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.

 

 

Nov 022017
 

Thomond traveled down from Limerick City on Saturday the 28th to play against the hosts.  The last time these sides faced off in Liam Fitzgerald Park Thomond bested us by 36 points to 10.  While that game was not so close on the score board, it was still an exhilarating game of rugby.  This latest fixture proved just as exciting, with seven tries in total, and two come backs from behind.  

The match opened with the home side making strong inroads to the opposition 22, threatening the line more than once only to be denied at the last.  The strong defensive effort from the visitors paid off when a turnover between their own 22 and 10 meter line, ended up scoring in the corner.  The next score of the game came from a Thomond High tackle against Daniel Murray, kicked by Stuart Lee.  With the kick off secured the Home side continued to move down pitch, keeping Thomond barricaded in their own 22.  A knock on led to a kick down the pitch, which Midleton turned over on their own 10 meter line following a good kick chase.

Some fine displays of attacking rugby from both sides saw an exciting ebb and flow to the game which left fans on their feet. The visitors ended up on top again  with their star winger, Darragh O’Neill scored a break away try after gathering a wayward offload.

After the visitors gathered the restart they made some yard into Midleton’s half of the pitch.  Some heavy tackling lead to a turnover on the home sides 10 meter line.  This was moved to the wing using good hands and a decent offload from Aaron Hogan.  Young Charlie Murphy found himself with the ball in his hands on the half way line, he made a break down the wing, evading one tackle and handing off one other would be defender before pulling his hamstring in the opposition 22.  The attempted offload didn’t go to hand, giving Thomond the chance to clear their lines once again.  A Midleton turnover in the middle of the pitch gave Lee the chance to add 3 more points to make the scores 6-12 in favor of the travelers.

It was the that the game should have changed in favor of the home side.  Loose head prop for Thomond, Eoin O’Neill received a straight red card, sentencing the travelers to finish the game with only 14 men.  This should have given Midleton the boost they needed, however, two penalties in the home 22 gifted Thomond another 6 points.

With Thomond knowing their backs were against the wall they began playing the territory game, keeping the ball in the Midleton half as much as they could.  With 4 minutes left before the half Midleton received a yellow card to put the teams even on 14 men apiece for ten minutes, until Thomond number 12 suffered the same fate.   Respective Captains were told to report too their teams to spread the word about poor discipline.

After an action packed beginning to the second half of the match, Thomond found themselves with a penalty just outside Midletons 22.  A quick tap and two long passes saw them dot down in the corner for another try.  A commanding lead and a grim outlook for the Home Side.

The rally began with the forwards and backs combining to make yards into Thomond’s half, a quick passed few phases ended with Midleton going over in the corner.  This was added to moments later after the Midleton back line showed their pace and skill, pushing back Thomond’s defensive line and using powerful offloads to go over the line yet again.

Scintillating attacking rugby from the home side ensued, however, the need to bridge the gap may have proved too much and lack of patience may have gotten the better of Rob Smyth’s men.  Being held up over the line twice did not make life easier for the home side, with the scores at 16-21 and less than ten to go.  The work paid off, the scrum following being held up on the second occasion led to space being available out wide, with Stuart Lee making use of the extra men, the scores became 23-21 in favor of the home side.  Asking the referee, Glenn Sheridan, on the way back to take the kickoff the home side were told there was 5 minutes left to play.  With only a 2 point gap 5 minutes can seem like an eternity to have to wait for the final whistle, and it turned out so.  Thomond winger, O’Neill, found himself again with the ball in hands and made the 20 meter burst to the line to finish under the posts.  Final score 21-28 to Thomond.

 

Oct 252017
 

Midleton 1st XV take on Limerick side, Thomond this Saturday, 28th October, at home in Towns Park at 2:30pm. This is the first match for the home side since their loss to Bective Rangers on the 7th of October.  With two weekends off in a row the team should have had enough time to work out any niggles built up over the preceding matches as well as having a chance to work on more elements of game play.  Thomond were relegated last season from division 2B, having been relegated from 2A the season before.  This apparent fall from grace is more cause for concern than anything.   A team backed into a corner will come out swinging, as we have seen so fr this season.  With 3 bonus points so far and two strong wins, Thomond are a force to be reckoned with in a division that is hotly contested.

The last time these sides faced off against each other it was the 2013/2014 season.  We played away from home that day in a game that was fought in the forward packs.  Thomond proved too strong and went on to get promoted while Midleton finished closer to the middle of the table, and transitioned to 2C when it was created the following season.  Both sides have a much changed line up since then, with only a handful of the match day 20 remaining.  However, if the previous years are anything to go by it will be a tough but enjoyable match.

All invited to the Club House after the game.

The following day, 29th of October, is the Midleton Rugby Club Fun Run / Walk.  Registration from 10am, runners (€10) leaving from 11am and walkers (€5) from 11.10am.  Please see FaceBook for more details.  http://tinyurl.com/y77qb3vq

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.

Sep 262017
 

The Senior IX made the long trip away to Omagh on Saturday, 23rd September.  The lengthy trip proved to take its toll on the Midleton men, who made a slow start to the game conceding early tries.  However, the team showed fantastic spirit to claw back a draw with the last play of the game.  The try was scored and converted by Stuart Lee, who added 14 points to his tally of 15 last week.  This consisted of three conversions and a penalty, all in conditions that were less than favorable for the kickers on each side, however, it was Lee who came out on top, with the Omagh kicker Scott Eliott going wide of the posts on three occasions.

From the first play of the game it was apparent that the Omagh backs had a thirst for the wide spaces on the pitch, and a knack for exploiting them excellently.  A few good runs, offloads and lucky bounced saw the home side go 10-3 up early on in the game.  Rob Smyth rallied the troops and held out until half time without conceding any further.  The wind again was playing a huge factor for both teams, with kicks and lineouts going awry throughout the game.  It blew straight across the pitch, offering no distinct advantage to either team.

The second half opened much as the first, with the home side pressing hard, looking to score more tries and get that bonus point.  Going 17-3 down made the travelers dig deep to get a five pointer.  This came through a lot of hard work from the pack, earning the hard yards driving into the home 22.  Lee unleashed the outside backs who dotted down in the corner, which was expertly converted. With the score now at 17-10 the home side dotted down again to go 22-10 up.  This was narrowed shortly after from a strong forward effort and superb carries from the big men who added another 5 points.   Now at 22-17, Omagh took their chances well, despite a questionable call from referee, Brendan Cuttriss, failing to call what both sets of fans thought was a knock-on, and scored again to go 29-17 up.

John O’Neills men rallied strong to come back with further tries, backs and forwards claiming one a piece, to earn a hard fought draw.  The next home game is this coming weekend, 30th of September, against Bangor.  Kick off is at 2:30pm, for information on the pre-match lunch please contact Niall McCarthy on 085-7273190 or Andrew McCarthy on 087-9384903.  We look forward to seeing you there.