Midleton 35 Ards 3
A perfect day again at Townspark, 19 degrees and the sun was shining as the teams took to the field. Christian Walker gets play under way for Midleton’s second outing in the 13/14 All Ireland league campaign. Midleton are up quick but a knock on gives Ards a scrum 2 minutes in. Great Midleton play results in a penalty, Christian steps up and from about the 10m line puts it over to give Midleton the first score of the day. Mideton 03 Ards 0.
Ards restart, Midleton defend well and Chris clears for the first lineout of the afternoon. Ards take and despite a handling error from Ards they manage to hold on and it’s a Midleton foul that sees a penalty kick to the Midleton 10m line. Midleton defend well and earn a penalty to relive the pressure with about 10 minutes played these two teams are still testing each other looking for weaknesses. Midleton attack off the lineout and pass the Ards 10m line; but a knock on results in a scrum to Ards. Midleton win the scrum and drive forward to the Ards line but are penalised to holding on.
Ards clear to 10m, but Midleton win the lineout and then push with a Maul. Another penalty against Midleton for going in off their feet relieves the pressure on Ards and they get to clear to just inside the Midleton half. Ards attack and make a break but are held by the Midleton defence. Midleton prop Kevin Brierly is off for a blood substitution replaced by Donovan. Play is down on the Midleton 5m line and Midleton are defending well when Midleton lock Aidan McCarthy grabs a loose ball and makes a breaking run up the line then kicks to the Ards half. Midleton then win their second penalty and Christian has another kick but this one is wide. With just over 20 minutes played the score stands at Midleton 03 Ards 0.
Ards win another scrum, but the dominant Midleton pack, growing in confidence, force a penalty and Christian has another shot on goal; this time he splits the posts to make it Midleton 06 Ards 0. The Midleton scrum will dominate in this encounter and that is a telling part of the eventual victory.
Brierly is back on and with the restart Ards win the ball and make a break to the Midleton 5m line. Ards force the penalty and get their chance to claim their first points of the day but put it wide. The score stays Midleton 06 Ards 0. As play continues Midleton lose their own lineout and Ards take advantage and make a run for the line. Midleton are off the hook as a foot in touch with about 30 minutes played gives the ball back to Midleton for the lineout. Midleton win a free off the lineout and tap and go to advance again to the Ards half of the pitch. Midleton kick downfield and Ards make a break through the Midleton line, Christian manages to get back and make the tackle to halt the run. Midleton defend and give a penalty in front of the posts. An easy tap over for the Ards number ten sees the score as Midleton 06 Ards 03 with about 5 minutes of the half left to play.
Christian restarts but kicks out to bring play back to halfway and an Ards scrum. Again the dominant Midleton pack win the scrum and get a penalty that Christian kicks close to the 5m line. Midleton win the lineout but Ards manage to get the turnover and kick downfield. Midleton then attack and get into the Ards half winning a penalty. There is about 2 minutes left in the half at this point and Christian slots it over to make the halftime score Midleton 09 Ards 03.
Ards get play underway in the second half and the pressure from Midleton quickly sees play back to the Ards half and they are then forced to carry the ball into touch. Midleton win the lineout and go to the maul, Ards are then penalised for bringing it down and Midleton get the chance for another 3 points and Christian delivers. A great start to the second half: Midleton 12 Ards 03.
Play continues and Ards win another penalty inside their own half. Ards kick for the line, winning the lineout Midleton are then penalised for going in from the side at the ruck and Ards get a chance to kick at goal but miss. Midleton then go on the attack – Midleton winger Burns makes a great run and offloads to fellow winger Hitchmough for Midleton’s first try of the afternoon. Christian converts and it’s now Midleton 19 Ards 03.
Play is stopped as Midleton flanker Dave O’Sullivan is down and looks to be in pain. He eventually manages to walk off the pitch so hopefully it’s not too serious. The game restarts with an Ards scrum and Ards push forward in attack but don’t manage to get outside their own half. Midleton are defending well, then go on the attack but are again penalised. This time the referee shows the yellow and Midleton are down to 14. Ards kick their penalty to about halfway. Midleton are playing well and win another penalty that Chris again puts over to see the score now at Midleton 22 Ards 03.
Ards restart, but now Midleton, comfortable and full of confidence, get the ball back into the Ards half and attack again of the back of another kick and run from Midleton flanker Sean White. Midleton are then penalised for going in off their feet. Ards attack and Midleton defend but are again penalised and another yellow results. Undaunted, Midleton defend well on their own 5m line and some great play quickly sees the ball back in the Ards half and another Midleton penalty. Up steps Christian again and the margin grows to 22 as Midleton score again. Midleton-25 Ards-03. Ards restart but Midleton are straight back in Ards territory. There is no stopping Midleton now as they drive on, tails up, and about 15 minutes left on the clock and Christian takes a drop goal to make it Midleton-28 Ards-03.
After the restart Ards win a penalty kicking to the line. Midleton win the lineout and Fullback O’Sullivan again makes a great kick and chases it down. Ards gather and kick to touch. Midleton give away another penalty but win the Ards lineout and again O’Sullivan kicks and runs. Midleton then knock on but Midleton are dominant again in the scrum. Ards get a lineout and then a free, they tap and go bit Midleton are ready and the attack goes nowhere.
Some great Midleton attacking play then sees the game back into the Ards half, and with confidence Midleton drive forward for what ultimately is a try off great teamwork for the Midleton lock McCarthy with about 2 minutes left.
As Midleton register their first win of this year’s league there is a lot to be positive about. From 1 to 20, each player gave it their all to make sure the league campaign is well and truly back on track. The team is gelling well and the willingness of every player to put their best effort in, support each other and show a hunger to win is evident. Fergus and David are getting the job done and the team are responding well. So overall a great home display that ended with a dunking in the ice bath for head coach Fergus Burke on his Birthday!
Midleton Seniors next league match is October 26th at home to Suttonians. Next cup action is away to Cork Con on the 19th Oct.
Midleton: 1. Kevin Brierly, 2. Mike Sinclair, 3. Jim Mackassy, 4. Ryan Lehane, 5. Aidan McCarthy, 6. John Silke (C), 7. Dave O Sullivan, 8. Sean White, 9,Rob Colan O Leary, 10. Christian Walker, 11. Jeffery Hitchmough, 12. Bryan Morris, 13. Jayde Criuckshank, 14. Kieran Burns, 15. Diarmuid O Sullivan, 16. Coran Keane, 17. Donovan Gee, 18. Graham Mulcahy, 19. Danny May.
Ards: 1. Andrew Foster, 2. Matt Busby, 3. Colin McClure, 4. Gary Presho, 5. John Dpwey, 6.Rob McCausland (C), 7. Max Harrison, 8. Steven Minnis, 9. Mark Banford (VC), 10. Stuart Paul, 11. Gareth Wilson, 12. Scott Young, 13. Trevor Devlin, 14. Taylor Ferguson, 15. Paul Cox, 16. David Chivers (h), 17. Jonny Millar (p), 18. Gareth McBurney, 19. Peter Croan, 20. David Armstrong