Midleton traveled to Nenagh today to take on the Division 2A side in the Munster Senior Cup.
With a blend of old heads and some new faces, taking on a team 2 divisions ahead was always going to be a tough ask. However, the team took the challenge to Nenagh, providing plenty of encouraging plays to give confidence ahead of the league campaign.
The match started with Midleton playing against the hill in the 1st half, with most of the play in the opening minutes between the two 22m lines. Midleton had some good carries from the second row partners Rob Hickey and Denis Broderick, as well as some big carries from Luke Obersby. After 8 minutes a last man tackle from Julian Power prevented a certain try before Nenagh eventually won a penalty to go 3-0 up after 10 minutes.
For the next 10 minutes Midleton had the majority of the possession with some good attacking play from the backs, supplemented by some big carries by the back row. In the 22nd minute, after a huge clear out from Mark Corby, Midleton were awarded a penalty which lead to a great lineout mall inside the Nenagh half. Following some good running rugby from the backs, a Midleton player was isolated and Nenagh were awarded a penalty to clear their lines.
What followed was an intense period of pressure with Nenagh attacking the Midleton line continuously. The Midleton players from 1 – 15 put their bodies on the line and their massive defensive effort eventually forced a knock on to give Midleton a scrum inside their 22. The forwards backed up the defensive effort to win a huge scrum penalty, allowing the team to clear their lines. The first half finished 3 – 0 to the home team.
Midleton started the 2nd half well with 2 turnover penalties on the deck from captain Bryan Moore and 2nd row Rob Hickey. For the next 10 minutes, Midleton had a lot of possession, putting some good phases together but unfortunately converting this possession into scores. One such phase lead to a great break from full back Julian Power. Unfortunately the phase ended with a penalty being awarded to Nenagh after a Midleton player was penalised for holding on on the ground. Nenagh, sensing an opportunity, tapped the penaly inside a counter attacked deep into the Midleton 22. This resulted in a penalty being awarded to Nenagh which they kicked to take a 6 – 0 lead after 52 minutes. They followed this up with some great open field running to score a converted try on 58 mins to lead 13 – 0.
Midleton introduced some fresh faces from the bench and once again started to make in-roads into the Nenagh half. On 62 minutes a great attached was bundled into touch by Nenagh. This was followed shortly after by a good training park move from a Midleton lineout which saw David ‘Dosser’ O’Sullivan making a clean break before off-loading to Florence McCarthy who was stopped short of the line. The ball was spread quickly to the backline, who ran from deep, allowing Julian Power finished off a great move, with numbers to spare on the outside.
Midleton rang the changes again and, after a huge clearance kick from Stuart Lee deep into the Nenagh half, continued to attack as the match came into the closing stages. With the score at 13-7 to Nenagh with only moments remaining, the Div. 2A team sealed the win with a try and conversion in the dying moments to take the win 20 – 7.
It was a great performance from the Midleton side, while still having room for improvement. The scrum was solid throughout and with some tidying up the lineout will prove to be a good platform for attack. Some rustiness, and lack of depth in attack lead to some unforced errors but no doubt this team will continue to gel together and improve. It was also great to see some of our underage talent progressing through the ranks with Laurence O’Regan, Richie Daly and Jack Colbert all making their debuts, and none looking out of place! Florence McCarthy, who recently signed for Midleton, also made his debut.
We now play Shannon next weekend in the Munster Senior Plate in Coonagh. Details to be confirmed.