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Midleton made the long trip north to Derry on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday events which took place 50 years ago this weekend. Midleton will have been smarting from their first home AIL defeat last weekend at the hands of another Ulster team, Omagh Academicals, and were determined to get a result.
It is trips likes these that the random punter may take for granted. But it is for weekends such as this that clubs must fundraise throughout the year with significant costs involved in hiring buses, hotel stays for the group, food, etc. Thankfully the players ensured this was money well spent by coming away from Derry with 4 points in the bag!
The day started dry, but very windy at the Judges Road ground, with Midleton having the advantage in the first half. Changes were made from last weekend with Fionn O’Connell and Charlie Murphy coming into the pack, and Shayne Anderson returning to the no. 13 shirt.
After the first minute fullback Jack Colbert used the wind to launch a huge clearance downfield. From there Midleton got off to a flying start, rushing into a 0 – 12 lead after some great play.
The first try, by Ryan Lehane, came after Midleton had intercepted a pass from a scrum on the Derry 22. Some big carries by Bryan Moore, Charlie Murphy, Denis Broderick and David O’Sullivan was followed by some great interplay between backs and forwards. After 2 barnstorming runs by centre, Shayne Anderson, Midleton moved the ball to the left and were stopped just short of the line. The forwards picked and went on 2 occasions before the ball was passed wide to Lehane. From that distance he we never going to be stopped, crashing over in the corner for a 0 – 5 lead after 5 minutes.
7 minutes later they were on the score sheet again. While Derry had a lot of possession, they were unable to get past their own 10m line due to good offensive defence from Midleton. They attempted to kick clear but the kick was gathered by Ryan Lehane who carried hard, deep into the Derry half. From the resultant ruck, the ball was moved wide to Rory Horgan who offloaded to Willie Casey. As all good wingers should, Julian Power showed up on Casey’s shoulder to take a pass which put him through and under the posts. Stuart Lee made no mistake with the conversion. City of Derry 0 – 12 Midleton.
However, City of Derry are not a team to lie down, especially at home, and they took to game to Midleton from that point onwards.
They took the game to Midleton, winning a number of scrum penalties before kicking to the corner, putting the Midleton defence under severe pressure for the next 6 minutes. After a number of scrum penalties, Midleton’s prop Mark Corby was yellow carded. He was replaced by Alex O’Brien, while David O’Sullivan had to drop to the bench as Derry opted for another scrum. Midleton, somehow, cleared their lines with a kick up to the Derry halfway line. However, the Derry winger gathered the kick, counter attacked and with some elusive running scored in the Midleton right hand corner on 23 minutes.
Midleton tried to pin Derry into their own 22 from the kick off, not allowing them to break out of defence. However, a great break from the other Derry winger brought the play into the Midleton 22, at which time Midleton conceded another penalty for being off side in the defensive line.
With Midleton down to 14 men, a man down in the forwards, and a penalty awarded on the 5m line, it was inevitable that Derry would opt for a scrum. And their forward took total control of the scrum, marching over for another 5 pointer, which was converted. City of Derry 12 – 12 Midleton on 29 minutes.
For the next 10 minutes, the game was played between both 10m lines, with neither side giving or getting an inch in defence or attack. Midleton finished the half strongly attacking deep in the Derry 22, but were unable to turn pressure into scores.
This was a concern for Midleton who had started the first half so positively. They were now facing into a wind that, although had died down since kick off, was very much in the home sides favour.
However, this did not deter the Midleton players. Taking the game to City of Derry, they continued the positive play from the first half. This was rewarded with a try 2 minutes into the 2nd half from full back Jack Colbert, following a deft chip through from Stuart Lee which was kicked on by substitute Josh Deady. The conversion was missed but Midleton lead once again on a scoreline of 12 – 17.
Now it was Midleton’s turn to try to force their way out of their half against a strong breeze. It proved to be no easy task, as Derry went on the attack again and again.
The Midleton scrum came under pressure again and, after numerous offences, skipper Bryan Moore was sent for a 10 minute rest. Midleton again miraculously cleared their lines and, following a huge clearance kick, found themselves attacking the Derry line. However, Derry were able to use the wind to kick clear and relieve the pressure.
From a scrum, just outside the Derry 22, disaster struck. Derry moved the ball wide and after some good interchange play fed the ball to their left winger. He managed to evade some suspect Midleton tackling to race from halfway and score under the posts. The try was converted and the home side lead for the first time in the game after 55 minutes.
It would have been easy for Midleton to lie down following this body blow. They were a long way from home, facing into a stiff breeze, facing a home side who were hitting their straps.
However, as we have seen time and again during the season, the side’s fitness levels often allow them to put pressure on the opposition in the final quarter. And that they did, going in search of a score that would not only win the match, but would keep them in contention for the rest of the season.
Midleton attacked Derry from deep, and kept possession for the next 10 minutes, playing all the rugby. An unbelievable break from Denis Broderick saw him split the Derry defence on the halfway line, carrying hard all the way to the Derry 22m line. Unfortunately the play broke down 2 phases later. But Midleton had an advantage and they were awarded a penalty on the 22m line, in front of the posts. Stuart Lee kicked the penalty to put Midleton in front on the narrowest of margins, 19 – 20.
