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.
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.
Midleton RFC are teaming up with Midleton GAA for the town’s first ever Lip Sync Battle!! If you are not sure what a lip sync battle is then watch the following video.
This event is taking place on Sunday the 18th of March in the Radisson Hotel, Little Island, where you can come and see well known figures from around the area performing for their chance to be crowned king or queen!
There are going to be 14 acts in total ranging from solos to duets and group acts. They will pick their song of choice and mime and dance as best as they can, putting on a real show for all those present. The crowd will add up to 800 people, and tickets are €30 each, will all the profits split between the rugby club and the GAA. These funds go towards the general operation of the clubs as well as to advance the facilities and the experience of players of all ages. The acts themselves will also be fundraising through various means it the run up to the show, this will be done through holding smaller events etc.
We are still short a small number of acts so if you or anyone you know is interested please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any of the club committee members
For the second time in 7 days, Bruff RFC bested the senior XV, but we managed to do enough to come away with a losing bonus point on both occasions. Last weekend (2nd December) the final scoreline in Bruff was 17-13 to the homeside, Midleton points coming from the boot of Stuart Lee and a try from Aidan Ware. While Rob Smyth’s men fought to the end, it was not to be enough to come out with the full complement of points. This weekend (9th December) was a similar affair, with it going right to the end, with an impressive defensive effort from the travelling Bruff contingent.
Bruff had a dream start to the game when a out of hand kick in the middle of the pitch was knocked on close to the home side’s line, giving them a good platform in a scrum that was impressive seven days earlier. The solid platform gave the backs a chance to attack straight off the scrum, stepping inside the cover defence to go over from 10 yards out. The ensuing chance to add on the extras drifted wide of the mark, 5 nil to the travellers with only 5 minutes played.
Midleton calmed down and started putting the phases together, giving Stuart Lee a good opportunity to launch some wide attacks, exploiting a tight defence. This was helped by a strong set piece where young Denis Broderick shon, claiming a number of line outs against the head and frustrating many more. However, one handling error after another gifted the ball and the majority of possession to the travelling Bruff side.
Good defense in the opposition 22 from Midleton caused a turn over, and then a penalty which Stu Lee added, after failing an earlier attempt. However, it was to be the handling and un forced errors that were to be the story of the day, neither team with a perfect record, yet Midleton’s was considerably worse. 15 minutes in and the score is 3-5, in favour of the visitors. Rob Smyth was using his men well, with big carries from the forwards before providing clean quick ball for Lee to exploit the gaps. This resulted in a number of half breaks from second centre, Dan Murray, which would put Midleton in the driving seat. However, the errors kept coming with either a knock on or an infringement at the breakdown.
A strong passage of play where forwards and backs interlinked nicely gave Lee a chance to chip over the top of the rush defence, letting Dan Murray run onto it and get to within 5 of the line after stepping two covering defenders. The ball was moved wide quick to where the space is, however, Bruff got a hand to it and put the ball into touch on their own 22. The packs accuracy at the lineout continued, giving Lee the platform he needed to attack from. The result was another defensive infringement for not rolling away after the tackle, and another 3 points from the boot of Lee.
It was Bruff’s turn to put the pressure on now, with a scrum that didn’t falter all day they had a good opportunity to attack from, which they did from the centre of the pitch. Good carries from forwards coming around the corner and then the backs whipping back blind side, trying to catch the defense unawares put them into the Home side’s 22. However, handling errors again as Midleton turned over the ball and relieved the pressure. The tackling from the young Bruff side was immense all day and did not give the big Midleton ball carriers the chance to exploit the gaps which inevitably turn up after a number of phases. And so finished the first half, 6-5.
Midleton got points on the board early, with a turnover from the kick off, giving Lee the chance to make it 9-5, which he took. The story of the second went much the same as the first, with handling errors and mistakes ruling the game. Unfortunately these handling errors were to prove very costly, as they led to two tries for the visitors. One try came from a dropped ball in the backs off a scrum, which was hacked ahead by the Bruff defence to dive on it under the posts. This came after some great play from both sides, putting immense pressure on each other and constantly forcing the errors. 9-14 to Bruff.
This got the visitors tails up and they started attacking with more ferocity as well as guile, finding the space where there was none. The second try came from a penalty for a high tackle, this was kicked to the corner and then mauled forward. The home side appeared to get the push on, however, Bruff managed to slip down the blindside and over the line. 9-19 in favour of the visitors.
A huge attacking effort from Midleton resulted in a huge defensive effort from Bruff, as the home side were camped on the 5 metre line for much of the remaining 15 minutes. All that was to come of this was another penalty from Lee to make the scores 12-19, as they would finish.
Taking the positives from the game was the set piece, especially at lineout time where a number of wins against the head stopped Bruff’s momentum at key moments. The backs looked menacing when the ball went to hand, and the defense looked strong despite one or two lapses of concentration. The next game is not until the 6th of January, away to Malahide. With 8 games left, Midleton need to win as many as possible, and having come so close in so many (two draws and five losing bonus points) it is clear to see that we are so close to getting on top, and if the bounce of the ball had gone our way in those games we would be table toppers!
