bangor pack in the loose a week previous were given no quarter in this game as the line speed and ferocity of the tackles from the visitors ensured the hard yards were that bit harder to eek out.

Neither team managed to get the upper hand throughout the first half, as both sides battled hard.  A number of times either team could have taken a significant lead only t0 be repelled.  Stuart Lee and his opposite number, Gearoid O’Grady, traded two penalties each to go in level at the break.  While there was no winner on the score board it can be said that Bective may have had the upper hand.  Despite having more possession and territory the home side could not cross the line for the all important five pointer instead giving away penalty after penalty.

Lee kicked off the second half, the ball being knocked back into home side hands, giving Midleton the opportunity to attack early on and get that  coveted first score of the half, which came just 5 minutes later.

A period of sustained pressure from Rob Smyths men, the big ball carriers being used well by Lee which he combined nicely with the speedsters out wide, led to a lapse in defensive concentration.  Michael “Yorkie” Cronin found a soft shoulder on the edge of a ruck and crashed over from ten yards out for his seventh try of the season.  Lee stepped up to add the extras making it 13-6 with 45 minutes gone.

From the restart the visitors got on the ball and began their own purple patch where they manged to hold onto the ball for nearly 20 phases.  This period was a real test for the Midleton defense, especially considering the lack of discipline in the first half, as Bective were well within penalty range for the majority of it.  However, a lone ball carrier found himself under pressure from Dan Murray who won a penalty for the home side, giving them the chance to relieve the pressure.

 

10 minutes later a turnover came when a spilled ball by the visitors in the middle of the park was pounced on by the home side.  Three strong carries and offloads from Aidan McCarthy, Yorkie and Charlie Murphy saw Midleton progress into the opposition 22 where another penalty was awarded.  Lee slotted it making the score 16-6 with 25 minutes remaining.

Rob Smyth launched a high box kick from the restart which was knocked back by a Bective hand for Rian Hogan to hack forward, he showed his pace to beat all others too the ball over the line and get Midletons second try of the game.  Stuart Lee stepped up to add the extras again, 23 – 6.

Only 3 minutes later Bective struck back with a try of their own.  Some weak tackling from Midleton combined with good offloading from Bective saw them go over the line following a short number of phases.  60 minutes gone and the score line read 23 – 13 in favor of the home side.

Another foray into the visitors 22 saw yet another penalty, with a man in the bin for an earlier infringement against Rian Hogan, the defensive effort was beginning to tell.   Lee added another 3 points to is tally making the scores 26 – 13 with 15 left.

 

Bective got their hands on the ball in the Midleton half yet some strong tackling and impressive line speed soon pushed the visitors back to their own 10 metre line.  They say it is always a testament to the defensive effort when the attacking side are forced to kick the ball away which they did.  Landing in Rian Hogan’s hands, he showed strength, speed and guile to get away from the on rushing defense to break away down the pitch with 50 metres to go.  However, the covering tackler made it and forced the pass into the hands of Stuart Lee who somehow managed to find that extra yard of speed to collapse over the line breathless.   He was so tired from his efforts  that he skewed his kick wide from an easily kickable angle, the score now stood at 31-13 with seven minutes left.

Now seeking the bonus point the home side really turned on the pressure in both attack and defence, doing everything in their power to get over the line one more time.  With the pressure mounting on a relegation battling Bective the heat got too much and they turned over the ball in their own half.  Buoyed by this turn of luck the Midleton men ran hard at the spaces between the green and white jerseys to create gaps out wide.  Just as it looked like we were going to exploit these Lee turned up with ball in hand to step inside the rushing defense and go over the line for his second of the day and that all important fourth try.  He added the extras making the final score 38 – 13 to Midleton, bringing Lees total for the day to 28 points, a serious effort by anyone’s standards.

This bonus point win moves us up into 5th with two games to go.  However, the nature of the league this year means that we are not safe from relegation but it also means we are in contention for a promotion play off place!

