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.

Nov 282017
 

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.

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.