SAVE THE DATE!! 18th of March 2018 Midleton RFC are teaming up with Midleton GAA for a Lip Sync extravaganza! However, this will not be possible without volunteers, we need acts to take part! Please, if you or anyone you know is interested get in contact with John Silke on 087 798 3357
Or is it Tullamore Come Close Against Senior XV?
Tom Mul’s men seem to be on top in 75 minutes of every game they play and end up losing in 5 minutes of madness. The second draw of the season so far was different than the 29 all affair against Omagh in Thomas Melon Park back in September in that it was Midleton who let go of a commanding lead. Having been 14-3 up five minutes into the second half to be 17-20 down with three minutes to go, it was not quite a roller coaster affair as a tiresome slugging match peppered with occasional absence of concentration.
Tullamore gathered the kickoff and set to start working their way into Midleton’s half, coming up against some stiff defense from a powerful home side pack. The Tullamore strategy was to hit up one out from the ruck, with some big strong ball carriers, however, this as not to be enough to break the lines as Tom Keavney won an early turnover on the Midleton 10 meter line. Lee put the home side deep into enemy territory, armed with a lineout. Accurate dart to the middle gave the outside backs the space they needed and a powerful run from Ross O’Mahoney, who
managed to get on the outside shoulder and put in a hand off, followed by a tidy off load to centre partner Dan Murray ensured Midleton had plenty of momentum, barreling headfirst for the line. A quick ruck 10 metres out enabled Rob Smyth to feed the on rushing forwards, just after catching up from the lineout, to go over for a try, scored by Jon “Peachy” Gardiner. Lee added the extra 2 points, 7 – 0 home side.
From the kick off Tullamore started battering the Midleton defensive line around the A B channel, some strong carries from a big forward pack were not to prove enough and they turned over the ball. However, showing the scrappy stop start nature of the game, Midelton knocked on the ball twice in a row. With scrums that seemed evenly matched for the game, each winning two penalties a piece. The hard carrying from the TUllamore pack put them into a kickable position, and with a penalty for offside the travelling side took their opportunity to get points on the board, 7 -3.
One thing that seemed to set the sides apart at times was Midleton’s inability to keep a hold of the ball, however, any time that they did they looked menacingly capable of causing real damage. Tullamore on the other hand, were able to hold on to the ball for phase after phase without making much ground, a patience strategy which would pay in the end.
The second half opened with a Midleton try after 5 minutes. Hard work from Dan Murray to get from his own 22 to the Tullamore 5 metre line and to then block down the attempted box kick and land exhausted on the ball over the line. It made for an easy kick, and Stuart Lee stepped up again to add the extras, 14-3.
Tullamore must have received information from the management at half time to stop running at the strong A B channel and move the point of contact wider, towards the ten channel. This led for softer tackles in places and gave the travellers the chance to make inroads into the Midleton half. Quickly changing the attack plan, Tullamore found a gap close to the ruck and went through to score under the posts, 14-10.
If Rob Smyth and his men had learned anything from previous matches this season it is that patience is very much a virtue. However, Tullamore found another way back into the game with a penalty between the Midleton 10 metre and 22 metre line, 14-13. One point gaps are not uncommon to Midleton so it was far from time to panic. Stuart Lee began to take more control of the game, and the pack managed to retain the ball better, creating space for the backs to unleash, and that they did. A last minute tackle on full Back Martijn Korterik saved a certain try. This was followed by good interlinking play, from receiving a kick, gave Lee the chance to throw a perfectly weighted pass out to winger Rian Hogan who bobbed and weaved his way towards the line. This resulted in a penalty, 30 metres out, on the 15 metre line. Lee again stepped up to cooly add 3 points, 17-13.
With 115 to go and all to play for, Tullamore set about harrasing the Midleton defensive line time and time again. Making their way onto the Midleton 5 metre line 3 times, and each time being rebutted by a strong and well drilled home side. However, repeated infringements saw centre Ross O’Mahoney make his way to the side line for a 10 minute rest.
Tullamore stuck to their guns and their game plan proved effective, however, it was a lapse of concentration that led to them breaking the lines again. Following a disallowed try due to a neck roll spotted by the touch judge, Midleton cleared to just outside their own 22. A slip of the mind at the tail of the lineout let the ball drop onto the foot of the Tullamore defense who kicked through and managed to dive on the ball over the line, adding the extras made the game 17-20 in favour of the visitors.
Learning from lessons past, Midleton knew what they had to do to eek out the points. Tullamore gathered the kick off near their own 10 metre line and tried to hold on for dear life, picking and going and securing over and over again. However, the Midleton defense proved too strong and pushed them back towards their own 22 before substitute prop, Darragh “Yogi” O’Keeffe, got his hands on the ball and forced the penalty. The choice was go for the corner and aim for the try and the win, or take the kick at the posts and the draw. Skipper, Rob Smyth, pulled his years of experience to calm things down. knowing their is still a long season ahead and to take points when available, and chose to take the kick. Stuart Lee stepped up to make it 20-20, and a 10 point tally for himself on the day.
The next home game is on Saturday the 9th of December against Bruff and is the last home game of 2017 for the Senior XV. We hope to see you all there.
All photo credit to Kieran “Pops” Kelleher, many thanks for the amazing images.