Our next match is this coming Saturday, the 7th of April, against Omagh who are coming down to us in third place with a view to go first.  It is going to be a huge game as both teams will really be pushing for that big win, especially considering the last minute draw in the  North in September.

 

 

 

Feb 062018
 

Midleton Senior XV took on Sligo RFC at home in Towns Park on Saturday the 3rd of February in front of the largest home crowd seen in a long time.  The weather was good with plenty of sun, yet the ground was still soft under foot from weeks of rain.  All credit to Graham Eady and his ground staff for making sure the pitch was in top condition for the game.

Tom Mul’s men went into this game only a point from the bottom of the table following a big bonus point win on the road against Tulamore but still needing a big performance to best second place Sligo.  With nearly a clean bill of health, with the exception of one or two niggles, Midleton began the game abysmally, letting Sligo score off the kick off.  A mere three phases saw them go in the corner to take an early lead, 7 nil up.

Rob Smyth gathered his men under the posts and very little was said, everyone knew their job and where it had gone wrong, there was no talking needed to go out and fix it, just action.

Minutes later a solid covering tackle from veteran prop, Kevin Brierley, saw Sligo full back knock the ball on just short of the Midleton 10 metre line.   Smyth flashed the ball out to the attacking line who went on the charge, phase after phase making their way deep into the visitors 22.   A solid scrum gave Stuart Lee a good platform to open up the defence and set fliers Louis Farnham and Rian Hogan loose, attacking the space and making the important yards.  However, Sligo’s defence stood strong and forced a kick in behind which was cleared.  Off the ensuing lineout  came a penalty from a no arm tackle in the middle of the pitch between Sligo’s 10 and 22.   Lee stepped up to aopen his scoring, 3-7.

Another penalty kick from Lee followed shortly after during a time of intense pressure close to the opposition line.  Even though Midleton seemed well on top, cool heads prevailed and the decision to keep the scoreboard ticking over was made,  6-7.

From the restart Sligo went on the charge and made their way up to Midleton’s 22 when a cross field kick was gathered by the home side defender who was bundled into touch.  Strong and eager defence from Midleton pushed the play back to their own 10 however, it might have been a touch of over eagerness as a penalty came from ruck time which was converted, 6-10.

A period of kick tennis ensued with the result being a penalty for Sligo coming from a lineout just inside the Home team’s 22.  The points were added making the score 6-13.  Despite being down by 7, however, Rob Smyth and his men never let the heads drop and continued to play to the game plan that had worked so well against Tullamore the previous week.

With a man in the bin for a no arm challenge on the opposition 10, Midleton upped the effort and won a penalty from a ruck just inside Sligo’s 22 which was kicked to within 7 of the try line.  The maul got fierce momentum giving Michael “Yorkie” Cronin the chance to crash over the line for the first of the Home sides 4 tries.  Lee neatly added the extras from way out by the touch line, 11-13 going into the break.

The second half started for Midleton just like the first, finding themselves underneath the post wondering how Sligo had scored so easily.  Again cool heads saved the day as everyone kept their nerve and got on with the job at hand, this was to be the last of Sligo’s scores of the day,  11-18.

The restart resulted in some to-ing and fro-ing however, after a number of phases the home side found themselves with a put into the scrum on the opposition 10 metre line.  The backs interlinked beautifully and Rian Hogan found himself in a 1-on-1, he was taken down high around the neck with the open field at his mercy, Sligo man sent to the bin for 10 minutes.  After two previous successful mauls, one resulting in a try, the decision was made to go to the corner.  However, the throw failed to find its man and Sligo were relieved of some pressure, but not for long.

Midleton again found themselves with ball in hand inside Sligo’s half, and moving it wonderfully from side to side they made their way closer and closer to the try line.  A half break from outhalf Lee created the space out wide for Rory Horgan to crash over in the corner.  Lee added the extras, 18-18.

Yet again the home side made their way into the Sligo 22, turning over the ball, however, 10 from the try line.  The clearance kick was botched and the home side had a line out 15 yards out.  Three phases later and they were over the line again, Yorkie getting his second of the day. Lee added the 2 points, 25-18.

