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 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.

Feb 132018
 

This Saturday the Senior XV take on Thomond away, a much anticipated fixture which is always a tough contest.  Tom Mulcahys men are looking forward to the challenge.  The last time these sides faced off it ended up with a win for the Limerick side following a hard fought game, with Midleton leading into the final stages only to have the win torn from their grips in the final moments.  Since then these teams have been spending their time at the opposite ends of the table, with Midleton still in the bottom half while Thomond have been holding steady in the top three.  That said we actually have a better points to  difference than them, by 4.  This shows how tight all of Thomonds games have been, they only beat us by 5 points with their last grasp converted try.

Liam Fitzgerald Park is always a tough place to travel to having become a fortress of sorts, with only two losses this season the first by two points and the second by only one.  However, Midleton are on the back of two big wins on the trot and are planning on keeping the momentum going into the final stages of the league.

Feb 062018
 

Midleton Senior XV took on Sligo RFC at home in Towns Park on Saturday the 3rd of February in front of the largest home crowd seen in a long time.  The weather was good with plenty of sun, yet the ground was still soft under foot from weeks of rain.  All credit to Graham Eady and his ground staff for making sure the pitch was in top condition for the game.

Tom Mul’s men went into this game only a point from the bottom of the table following a big bonus point win on the road against Tulamore but still needing a big performance to best second place Sligo.  With nearly a clean bill of health, with the exception of one or two niggles, Midleton began the game abysmally, letting Sligo score off the kick off.  A mere three phases saw them go in the corner to take an early lead, 7 nil up.

Rob Smyth gathered his men under the posts and very little was said, everyone knew their job and where it had gone wrong, there was no talking needed to go out and fix it, just action.

Minutes later a solid covering tackle from veteran prop, Kevin Brierley, saw Sligo full back knock the ball on just short of the Midleton 10 metre line.   Smyth flashed the ball out to the attacking line who went on the charge, phase after phase making their way deep into the visitors 22.   A solid scrum gave Stuart Lee a good platform to open up the defence and set fliers Louis Farnham and Rian Hogan loose, attacking the space and making the important yards.  However, Sligo’s defence stood strong and forced a kick in behind which was cleared.  Off the ensuing lineout  came a penalty from a no arm tackle in the middle of the pitch between Sligo’s 10 and 22.   Lee stepped up to aopen his scoring, 3-7.

Another penalty kick from Lee followed shortly after during a time of intense pressure close to the opposition line.  Even though Midleton seemed well on top, cool heads prevailed and the decision to keep the scoreboard ticking over was made,  6-7.

From the restart Sligo went on the charge and made their way up to Midleton’s 22 when a cross field kick was gathered by the home side defender who was bundled into touch.  Strong and eager defence from Midleton pushed the play back to their own 10 however, it might have been a touch of over eagerness as a penalty came from ruck time which was converted, 6-10.

A period of kick tennis ensued with the result being a penalty for Sligo coming from a lineout just inside the Home team’s 22.  The points were added making the score 6-13.  Despite being down by 7, however, Rob Smyth and his men never let the heads drop and continued to play to the game plan that had worked so well against Tullamore the previous week.

With a man in the bin for a no arm challenge on the opposition 10, Midleton upped the effort and won a penalty from a ruck just inside Sligo’s 22 which was kicked to within 7 of the try line.  The maul got fierce momentum giving Michael “Yorkie” Cronin the chance to crash over the line for the first of the Home sides 4 tries.  Lee neatly added the extras from way out by the touch line, 11-13 going into the break.

The second half started for Midleton just like the first, finding themselves underneath the post wondering how Sligo had scored so easily.  Again cool heads saved the day as everyone kept their nerve and got on with the job at hand, this was to be the last of Sligo’s scores of the day,  11-18.

The restart resulted in some to-ing and fro-ing however, after a number of phases the home side found themselves with a put into the scrum on the opposition 10 metre line.  The backs interlinked beautifully and Rian Hogan found himself in a 1-on-1, he was taken down high around the neck with the open field at his mercy, Sligo man sent to the bin for 10 minutes.  After two previous successful mauls, one resulting in a try, the decision was made to go to the corner.  However, the throw failed to find its man and Sligo were relieved of some pressure, but not for long.

Midleton again found themselves with ball in hand inside Sligo’s half, and moving it wonderfully from side to side they made their way closer and closer to the try line.  A half break from outhalf Lee created the space out wide for Rory Horgan to crash over in the corner.  Lee added the extras, 18-18.

Yet again the home side made their way into the Sligo 22, turning over the ball, however, 10 from the try line.  The clearance kick was botched and the home side had a line out 15 yards out.  Three phases later and they were over the line again, Yorkie getting his second of the day. Lee added the 2 points, 25-18.

Five minutes later Lee was again to add to his tally of the day with a long range penalty effort, 28-18.

With 12 to go a fantastic covering tackle from Dan Murray saw the ball spill straight into the hands of Rian Hogan on the half way line.  Rian turned on the afterburners and sped away to score the bonus point try under the posts (see top image).  Lee made his haul for the day total out at 15 points, a fine display with the boot and a 35-18 win.