With 15 minutes to go, this left for a nervy ending. And Derry attacked and attacked for the next 10 minutes, putting the Midleton defence under massive pressure. However, the defence stood strong time and time again, keeping Derry at bay by the finest margins at times. The discipline in defence was remarkable, with no penalties conceded inside their 22 for this period of time. Derry were forced to try long distance penalties and drop goal attempts to win the game, but they were unable to convert.
Midleton actually finished the game pushing Derry back into their own half. In the last play of the game, Danny McCarthy came up with a huge play, getting his hands on the ball in the tackle and winning a penalty for Midleton. Stuart Lee gladly dispatched the ball to touch for Midleton to seal the win 19 – 20!!
The players deserve all the credit they get for this win. Although they allowed Derry back into the game following an early lead, the attitude and composure shown to keep their line intact late in the 2nd half was incredible. Hearing ‘Red is the Jersey’ ringing out before the long bus journey home shortened the road for players and travelling supporters alike!
We take a break for the next few weeks, with our next game away to 2nd place Skerries on 19th February.
Midleton 14 – 21 Omagh
On Saturday we welcomed 2 clubs to Townspark for our AIL Div. 2C Round 11 match.
Omagh Academicals made the long journey down, while players and committee members from the successful Midleton GAA hurling team were invited to the pre-match meal in recognition of their recent success in the county hurling championship.
If ever the phrase ‘Smash and Grab’ could be used to describe a game, the match between Midleton and Omagh Academicals was it. 3 forays into the Midleton green zone by Omagh yielded 3 tries, while Midleton, it could be argued, dominated the remainder of the game.
The review on Monday won’t make for easy viewing and when the statistics are examined we will wonder how Midleton lost the game after controlling territory and having the majority of possession. It will be difficult to stomach having played all the rugby, but failing to dominate the most important statistic of all – the scoreline.
Preparation for the match was not ideal, with Midleton losing centre Shayne Anderson late on in the warm up. Difficulties continued in the first 2 minutes of the match when Omagh managed to intercept a pass inside the Midleton 22 to score under the posts, leaving the score 0 – 7 after 2 minutes.
Midleton went about their business to reduce the deficit and after 10 minutes, a big tackle from Rob Carey forced a knock-on on the halfway line. In the ensuing scrum, the front row of Danny McCarthy, Bryan Moore and Mark Corby won a scrum penalty which lead to a period of prolonged pressure on the Omagh line. Unfortunately the ball was knocked on in attack, allowing Omagh to counter attack from their own line. A great tracking tackle, again from Carey, snuffed out the danger on the halfway line.
Up to the 20 minute waterbreak, Midleton played with plenty of willingness to move the ball around and attack. However, on numerous occasions they were guilty of forcing passes while trying to unlock the Omagh defence, leading to knock-ons and turnovers.
In the 23rd minute of the match Midleton had a great attacking opportunity. An excellently drilled kick through from fullback Jack Colbert was chased up and kicked through by Stuart Lee, resulting in another Midleton line-out inside the Omagh 22. After some time in on the attack, Midleton were eventually rewarded a penalty. Stuart Lee opted to kick for the posts. The kick, from distance, was good leaving the score Midleton 3 – 7 Omagh on 27 minutes.
Midleton continued to attack with intent but couldn’t breach the defence. Some good work on the ground from Flor McCarthy and Fionn Bailey, who replaced the injured Shayne Anderson just before kick off, resulted in a turnover penalty. However, the attack was unsuccessful.
On 37 minutes Omagh made a rare incursion into the Midleton 22. With the defence breached and our fullback and winger facing a 4 on 2 defensive situation, fullback Jack Colbert made a great defensive read to stop the attack, saving a certain try.
In the remaining 3 minutes, 2nd Row Ryan Lehane was busy putting himself about, carrying some good ball and doing some good work on the deck. Midleton eventually won another kickable penalty which Stuart Lee converted. This left the score Midleton 6 – 7 Omagh at halftime. Midleton were having to work much harder for their scores than an Omagh team who seemed happy to soak up pressure and counterattack if the opportunity arose.
In the 2nd half the Midleton errors continued to put pressure on themselves, with a number of simple errors making it difficult for them to get out of their own half in the early minutes. The cause wasn’t helped on 45 minutes when scrumhalf Willie Casey was yellow carded by the referee. Omagh attacked the Midleton line but couldn’t break the defence. However, after another penalty was awarded on the Midleton 5m line, Omagh opted for a scrum. After a couple of phases they managed to move the ball to space with their outhalf stepping his way under the posts. Midleton 6 – 14 Omagh after 50 minutes.
One thing that cannot be questioned was the Midleton players’ continuous effort to gain a foothold in the game. The brought the game to Omagh again and again, playing all the rugby. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t make the final pass stick, or make the right decisions, letting Omagh off the hook on multiple occasions.
On 68 minutes, one such example allowed Omagh to break from their own 22 all the way down to the Midleton 22. After some scrappy play inside the 22, a Midleton player was stripped in the tackle and the Omagh 2nd Row took full advantage to score under the posts in another ‘smash and grab’ move. Midleton 6 – 21 Omagh.
