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.

 

 

 

Mar 272018
 

The Senior Firsts went on the long bus journey North to Bangor full of anticipation looking down the barrel of four AIL matches on the trot.  The need and want to get off to a good start was realised during the long trip as the lads settle down to mentally prepare for the battle they were about to face.  Midleton were on the receiving end of a beating from Bangor six months previous in Towns Park.  However, since then both sides have seen a number of changes in personnel, leading to a much different result in Upritchard Park.

The match was framed by glorious blue skies and a luscious green playing surface, ideal conditions for attacking rugby even with enough grip under foot to make the scrums a real contest.

The game started on a positive note for Midleton with Michael “Yorkie” Cronin and Jon Gardiner setting the tone earlier on; Yorkie with a storming carry straight into the bewildered defenders while Jon made his considerable presence felt by the Bangor outhalf.

The game was lively from the start, with both sides looking to move the ball and hit the wide channels, with both defences holding strong.  A Midleton penalty put them into the home 22 yet Bangor were awarded a penalty from the maul, which then failed to find touch.  following a number of phases Rob Smyths men found themselves with a scrum just inside the Bangor half.  Yorkie had a strong carry off the back, giving Stuart Lee the chance to get his back line firing.

A number of phases and attacking plays later, the ball all Midleton’s, there was yet to be a score on the board.  Bangor found themselves with a lineout just on their 22 metre line, however, a failure from Bangor to capitalise gifted Midleton a release

10 minutes in and another try opportunity to go ahead went squandered after a burstiing run from Rory Horgan who straightened up to go through the middle of the defence line only to be taken down 5 metres short.  The ball was flashed wide only to be miss handled and landing in touch.  The clearing kick from this lineouot landed neatly in Louie Farnhams waiting arms just outside the Bangor 22.  He moved the ball quickly to Lee who fed Martijn with a fantastic pass.  Martijn drew the defenders towards the touch line before popping the ball to an oncoming Dan Murray.  Dan had the pace and guile to make his way over the line in the corner.  Lee missed the conversion  0-5 only 10 minutes played.

Bangor made a strong run into Midleton half only to be turnover following some strong defence, and found themselves back on their own line.  Strong runs from Martijn and Dave O’Sullivan adding considerable pressure to the home side.  A penalty ensued which Lee slotted making it 0-8.

The next score of the game was to the homeside.  The pressure was put on for a number of phases before they broke through a passive tackle, allowing a good offload to the support who crashed over.  The kick was unsuccessful, 5-8.

Midleton retained possession from the restart, the Midleton pack again rising higher the rest of the field to bat the ball back into his team mates hands.  Five phases later and the Yorkie split the defence like Moses did the Red Sea, weaving his way to the line, beating three and carrying two defenders with him to dot down for another five pointer.  Lee stepped up to add the extras, 5-15.  Shortly after however, Bangor had the chance to add their own three pointer following a high tackle. 8-15

The second half kicked off with the sun still shining but low down in the sky casting long shadows across the emerald grass.  Strong carries from the returned kick off put Midleton just outside the 22, looking threatening with good runs coming from forwards and backs.  Hands in the ruck led to a penalty which Lee converted giving us the all important first score of the half, 8-18.

Lee had his kicking boots on for the day with his out of hand pinning the home side back and the chase from outside backs Louie and Martijn causing havoc.  Bangor could not seem to put the phases together and all credit to former captain and defensive coach Damien Smyth who has this Midleton team well drilled in their defensive efforts.  The strong defence in every quarter of the pitch meant that the Bangor ten had to keep kicking to our back three who were gifted with space and the opportunity to turn on the afterburners.

Substitutes Brian Moore and Aaron Hogan put themselves about well, giving the travelling side the extra energy needed to get over the line again just 15 minutes into the half.  A ruck penalty for not rolling away gave Midleton a lineout on the Bangor 22, easily won by the effective pack and expertly marshalled by Smyth at scrum half, the go forward ball was invaluable.  It gave Lee the chance to unleash a threatening back line and two phases later we was over in the corner. Lee added the extras making it 8-25 and plenty of time left on the clock.

The kick off was knocked on by the Midleton pack, giving Banor a good platform to attack from  in what was a solid scrum all day.  They moved the ball from wing to wing to no avail as the defence held strong.  A knock on came and gave Lee the chance to clear the lines.  Another lengthy period of Bangor pressure ensued, which was again repelled by an aggressive and disciplined Midleton defence, resulting in another knockon and turnover.  Bangor tanks were sapped after the number of phases they put together and gave Midleton an easy front foot from which to attack.  A break from Louie down the narrow side, an offload to Dan and a second offload to Denis Broderick finished off a move that started just inside the Bangor ten metre line. Lee missed the extras, 8-30.

A number of phases after the kick off and Dan found himself intercepting a wayward pass inside his own half.  He turned on the pace and tore away down the pitch, Louie Farnham and the Bangor back three in tow. A neat off load to Louie gave him another try to add to his tally or the season.  Lee added the extras, 8-37, bringing his personal tally for the season so far to over 150 points.

Our next match is the rescheduled game against Bective Rangers, this Saturday 31st March with a 1:30pm kick off.

Mar 012018
 

The recent snow fall has meant that Midleton RFC has had to cancel and postpone all activity in the Club until any weather related danger has passed.  We hope everyone stays safe and warm and we ask you to reach out to one another to make sure those less capable have everything they need.    The lotto draw due to take place tonight has also been postponed, further information will be made available in due course.

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.