This puts the Seniors in 7th with 5 games to go.  However, the table is extremely tight with Malahide now going top as both Sligo and Thomond let it slip.  only 5 points separate us from last place Tulamore and 6 points from the play offs.

Our  next match is away to Thomond on the 17th of February, we hope as many can make the trip as possible.

We have an event on Friday the 9th of Feb in the club house for the kick off of the Midleton Lip Sync where the Rugby Club taken on the GAA in the battle of the century.

 

 

Dec 122017
 

For the second time in 7 days, Bruff RFC bested the senior XV, but we managed to do enough to come away with a losing bonus point on both occasions.  Last weekend (2nd December) the final scoreline in Bruff was 17-13 to the homeside, Midleton points coming from the boot of Stuart Lee and a try from Aidan Ware.  While Rob Smyth’s men fought to the end, it was not to be enough to come out with the full complement of points.  This weekend (9th December) was a similar affair, with it going right to the end, with an impressive defensive effort from the travelling Bruff contingent.

Bruff had a dream start to the game when a out of hand kick in the middle of the pitch was knocked on close to the home side’s line, giving them a good platform in a scrum that was impressive seven days earlier.  The solid platform gave the backs a chance to attack straight off the scrum, stepping inside the cover defence to go over from 10 yards out.  The ensuing chance to add on the extras drifted wide of the mark, 5 nil to the travellers with only 5 minutes played.

Midleton calmed down and started putting the phases together, giving Stuart Lee a good opportunity to launch some wide attacks, exploiting a tight defence.  This was helped by a strong set piece where young Denis Broderick shon, claiming a number of line outs against the head and frustrating many more.  However, one handling error after another gifted the ball and the majority of possession to the travelling Bruff side.

Good defense in the opposition 22 from Midleton caused a turn over, and then a penalty which Stu Lee added, after failing an earlier attempt.  However, it was to be the handling and un forced errors that were to be the story of the day, neither team with a perfect record, yet Midleton’s was considerably worse.  15 minutes in and the score is 3-5, in favour of the visitors.  Rob Smyth was using his men well, with big carries from the forwards before providing clean quick ball for Lee to exploit the gaps.  This resulted in a number of half breaks from second centre, Dan Murray, which would put Midleton in the driving seat.  However, the errors kept coming with either a knock on or an infringement at the breakdown.

A strong passage of play where forwards and backs interlinked nicely gave Lee a chance to chip over the top of the rush defence, letting Dan Murray run onto it and get to within 5 of the line after stepping two covering defenders. The ball was moved wide quick to where the space is, however, Bruff got a hand to it and put the ball into touch on their own 22.  The packs accuracy at the lineout continued, giving Lee the platform he needed to attack from.  The result was another defensive infringement for not rolling away after the tackle, and another 3 points from the boot of Lee.

It was Bruff’s turn to put the pressure on now, with a scrum that didn’t falter all day they had a good opportunity to attack from, which they did from the centre of the pitch.  Good carries from forwards coming around the corner and then the backs whipping back blind side, trying to catch the defense unawares put them into the Home side’s 22.  However, handling errors again as Midleton turned over the ball and relieved the pressure.  The tackling from the young Bruff side was immense all day and did not give the big Midleton ball carriers the chance to exploit the gaps which inevitably turn up after a number of phases.  And so finished the first half, 6-5.

Midleton got points on the board early, with a turnover from the kick off, giving Lee the chance to make it 9-5, which he took.  The story of the second went much the same as the first, with handling errors and mistakes ruling the game.  Unfortunately these handling errors were to prove very costly, as they led to two tries for the visitors.  One try came from a dropped ball in the backs off a scrum, which was hacked ahead by the Bruff defence to dive on it under the posts.  This came after some great play from both sides, putting immense pressure on each other and constantly forcing the errors.  9-14 to Bruff.

This got the visitors tails up and they started attacking with more ferocity as well as guile, finding the space where there was none.  The second try came from a penalty for a high tackle, this was kicked to the corner and then mauled forward.  The home side appeared to get the push on, however, Bruff managed to slip down the blindside and over the line.  9-19 in favour of the visitors.

A huge attacking effort from Midleton resulted in a huge defensive effort from Bruff, as the home side were camped on the 5 metre line for much of the remaining 15 minutes.  All that was to come of this was another penalty from Lee to make the scores 12-19, as they would finish.

Taking the positives from the game was the set piece, especially at lineout time where a number of wins against the head stopped Bruff’s momentum at key moments.  The backs looked menacing when the ball went to hand, and the defense looked strong  despite one or two lapses of concentration.  The next game is not until the 6th of January, away to Malahide.  With 8 games left, Midleton need to win as many as possible, and having come so close in so many (two draws and five losing bonus points) it is clear to see that we are so close to getting on top, and if the bounce of the ball had gone our way in those games we would be table toppers!

SAVE THE DATE!! 18th of March 2018 Midleton RFC are teaming up with Midleton GAA for a Lip Sync extravaganza! However, this will not be possible without volunteers, we need acts to take part! Please, if you or anyone you know is interested get in contact with John Silke on 087 798 3357