Some stern words were spoken under the posts, and Midleton went in search for a score. On 70 minutes Midleton kicked for the corner and from the resulting phases, including a big carry and offload from Bryan Moore, they eventually crossed the line. After some good forward play, the ball was spread wide to substitute winger, Alex O’Brien, to cross in the corner. Midleton 11 – 21 Omagh.
With time running out, Midleton needed another score to at least claim a losing bonus point. While attacking well in the Omagh 22, an Omagh defender was deemed to have tackled illegally resulting in a Midleton penalty in front of the posts. The kick, from Stuart Lee, left the score 14 – 21, meaning Midleton, at least, had secured the losing bonus point.
There was still time to play and Midleton, once again went on the attack. However, in the last play of the game another turnover by Omagh, deep in the own 22, meant that they could kick to touch to end the match.
As mentioned above, Midleton will wonder how they let this game slip. They dominated possession and territory, but were guilty of trying to force off loads, knocking on balls and getting isolated in attack. This, compared to the ease with which Omagh snatched their scores, was hard to take as Midleton did all the hard work, but just couldn’t get the rewards. On a positive note, the players kept fighting until the death in search of scores and should be commended for this. However, there is work to be done to improve on the performance.
Another positive from the day was to see people returning to some form of normality. It was great seeing people in and around the club, having a few drinks and enjoying themselves like the good old days (including a good old sing song in the clubhouse, lead by president Con Walsh later on in the evening!!). Hopefully it is a sign of better days ahead for everyone.
Our next fixture is away to City of Derry next Saturday, 29th January 2022. Wishing the lads the best of luck on the road! If they can tidy up on some of the small errors of the Omagh match, they are more than capable of taking the win in Derry!
Midleton 27 – 13 Tullamore
This AIL Round 9 clash with our old rivals Tullamore took on huge importance following the IRFU’s revised plans to the league format which had been hit by Covid 19 related cancelations. As a result, the format of the league now entails the top 4 teams in the league entering into a semi-final and final play-off at the end of the league proper. With Tullamore lying in 4th position, one place ahead of Midleton, the importance of wining was huge. A loss would have left daylight between the teams which would have been difficult to overcome, especially with a tough visit away to Tullamore ahead in the first round of matches after the Christmas break.
The importance was no doubt impressed upon the players by the Coaching and Management teams although in the early stages of the match it didn’t look like the message had hit it’s target. Midleton, who were forced into a late change which saw young Danny McCarthy starting his first senior match at loosehead prop, started well initially but came under a prolonged spell of pressure from the Tullamore attack. This eventually lead to Tullamore winning a kickable penalty. However, Midleton were let off the hook when the kick sailed wide. More pressure from the Tullamore attack put the Midleton line under pressure but a superb turnover on the deck by hooker Bryan Moore relieved the pressure.
It wasn’t until 12 minutes into the game that Midleton started to get a foothold and work their way up the field. A great break upfield from centre Shayne Anderson was followed by another break from his centre partner, Rory Horgan. After some pressure on the Tullamore line, Bryan Moore crashed over for a try. While this was against the run of play, it followed some great flowing rugby and was a sign of things to come later in the game. The conversion was tapped over by Stuart Lee in the first of many great kicks that were to follow.
Unfortunately, as often happens when teams score, Midleton’s concentration left them down off the resulting kick off. A mix up in the back 3 lead to the kick off crossing over the Midleton tryline before being touched down. However, the referee deemed that the ball had touched one of the Midleton players and awarded a 5m scrum to the away team. This was a cause of concern as the relatively inexperienced Midleton front row had been under the pump at scrum time. However, a huge effort from the Midleton pack resulted in them winning a scrum penalty which allowed them to clear their lines.
Midleton played some good running rugby up to, and after, the 20minute water break with all players from 1 – 15 looking very comfortable handling the ball. They consistently stretched the Tullamore defence from touchline to touchline. It is a feature that the coaching team and players have obviously worked hard on, with the benefits clear to see! It was heard said that ‘It was like watching France in the 70’s’ after one particularly flowing move, in the 27th minute, which saw multiple offloads and brought Midleton from their own 22 deep into the Tullamore half.
Midleton kicked a penalty deep into the Tullamore 22 and, following a great throw and catch at the tail of the lineout, were awarded a penalty on the 22m line, 15m out from the touchline. Stuart Lee stepped up to slot the penalty and leave the score 10 – 0. This was followed by more pressure from Midleton, but in fairness to Tullamore their defence withheld everything that was thrown at them until they eventually cleared their lines.
On 36 minutes Tullamore kicked a penalty deep into the Midleton half and went on the attack. However, following a bone crunching tackle from the Midleton 2nd row, Luke Obersby, Horgan turned the ball over and it was hacked down the field. Midleton were unlucky when, following a great chase by Horgan and backrower Florence McCarthy, they were penalised at the breakdown.
Tullamore went on the attack again and it took some solid tackling from Julian Power, and Charlie Murphy bundling the Tullamore winger into touch on the 5m line, to keep the tryline intact. Eventually the pressure told and Tullamore kicked a penalty to leave the score 10 – 3 at halftime.
Midleton hit the ground running in the second half with a big carry from Danny McCarthy followed up by a barnstorming break by hooker, and captain, Bryan Moore. This lead to a kickable penalty being awarded and Lee made no mistake to make the score 13 – 3 after two minutes of the 2nd half. Tullamore, however, responded quickly with their own 3 pointer shortly after to leave only 7 points in the difference.