Five minutes later Lee was again to add to his tally of the day with a long range penalty effort, 28-18.

With 12 to go a fantastic covering tackle from Dan Murray saw the ball spill straight into the hands of Rian Hogan on the half way line.  Rian turned on the afterburners and sped away to score the bonus point try under the posts (see top image).  Lee made his haul for the day total out at 15 points, a fine display with the boot and a 35-18 win.

This puts the Seniors in 7th with 5 games to go.  However, the table is extremely tight with Malahide now going top as both Sligo and Thomond let it slip.  only 5 points separate us from last place Tulamore and 6 points from the play offs.

Our  next match is away to Thomond on the 17th of February, we hope as many can make the trip as possible.

We have an event on Friday the 9th of Feb in the club house for the kick off of the Midleton Lip Sync where the Rugby Club taken on the GAA in the battle of the century.

 

 

Nov 142017
 

Midleton Senior XV took on Malahide on November 11th in Towns Park in their final game in this run of three, having lost previously to Thomond and Sligo in the last moments of the game.  This was a must win for Tom Mulcahy’s men, who were sitting in 9th place in the table going into the match.  If the two previous losses, to second and first placed respectively, were anything to go by, this Midleton team has a lot of potential and fire power.

Malahide are new-comers to division 2C, having come up from the Junior ranks the year previously, despite this they have been playing well, going into the match with three wins and three losses, picking up a number of try bonus points on the way.  This may have been the cause of the slow start from Midleton, were they wary of the firepower Malahide clearly possessed?  That said, the first points of the game came from the ever improving Stuart Lee, who added 16 points in total for the day.

However, Malahide found themselves comfortably on top after 25 minutes, leading 3-17.  Their two tries coming from a strong running combination involving backs and forwards.  A Malahide scrum on Midleton’s 5 meter line put them in the driving seat and following a few pick and gos they went over the whitewash to add their first five pointer of the day.  With conditions good, but still wet and heavy underfoot from the previous days rain, there was a strong kicking element to the game form both sides, where on a number of occasions a series of kick tennis ensued.  One wayward kick from the home sides 22 found its way into the hands of the Malahide full back, John O’Brien took advantage of the slow kick chase to sythe his way through the defense from 40 metres out.  He offloaded to his support runner who made a long floating pass into the hands of the waiting winger who went over for a second five pointer of the day.  All of this was in the first 25 minutes, with the home side failing to make a foot hold in the oppositions 22. 

It was at this point that Tom Mul saw he had to make a few changes, and brought on a few of the more experienced players to offer a lift to the team.  The results were instantaneous as Stuart Lee found time to take another penalty kick.  The Midleton pack seemed rejuvenated having discovered a new burst of energy and started to assert their dominance at set piece time.  Malahide ceased to challenge in the air, in order to attempt to stem the surge of the maul, Midleton began finding holes and weaknesses.  Good carries again drawing in the defence ensured that the outside backs would have some room to maneuver, and that is just what they did.  Kieran Moynihan received a wide pass from Lee on the opposition ten meter line and pinned the ears back, dodging and weaving his way over the line, a number of defenders left red faced in his wake.  Lee failed to make the conversion, going into the half time break with the scores at 8-17, Malahide were not to score for the remainder of the game.

The second half started at lightning pace, with Malahide failing to deal with the kick off, Midleton found themselves on the front foot.  Following some good running from Kevin Brierly and Aidan Ware, Stuart Lee was confronted with a hard up defence, a deft kick over the top left the Malahide back three scrambling, but too late as Lee got to the ball first and dotted down, before converting his own try, 15-17.

Tom Mul used his bench wisely throughout the game, resting players at vital times to bring them back with minutes to go.  This ensured that Midleton were able to close out a game, something they had failed to do in the previous two outings.  The game seemed to be won by Malahide having been 3-17 up but as Midleton have proved already this season, they are willing to fight until the end.  Having pulled back to 15-17 with 10 minutes to go cool heads prevailed.  Patience was the theme of the day as Rob Smyth marshalled his troops for another excursion into the Malahide half, were they conceded a penalty for going off their feet on their own 10 metre line.  Some on the sideline were calling for a kick to the corner, which based on the set piece dominance would have been a logical choice, however, Smyth made the call to go for the posts, which Lee easily kicked to put the home side one point up.

