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 Seniors are taking on promotion contenders Sligo RFC in Towns Park this Saturday, 3rd February at 2:30pm. Price at the gate is €5 and the Ireland V France game will be on the big screen afterwards. We are now 8th in the table following a strong aay performance against fellow strugglers Tullamore, giving us a bonus point win. Each game is important to us now as we battle to stay off the bottom so lets get out and show our support
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.
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.