Then disaster struck when, against the run of play, Tullamore scored a breakaway try. A loose kick inside the Tullamore 22, while Midleton were attacking, resulted in a superb counter-attack which saw the Tullamore centre crossing under the posts at the far end of the field.
This was a huge body blow for Midleton who, after playing all the rugby, found themselves at 13 – 13. It would have been easy for the team to drop their heads, but that’s not what this team is about as we have seen on numerous occasions in Towns Park this season.
When Tullamore came on the attack again off the kick off, they were met with a thundering tackle from Shayne Anderson. Following this, the play resided in the middle 3rd of the pitch for the next 10 minutes or so with Midleton guilty, at times, of over complicating their play inside their own half instead of punching the Tullamore defence, or kicking in behind for territory. Eventually, Jack Colbert cleared the lines with a kick into the Tullamore half. The kick was chased up brilliantly by Richie Daly and from the resultant scrum, this was when Midleton kicked into another gear.
Another superb break from the Midleton second Centre, Anderson, put Midleton into a great attacking position. After a number of pick and drives close in, a good call from the backline saw the ball spread wide for Rob Carey to cross the line, with work to do, for a great team try. Stuart Lee kicked a nice conversion from way out on the left for the extras, to leave the score 20 – 13 for the home side with 65 minutes played.
Midleton rang the changes over the next few minutes in the forwards and the backs. Richie Daly made a great break on the right wing and Charlie Murphy made another touchline tackle to prevent Tullamore from scoring. On 70 minutes, Midleton disrupted a Tullamore lineout allowing Rob Carey to make a half break. The ball was spun wide with Richie Daly finishing an excellent move in the corner! Stuart Lee was once again on hand to slot the conversion from the opposite touchline – he really brought his kicking boots!
Midleton now had 3 tries scored, lead 27 – 13 and had 10 minutes remaining to chase a bonus point victory. However, Tullamore had other ideas and they retained the ball well through multiple phases to put pressure on the Midleton defence. The character and the training of the team shone through as on multiple occasions they snubbed out Tullamore attacks. Some great communication between Rob Carey and Richie Daly saw them manage a Tullamore overlap well in defence in the 74th minute. 2 minutes later Ryan Lehane came up with a brilliant tackle and turnover to relieve the pressure again. Rory Horgan made 2 tackles in a row to drive the Tullamore defence backwards and a huge tackle from Shayne Anderson in the dying minutes pushed Tullamore back into their own half.
Midleton’s offensive defence almost paid dividends in the very last play of the game when Richie Daly almost intercepted a pass. If the ball had stuck it would have meant a certain bonus point try but unfortunately the ball slipped past his finger tips before the referee blew his final whistle.
This was a great team performance with all players from 1 – 20 having a positive impact on the game. The front row boasted 2 young props in Dan McCarthy and Fionn O’Connell. While the scrum struggled in the early stages, they found their feet a put in a great shift both in the tight and around the field. Hooker Bryan Moore was his usual consistent self, with a number of carries, some turnovers on the deck and a try to his name. When Paul Kingston and Mark Corby came off the bench they helped to up the ante in the forward pack.
The front row was ably supported by the second row of Denis Broderick and Luke Obersby who carried well and put in some thundering tackles. Rob Hickey came off the bench in the second half and did some great defensive work along with carrying some good ball.
The back row of Florence McCarthy, Charlie Murphy and Rob Carey were all over the field carrying strong, making try saving tackles and being a general nuisance wherever they went! When Ryan Lehane replaced Florence he made a number of excellent tackles and turned over a great ball in the dying minutes.
Our half backs controlled the ball well, with Willie Casey marshalling the troops well and Stuart Lee moving the backline well. The 2 centres, Rory Horgan and Shayne Anderson were both as good in attack as in defence, both players combining a big defensive effort with multiple line breaks in attack.
The back three have an exciting look to them. They did everything that was asked of them in defence in the first half and took the game well to Tullamore in the second with some great breaks from the wingers Julian Power and Richie Daly, along with some excellent clearance kicks from Jack Colbert. Fionn Bailey came on in the 2nd half and also contributed well with some good carries on the wing.
Overall you would have to imagine that head coach Ken Murphy was happy with his charges performance and, while the winning bonus point eluded us, we would have taken this win before kick-off. Added to the fact that Tullamore didn’t register a losing bonus point, this was a great way to sign off 2021. The first game back after the new year is a return visit to Tullamore who will be sure to try to exact revenge for this game. But I’m sure the lads will enjoy the break (but not too much!) and be ready for the second round of AIL matches at the beginning of 2022.
There was an Autumnal feel around Towns Park on Saturday 30th October 2021 as Midleton RFC prepared to take on their local Munster rivals in the all Munster AIL 2C clash as well as taking on the same opposition in the Munster Senior 2nds League.
The skies cleared brightly ahead of kick off which was a sign of things to come for the remainder of the afternoon!
Midleton 1st XV 28 – 15 Bruff 1st XV
Midleton were forced into some late changes to the team that was initially named to start following an injury to scrum half Willie Casey. This lead to a re-jig of the team which saw Florence McCarthy coming into the no. 9 position, Charlie Murphy moving from 2nd row to open side wing forward and Rob Hickey coming into the 2nd row. However, these disruptions did nothing to upset the Midleton team, who started brightly.