Patience again prevailed as Michael “Yorkie” Cronin led fro the front to put the home side again into kicking range of the posts.  Another penalty, this one for offside.  The final five minutes held echoes of the previous week were Lee missed a kick at goal at the death to win the game.  Having found his confidence again, Lee stepped up to split the posts, 21-17 to Midleton, three minutes to go.

It was now that the previous two games showed their worth to Midleton, having lost at the death twice in a row, they were not going to let it happen again.  The experience earned on those occasions ensured yet again that patience was the theme of the day, the referee informed Smyth that it was all over, and Stuart Lee blasted the ball too touch.  21 – 17 to Midleton.

 

 

Oct 032017
 

Midleton Senior 1st IX played against a travelling Bangor side on Saturday the 30th of September in Towns Park.  Final score read 8 – 15 to the visitors in  what was a tough game for the home side.  Telling signs from early on in the game through the set piece, which Bangor had full control of.

Buoyed by a late converted try to secure a bonus point draw last weekend away to Omagh, the Midleton men started on top with some good running rugby and soft hands from the pack, finding the soft shoulder and winning collisions for the first 10 minutes.  This early pressure led to a well taken try from Rian Hogan who dotted down in the corner, Rob Smyth claiming the assist.  This seemed to wake up the travelling side who then started to mount the come back.

With both sides playing a similar brand of attacking rugby it was difficult to see where the defensive walls would be broken.  Time and time again the respective forward packs would lock horns around the ruck and the 9/10 channel, none able to claim dominance.  It was at scrum time that a well versed Bangor pack showed the damage that they could do, with the Midleton men having to scramble to claim their own ball.  The conditions had calmed from the earlier warning of heavy rain and it was dry for the most part, however, there seemed a layer of damp on the ball at all times as the knock-ons  were consistent throughout, to the dismay of the home side.  The effort at scrum time began to tell as the visiting team found a few gaps.  Scrum half, Lewis Bret, burst through the defense to find himself one on one between the fullback and the try line.  Some foot work and power put him over the white wash by a matter of centimeters.  The visitors converted to make the score 5-7.  Respective outhalfs traded penalties to send the sides 8-10 going into the break. That was to be Midletons last score in the game.

The second half story line went much the same as the first, with Bangor unable to convert there dominance in the scrum.  A number of key substitutions made by Tom Mul before and at the break may have contributed to this, with the introduction of three new faces into the tight 5.  This gave Yorkie Cronin some extra time at the back of the scrum to  retrieve the ball, ensuring more of a contest on our own set piece.

The travelers added a further 5 points following some miss communication in the outside backs which led to a lineout on the Midleton 5 metre  line.  Bangor knocked on the door for multiple phases before fining a weakness.  The home side were not getting around the corner of the ruck quick enough, giving some of the big men a chance to run at the backs from close range.  The ensuing conversion hit the crossbar, the home side leaving out a sigh of relief.

The final stages of the game were touch and go as Bangor pushed for more points and Midleton desperately held on for the losing bonus point.  The final phase of the game came in the shape of a scrum, just outside the Midelton 22 slightly left of the posts, what would be a perfect kicking position should there be a penalty.  The call came in from the Bangor management to try and eek a penalty out of the past scrum, however, the visitors were too eager.  They got the ball back to the number 8s feet and were abut to begin their surge forward when a slip happened.  With the ball at the back of the scrum referee, Tim Townend, ordered Bret to use it.  Mercifully it was kicked to touch to end the game at 8-15, both sides managing to go away with points.

The next game is against Bective Rangers, in Donnybrook on Saturday 7th October.  This will be the last game in a block of four before a deserved two weekend break from AIL.  The next home game is against Munster rivals Thomond on the 28th of October.