DLSP 13 Midleton 7 – Ulster Bank All Ireland League
A wet and windy day at Kirwan park for the fourth round of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League as DLSP host Midleton. It will prove to be a frustrating day for the visitors as we try to get our game going but are late to get started. DLSP get the game underway, hard to say what way the wind is blowing as its blustery and appears to be from all directions. Midleton give a penalty and inside the first minute DLSP have a chance to put points on the board, however the penalty shot is wide. Midleton restart and try to press an attack winning a penalty and a chance to journey to the DLSP half of the pitch and a shot is lined up however Midleton kick wide – DLSP 0 Midleton 0 with about 8 minutes played.
The game is restarted and DLSP are quickly back in the Midleton half pressing their attack and are soon rewarded with their second scoring opportunity from a penalty against Midleton for not rolling away. This one is in front of the posts and is over for 3 points. With 10 minutes played its DLSP 03 Midleton 0.
Straight from the restart the home team are attacking again and manage to break through and make a run for the line – the Midleton defence get back in time to defend and hold DLSP eventually winning a scrum for a knock on. The Midleton scrum is good and a penalty results. Fly Half Christian Walker’s kick does not find touch as the wind plays havoc with any attempt at precision from the boot. It will be a feature of todays encounter that the margin for error and territory in the game will come down to the bounce of the ball, unfortunately the bounce was not with us a lot of the time.
Midleton win the ball back and this time Christian’s kick finds touch close to the DLSP 22. DLSP win the lineout though and a box kick with about 14 minutes played sees play back down the field for another lineout. Midleton win this lineout and go to the maul. In the attack though Midleton give a penalty for holding on and the initiative is back with DLSP and play is back to the halfway line for a DLSP throw. DLSP pile on the pressure, they can sense something is going to come their way and their efforts are rewarded with the first try of the afternoon in the corner. The conversion is not there and the score stands at DLSP 8 Midleton 0.
Midleton need to start building pressure and need to get a score on the board to settle the team. Midleton restart but are immediately under pressure again. DLSP, without a win the completion thus far, are hungry for their first home win and it shows. Midleton knock on and it’s a scrum to DLSP. Midleton get the ball and try to go forward but lose the ball in open play. DLSP attack again, kicking forward and chasing to get their second try. The ball goes dead and Midleton get a chance to clear their lines. There is about 30 minutes played and Midleton start to attack again – there is now more urgency about the Midleton effort as they look to press forward, winning a penalty that takes play to close to the DLSP line. DLSP are defending hard and Midleton win the Scrum. Infringements on the scrum by DLSP eventually lead to the referee declaring a penalty try to Midleton, Chris easily converts and with about 35 minutes played its DLSP 8 Midleton 7.
Better play now by Midleton and they attack again however a penalty is given away.. DLSP gather and attack, a missed tackle sees DLSP running again to the line. DLSP kick and chase, Midleton full back Diarmuid O’Sullivan gets there first, gathers and clears to the 10 meter line. DLSP take it and run at the Midleton defence again. This passage of play is intense and on the Midleton line, ruck after ruck from DLSP but Midleton discipline holds and they defend strongly to thwart DLSP efforts. Its Halftime, score is DLSP 8 Midleton 7.
Midleton start the second half and as the weather worsens it does not look good for the visitors. DLSP kick back to the Midleton half, and Midleton look to run the ball, DLSP stand firm though and the resulting play leads to a Midleton lineout on their own 10m line, but we lose it. DLSP attack but knock on and it’s a scrum to Midleton. Midleton look to get out of their own half and again some great defending see the lines cleared and play taken back down to the DLSP 10m line. In this second half this will be one of the few journeys the Midleton men will make this close to the DLSP line though. The lineout is crooked and it’s a scrum to Midleton and another attack is mounted. A Midleton knock on results and DLSP have a scrum on their own 10m. There is a period of heavy rain now and its bitterly cold with about 15 minutes of the second half played. Midleton give a penalty away in the scrum and DLSP have a chance to clear but don’t find touch.
Midleton attack and are rewarded with a scrum but lose the ball in the resulting attack. DLSP mount a great run that results with Midleton defending on their line. Fighting hard to keep DLSP out their efforts are rewarded with a penalty with about 20 minutes played and Midleton clear to their 10m line. Another lineout lost, and a Midleton injury sees play temporally stopped. Play restarts with a DLSP scrum and Midleton are defending again, winning the penalty with about 15 minutes to go.
Christian kicks but does not find touch and Midleton are defending again knocking on around half way for a DLSP scrum. DLSP win a penalty and kick for a lineout just inside halfway. The lineout is judged to be not straight and Midleton get the scrum. Midleton lose the ball, and DLSP mount a quick attack driving towards the Midleton line.
The next period of play is intense and seems to never leave the Midleton 22. Midleton are defending hard, the ball is turned over more than once by both sides and all Midleton attempts to get out of their 22 are failing but they are defending like nobody’s business. The way the game is going, its obvious now that whoever scores next will surely seal the win. David Lee makes his first return of the season as hooker for Midleton with about 10 minutes to go. DLSP win the ball and attack again. All this pressure inside the Midleton 22 eventually pays off and DLSP are rewarded with a try. The conversion is missed so the score stands at DLSP 13 Midleton 7.
Midleton try to mount an attack from the restart, DLSP kick the ball back to the Midleton half, and the ball looks to going to touch, but typical for how the day has gone for Midleton the bounce is back inside and catches Midleton Fullback O’Sullivan wrong footed and forces a knock on around the 10m line towards the centre of the pitch. Scrum to DLSP and Midleton are anxious now to hold onto the losing bonus point. DLSP attack but knock on and Midleton try to garner something. Midleton push forward and there is lineout to DLSP. They then win a penalty and kick to inside the Midleton 22. The resulting play leads to a Midleton scrum close to their own line and this looks to be the last play of the game nothing comes from it and the Referee blows for fulltime.
The Midleton defence on the day was excellent and certainly responsible for ensuring at least the losing bonus point. DLSP wanted the win more it seemed and fought hard for it. Midleton had to defend constantly in the game and the team can be proud of how they were able to hold out DLSP to come away with something from the encounter.