In the first 10 minutes, all of the early running came from the home side with some good breaks from Denis Broderick in the forwards and Stuart Lee in the backs. Midleton applied some early pressure in the Bruff 22, however the away team managed to clear their lines following some good turnovers in defence. However, a missed clearance to touch on 9 minutes allowed Midleton full back Jack Colbert to collect his own clever chip through into the 22. What followed was another period of pressure from the Midleton pack which resulted in a penalty being awarded 5m from the left touchline. Midleton outhalf Stuart Lee stepped up to nail the penalty, giving Midleton a deserved 3 – 0 lead after 10 minutes.
A great lineout take from the Midleton pack on 12 minutes allowed centre Rory Horgan to make further inroads into the Bruff 22. Fullback Jack Colbert aimed another clever kick to pin the Bruff team into their own corner again. The Midleton pack disrupted the Bruff lineout, heaping more pressure on the Bruff defence until another penalty was awarded leaving the score 6 – 0 after 18 minutes.
It was heard mentioned on the sidelines after the game that this was almost ‘a game of 3 halves’ as both sides enjoyed different spells of dominance!! It was at this point that the 2nd of the 3 halves started. As always happens in matches, Bruff hit their purple patch and only for some great tracking back from Rob Hickey, would have had a try to their name after 20 minutes. From this point onwards the Midleton try line came under intense pressure.
For the next 10 minutes the Midleton defence battled valiantly to protect their line with big tackles across the team, including a last ditch tackle from Rob Carey to bundle the Bruff attacker into touch on the 5m line. While Midleton had some great defensive turnovers, they were unable to clear their lines fully and eventually Bruff managed to get over the line to leave the score 6 – 5 after 30 minutes. Ger McIntyre was replaced by Joe Doran at this point after some good carries.
On 35 minutes, some great defensive tackles, including some great linespeed from Rory Horgan, forced a knock on by the Bruff no. 13. After this, a great steal on a Bruff lineout inside their half, allowed captain Bryan Moore to take off on a barnstorming run up the middle of the field, gaining 25 yards. Unfortunately the support was slow to get to the break down and from the resultant penalty disaster struck for Midleton. A smart kick through from the Bruff outhalf caught the Midleton back 3 napping, allowing their centre to race through for what looked like the last score of the half. Bruff were now leading 6 – 12 against the run of play.
It is a credit to the Midleton team, and their leadership group, that instead of trying to play out the remainder of the half they went on the attack immediately, bringing the game to Bruff. On 40 minutes they pinned Bruff deep into their own 22, forcing a turnover penalty. Stuart kicked the penalty to leave the score Midleton 9 – 12 Bruff at halftime.
It is not known what was said at halftime, but it was a re-invigorated Midleton 15 that returned to the field. For the next 40 minutes, Midleton had their own purple patch in what could be described as the ‘3rd’ half!
Midleton immediately went on the attack and over the next 10 minutes had multiple efforts at crossing the Bruff line fall marginally short. Rory Horgan was forced into touch on one side, while Stuart Lee was hit with a last ditch tackle by the Bruff winger to prevent a try in the opposite corner. After a great lineout, a huge carry by the Midleton 2nd centre almost resulted in a try, but an unfortunate knock on ended the move.
On 55 minutes, Bruff’s defence creaked and in-discipline resulted in a penalty and a yellow card for their no. 6. Ger McIntyre returned to the action and when Midleton kicked a penalty to the corner, instead of taking points that were on offer, they were vindicated in turning down the kickable penalty. Instead, a huge maul drive from the entire forward pack resulted in man of the match Bryan Moore touching down. The resulting conversion left the score 16 – 12 to Midleton. Julian Power was replaced by Richie Daly after a solid afternoon on the wing, while Rob England came on to add some energy in the forwards.
Some big defensive tackles from Denis Broderick, Riain Hogan, Shayne Anderson and David ‘Dosser’ O’Sullivan held the Bruff attack at bay. However, an unlucky knock on in a tackle resulted in a Bruff penalty which they kicked to leave the score 16 – 15 to Midleton with 15 minutes remaining.
Midleton never panicked and following some good interplay between the back 3, and a clever kick through from Stuart Lee, a great chase resulted in a Midleton lineout deep in the Bruff 22. The pack took control of the situation with some big carries from Bryan Moore and Ger McIntyre, along with some free flowing interplay between the Midleton back row. A further kickable penalty was turned down as Midleton decided to go for the jugular on 68 minutes by kicking to the corner.
To their credit, as is always a feature of the Limerick club, Bruff never backed down or shirked their defensive duties. It took multiple Midleton attacks from lineouts, scrums and tap penalties before eventually the Bruff defence was breached. Following some big carries from the Midleton pack, David O’Sullivan was the one who managed to break the line, crossing under the posts for his first AIL try of the season! The resultant conversion left the score 23 – 15 to Midleton with 7 minutes remaining.
