Cill Dara ........................12
Sunday provided a warm balmy morning and the dry conditions suggested the opening game of the U15 Leinster Metro Cup would be entertaining and exciting, and so it proved to be. While the score board suggested an easy victory for Naas, there was nothing further from the truth. The well drilled Cill Dara side were not there to make up the numbers. Throughout the game they took the challenge to their bigger opponents and made them work hard for their scores.
Naas opened brightly with the backs getting good ball from their forwards. Brian Heveran’s quick feed from the base of the rucks and scrums provided plenty of good ball for his maurading out-half Michael Sheridan and the powerful running centres Ryan Casey and Adam Byrne. This pressure resulted in two early tries for Ryan Casey, one of which was converted. The Cill Dara pack, although smaller in stature, proved to be both combative and very effective in the scrums and they caused Naas a lot of trouble throughout. This quality work gave the visitors many opportunities to test the Naas defence. Sean Mc Namee, Charles Weir and Cian Dillon showed that they were ready for the challenge putting in strong tackles and creating opportunities for their team mates.
With four of their players over six feet tall, Naas were always likely to dominate the line-outs however, once they secured possession the Cill Dara pack put in very tough challenges, frequently dislodging the ball in the tackle. On the ground Cill Dara held their own. The Naas second rows, Eoin Campbell and James Nolan, were dominating the Cill Dara lineouts giving the strong running backs plenty of handling opportunities. The next two tries for Naas came courtesy of the pack with the first coming from strong running by hooker David O’Brien who laid off to team captain Oisin Walsh who charged over for an unconverted try. The final score of the half went to Cill Dara. Having retained the ball in the pack they gained hard yards into the Naas half. A quick break down the touchline took the move into the corner. Despite strong initial defence the forwards got the ball again forcing Naas to concede a try out wide. The first half score finished Naas 22 : 5 Cill Dara.
The second half continued very much like the first with Naas running hard and trying to break through the Cill Dara defence. The back three of Eoin Grogan, Alan Carey and Shane O’Hagan showed composure under the high ball and when the opportunity arose they showed pace down the wings. From one of these runs the ball was released to a strong running Ryan Casey who went wide to score his third try close in. Following a similar break the ball was passed to centre Cian O’Brien who cut back to his left to score close in for a converted try. Naas lost Brian Heveran, Ryan Casey and Oisin Walsh to injury during the second half, however their replacements were up to the challenge. As in the first half Cill Dara never gave up. With three minutes left on the clock they worked the ball into the Naas 22 and following several rucks forced a try, which was converted, close in to leave the final score 41 points to 12.
Naas Squad: Eoin Grogan, Shane O’ Hagan, Cian O’ Brien, Allan Carey, Ryan Casey, Adam Byrne, Michael Sheridan, Brian Heveran, Oisin Walsh, David O’Brien, Ger Connolly, Eoin Campbell, James Nolan, Cian Dillon, Sean Mc Namee, Charles Weir, Robbie Corcoran, Tom O’ Dowd, Cormac McCann, Andrew Fitzmaurice, John Waters.
Cill Dara Squad: Josh McGowan, Conor Phelan, Sean Fortune, Denis Dunne, Andrew Paige, Padraig Wall, Adam Harrington, James Lacey, Conor Malone, Liam Cleary, Daryl Robinson, Stuart Gray, Mark Kavanagh, Danny Duggan, Steven Whelan, Gordan Kenna, Ronan McDonald, Adam Conway, Evan Fenton, Eddie Mather, Danny Delaney, Michael Caldwell.