Feb 022018
 

 

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

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.

 

 

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