A Bruff cross field kick was dealt with well by Richie Daly who turned defence into attack with a good break while another attack from the Bruff backline was covered well by Julian Power in defence. Midleton turned defence into attack in the closing minutes and, following a good break from Rory Horgan, the ball was fed to Shayne Anderson. With work to do, he battled and beat a number of Bruff defenders to touch down, leaving the score 28 – 15 to Midleton in the end.
A mentioned above, it was a ‘game of 3 halves’ with Midleton starting very well, Bruff enjoying a purple patch in the middle 40 minutes, before Midleton turned the screw to finish the game strongly. There were some great carries from the Midleton front row, second row and back row throughout the game, while the backline showed some free flowing running at times. Midleton were rewarded for the courage in turning down multiple kickable penalties, instead taking the game to Bruff and scoring tries. The only blackspot on the copy book, arguably, is that they didn’t manage to score the 4th try to secure a bonus point. However, in a local Munster derby, the Midleton coaching ticket would have taken your hand off if offered a win of this nature before the match!
Midleton 2nd XV 24 – 12 Bruff 2nd XV
As the sun set on a great win for our 1st XV, the 2nd XV took on Bruff in the Senior 2nds League. It was great to have a fixture of this nature held in the club, on the same day, allowing the entire Senior squad to enjoy a match and celebrations in the club on the same day!
In the first 5 minutes, a brave Midleton defence withstood some prolonged Bruff pressure with some great defence from the Midleton forward pack and centres. After some ferocious tacking, Midleton turned defence into attack, with a great break upfield following a well worked backs move. This lead to Richie Daly kicking through, only for the try to be disallowed.
On 10 minutes, some more good backs play saw a great pass from Midleton outhalf Michael White, putting Ciarán Evans clear. The ball was flashed firstly to the Midleton right winger, before being moved all the way across to the Midleton left winger Praise Popoola who was stopped short following a good break. The quality of the Midleton team in moving the ball from one wing to the other, along with some big carries from the Midleton pack, were a real feature of this first half.
In the 30th minute the Midleton pack earned a huge scrum penalty. However, the pressure didn’t pay off and Bruff attacked the Midleton line. Following some good attacking play, Bruff managed to squeeze in in the corner to take a 0 – 5 lead on 35 minutes.
With half time nearing, Midleton went in search of a score before the break. The Midleton scrum half took full advantage when the referee raised his arm to signal an advantage to the home side, hitting winger Richie Daly in space. When Richie was tackled, Midleton again spread the ball well to the far wing. Praise Popoola, with some distance to travel, and defenders to beat, put on the after burners to score in the left corner. The conversion was missed leaving the score Midleton 5 – 5 Bruff.
Midleton were forced to defend before the halftime break with a massive tackle from Ciarán Evans turning over a Bruff attack and allowing Midleton to clear their lines. A subsequent deft kick from the Midleton outhalf White put Josh Deady through to score under the posts on the cusp of halftime. Midleton 12 – 5 Bruff at the break.
For the first 25 minutes of the second half it was all Midleton with some great pressure from the forwards converted into points when Joe Dolan crashed over to make the score 17 – 05. Some great breaks from elder statesmen Ryan Lehane and the ever green Ken O’Connell put more pressure on the Bruff defence.
Unfortunately, on 65 minutes and intercept by the onrushing Bruff centre dragged Bruff back into the game. However, with the score reading 17 – 12 to Midleton on 75 minutes a great break from the Midleton second centre Fionn Bailey stretched Midleton’s lead to 24 – 12 when he dotted down under the posts for the last score of the game.
Midleton had some big carries and big tackles in the forwards with Steve England making a nuisance of himself, Ken O’Connell carrying well and Luke Obersbey putting in some big tackles. In the backs, the half backs moved the ball well, giving our centres and wingers the opportunity to stretch their legs on numerous occasions. The Management team will be happy with the performance also. As everyone knows, a good 2nd XV is the key to a successful 1st XV and I’m sure there will be some players looking over their shoulders after this performance.
Overall it was a great day in the Club with supporters, players, committee members and friends enjoying a great day from the pre-match meal followed by 2 very entertaining, high quality matches and some refreshments afterwards!
(Under 9’s & U14’s also win!)
The day started ominously, with heavy grey clouds threatening to dampen the spirits ahead of our first AIL home game in over a year against Sundays Well. In fact, our last AIL home game, held in early 2020 was against the same opposition.
However, as punters enjoyed the first pre-match meal festivities in a long time, and the teams warmed up ahead of kick off, the skies cleared and gave way to a day more akin to a pre-season friendly than a mid-October AIL game, leaving spirits high for a free-flowing game of rugby.
The match started in similar, ominous, fashion. Despite Midleton having a good share of possession, and being comfortable in defence, they were unable to gain a foothold in the game in the early stages. On the other hand Sundays Well, without making any significant in-roads into the game, found themselves leading 6 – 0 as the end of the first half approached.
Sundays Well kicked off, playing into the Midleton Clubhouse. Midleton relieved some early pressure by winning a dominant scrum penalty – a theme that would continue during the game. After a further period of pressure between the 10 and 12th minutes, despite some big tackles from Rob Carey and Rian Hogan, Midleton conceded a penalty which Sundays Well kicked to take a 3 – 0 lead.
Midelton were harshly penalised again in the 15th minute, for a high tackle, when a Sundays Well player appeared to dip into the tackle. However, Midleton repelled the Sundays Well pressure with a great turnover on the deck by Rob Carey, and a subsequent lineout steal by Charlie Murphy a couple of minutes later.
From here Midleton tried to build some phases of play together. Some good carries by the forwards were complimented by some nice running from the outside backs. However, Midleton were the makers of their own downfall with too many simple handling errors and knock-ons allowing Sundays Well to stay in the game.
On 22 minutes, a great lineout steal by Denis Broderick lead to great interplay between the forwards as they broke upfield from the lineout. This was followed up with some good backs play to move the ball wide. Unfortunately the move was ended with another knock on. However, Midleton were dominant again at the scrum, winning a penalty which they kicked into touch at the Sundays Well 5m line. A well worked lineout lead to a series of picks and drives for the try line. However, the move ended when the Midleton pack fell foul of this season’s new rule of having too many ‘latchers’, with the referee awarding a penalty to the Well.
Some great work on the deck by Midleton’s Willie Casey on 29 minutes and Rob Carey again on 35 minutes, earned penalties which allowed Midleton to gain territory in the Well half, only to be outdone by unforced errors. During this time Paul Kingston came on to give some fresh legs to the pack. However, in a rare foray into the Midleton half on 38 minutes, Sundays Well forced a penalty which they converted to take a 6 – 0 lead into the halftime break.
If ever the cliché of ‘A Game of 2 Halves’ applied, today was one of them. Not so much that one team dominated the other, but more so that in the 2nd half Midleton finally managed to make their passes stick, gain momentum and turn pressure into scores.
Midleton always enjoy playing into the clubhouse and when the 2nd half kicked off the forwards continued to dominate at scrumtime in the early stages, earning penalties which allowed them to gain territory deep into the Sundays Well half.
After only 7 minutes of the 2nd half, having been put under the cosh by the Midleton forwards, Sundays Well were punished with a yellow card after giving away a series of penalties. Following a good performance by Conor Smiddy and Rob Hickey, Fionn O’Connell and Luke Obersby were brought on to add some bulk to the pack and Midleton kicked for the corner, turning down a potential 3 points to go for 7. To their credit, Sundays Well defended the lineout and cleared their lines.
Between the 54th and 60th minutes, Midleton began to turn the screw, using the advantage of the extra man, and continued to attack the Well’s try line. However, despite multiple attempts at crossing the line, they were outdone again by unforced errors and knock ons. Somehow Midleton turned into the 60minute water break trailing 6 – 0.
After the break Midleton continued to live in the Sundays Well 22. Midleton were ferocious in refusing to allow the Well out of the 22, typified by a great block down by Midleton’s no. 8 on an attempted box kick which nearly lead to a try. They persisted to hammer the Sundays Well try line but could not find that chink in the defence to get through. If anything, Midleton could be found guilty of trying to force the final scoring try, with a little patience needed in attack to get over the line.
On 65 minutes a great break by the Midleton outside centre, almost lead to a score but the move broke down and Sundays Well cleared their lines again. Midleton rang the changes around this time with Ken O’Connell, and Julian Power coming off the bench after good shifts from Rob England and Rian Hogan, and Ger McIntyre returning to bolster the front row.
Another good phase of play by the Midleton backs lead to a clever kick through from Stuart Lee and following a great chase by Rian Hogan, Charlie Murphy forced the Sundays Well full back over the line for a 5m scrum! The Midleton pack, who had the upper hand in the scrum all day, licked their lips as the try-line beckoned. As an 8 they turned the screw on the Well pack, marching them backwards towards the clubhouse, leaving the referee no option but to award a penalty try!! Midleton 7 – 6 Sundays Well after 69 minutes.
In the following 5 minutes, Midleton upped the ante again with a superb penalty turnover on the deck by Charlie Murphy allowing Midleton to gain a foothold in the Well 22 again. After a series of penalties, Midleton again chose an attacking scrum in search of a score that would put them out of reach. Midleton marched forward again and, following a serious of pick and drives, finally crossed the line when the pack dragged Denis Broderick over the line to score. Stuart converted to make the score 14 – 6 with 5 minutes to go.
For the last 5 minutes the Well tried to attack from deep but Midleton were able to withstand the pressure, with some great tackles made by Jack Colbert, Florence McCarthy and Julian Power. In the 80th minute, stalwart David ‘Dosser’ O’Sullivan epitomised the effort with a huge hit when Sundays Well threatened to break the line. The Well continued to attack and, after a great last ditch tackle from Richie Daly, the game ended Midleton 14 – 6 Sundays Well. The roar from the crowd was of relief and delight to get one over on our local rivals!!
While Midleton will be happy with the win, and with the effort from all involved, there are areas for improvement. Despite having the lions share of possession, and attacking in the opposition’s 22 for long periods, errors and knock-ons could have derailed the win. They will need to work on these and learn to build continuity, momentum and multiple phases into their game. However, they ground out the win today and if they can improve on that performance, they wont fear any team.
A resounding rendition of ‘Red is the Jersey’ was a great way to round off the day after earlier success for our Under 9’s who triumphed in a blitz held by Cobh Pirates and another win over the Well by our Under 14s team!!
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.
Join Our Journey to Johannesburg
Midleton RFC is raising funds for floodlights that will hugely help the rugby experience for our underage and youth players and coaches. For us, like any club, these players form the future of our senior teams, our provincial and national teams and perhaps even the British & Irish Lions. Our ability to enable them to run around, train and play after school in the winter is key to their overall rugby experience.
Our aim is to raise €6,000 through our dedicated Go Fund Me page:
To help us achieve our goal we are going to do something that no other club has ever done before. Starting on 03rd July 2021, the day of the first match in South Africa, we are going to support our Lion Cubs and the British & Irish Lions, by walking 14,000km. This is the equivalent of walking from Midleton to Johannesburg, finishing on August 07th 2021, for the final Test in Johannesburg.
Along our virtual journey, we will be ‘stopping’ at local towns, villages and rugby clubs, learning about the local history, cultures, native animals and rugby history of the areas.
You will be able to track our progress on our Social Media Platforms on Facebook (@midletonrfc), Instagram (Midleton_Rfc) and Twitter (@Midleton_RFC), along with our Club Website www.midletonrugby.com.
Departing from Midleton RFC on 03rd July 2021, our virtual walk will take us across the Irish Sea to the UK before travelling through France, Spain and Gibraltar to reach the northernmost tip of Africa.
On entering Africa, we will travel through countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Gabon, the Dominican Republic of the Congo, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. From there, we will then enter South Africa, completing the final 550km of the journey by travelling through the Kruger National Park, Pretoria (one of South Africa’s 3 Capital Cities!!) before ‘arriving’ in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg. The final Test Match is scheduled to be played here on Saturday 07th August 2021.
During this time, we will also be running fun activities such as colouring competitions, quizzes and selfie/photo competitions of people while clocking up their kilometres and using the hashtag #journeytojohannesburg.
We will complete our journey on Saturday 07th August by completing the final few kilometres at Midleton Rugby Club, Towns Park, where we will celebrate our achievement by cheering on the Lions in the final Test Match versus South Africa!!!
Make Your Miles Go Further!
The beauty of this journey is that absolutely anyone, regardless of age or location, can join us. Together, we’ll cover the distance by using technology that tracks our everyday activity. It doesn’t matter if it’s mowing the lawn, walking your usual circuit or playing in the garden, every step will help make a difference.
We will continue to provide updates on our progress, along our route by updating our position on the map.
How to Participate?
If you would like to get involved, be a Team Captain or a Team Member,
JOIN OUR JOURNEY TODAY
You can email your interest to email@example.com or send a private message to our Facebook or Instagram pages.
As this Fundraiser is all about involvement and enjoyment, other fun things being considered are; a photo competition; under-age art competition; quiz around educational elements of the journey, etc. We also hope to post information on the area that we are travelling through at certain times and have some educational slides for families of the Rugby Clubs, culture, flora and fauna of the region.
We are now 6 weeks into the Club’s new fundraising initiative, Split the Bucket! This initiative was introduced to replace our Lotto draw, who’s support had suffered as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic which meant that the club, and all the establishments who supported the Lotto, have been closed for some time.
We would like to thank all of the establishments and people who supported our Lotto over the years, along with those who ran it. It was always a great source of income to assist with the running of the Club.
We have now entered new territory with our Split the Bucket draw! Following some brainstorming, and innovative thinking by the Club Committee, the Split the Bucket model was developed and put in place. It is currently being run, to great efficiency and success, by Tracy McCarthy, Jason Boyle and Dave Ryan, with draws being presented on Facebook Live at 9pm each Thursday evening by Club President Connie Walsh.
The draw involves a weekly collection of entries from a mixture of online entries and in-store entries around the town. Entry costs €2 and the winner splits the ‘bucket’ of money raised that week with the Club, ensuring a guaranteed winner each week!!
So far we have had 6 weekly draws. The first draw carried a minimum jackpot prize of €1,000 for the winner and was won by Sarah Silke who scooped the jackpot of €1,095!! The winners to date are as follows:
Week 1: Sarah Silke (€1,095)
Week 2: Tony Harpur (€360)
Week 3: Fiona Desmond (€351)
Week 4: Kieran Wall (€376)
Week 5: Mary O’Farrell (€347)
Week 6: Ollie McSweeny (€405)
The winning entries have been a mixture of online entries and in-store entries and, in total, we have given away almost €3,000 to the lucky winners!
Tickets can be purchased on-line at https://midletonrugby.com/split-the-bucket/ Here you can sign up for the weekly draw, or you can subscribe for 5 weeks, 26 weeks or 52 weeks, at a cost of only €2 per entry!!
Alternatively, you can place your entries in the buckets in-store at the following locations:
We would like to thank everyone who has supported the draw to date. Your support is vital for the continuing running of the Club for all of our teams from U-6 girls and boys, all the way up to our adult ladies and men’s teams.
To conclude we would like to thank everyone again for their continuous support. We are delighted that all our teams have been able to return to training!! We hope to welcome everyone back to the Club sooner rather than later to start enjoying club events and matches (and maybe a pint or 2 😉) in the near future!!
Our Weekly Winners to date:
Thursday April 8th!
To launch our new fundraiser, we are putting up a minimum bucket of €1000!!!!!
Full Details – click the bucket below!!! (or click split the bucket on the top menu)