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Naas 2nds XV 6 - Tullow 11   23/01/2018

Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup First Round

Naas 2nds XV 6 - Tullow 11

Holders Tullow progressed to the second round of the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup with a hard fought victory over Naas 2nds last Sunday. Firstly credit must go the ground staff of Naas and the many volunteers who ensured that this game went ahead despite the dreadful weather conditons. It took a number of pitch inspections by referee Barry Maloney before the green light was given, and there is no doubt the game could not have taken place without all their hard work. Secondly a word for all the players on show. They made light of the bad weather to serve up an absorbing contest for the large crowd in attendance. 

The vistors started very brightly and soon pinned Naas back into their own 22. Some superb handling led to their first score after six minutes. After going through a series of phases the Naas backs were penalised for going offside, and Patrick McCall made no mistake with the penalty. This lead was doubled after 13 minutes. Naas tried to run a ball from their own try line, but after being stopped they were penalised for hands in the ruck, and again McCall was on target.

Naas gradually worked their way into the game, with Conor Doyle, Stephen Lackey and Cillian Dempsey taking the game to the big Tullow pack. However after 32 minutes they fell further behind. Martin Cole took the ball at a lovely angle which split the Naas defence, and forced the home side to give away a penalty. This time Tullow spurned a shot at goal and went for touch. From the line-out they set up a driving maul and then gave the ball to scrum-half Dylan Leybourne who squeezed in for a try.

The conversion was missed but Naas suffered another set back when Ross Bailey Kearney received a yellow card just before half-time. Soon afterwards the referee blew for the interval with Naas 11 points behind.

A storming second-half almost saw Naas overcome this deficit. They reduced it on 52 minutes. Paulie Tolofua made a great break, and it took a high tackle by Patrick McCall to stop him. The latter received a yellow card and Cillian Dempsey slotted over the penalty.

After 62 minutes Naas squandered a glorious chance. Conor Doyle ran through the Tullow defence, and when he was stopped the ball was quickly recycled. Naas had a three man overlap, but nobody straightened the line and the scrambling Tullow defence managed to force them into touch. Although he missed a penalty on 77 minutes, Cillian Dempsey was successful with another one on 81 minutes, which set up a grandstand finish with the referee indicating that there was still three minutes injury time to be played.

However despite losing another player to a yellow card, and a storming Naas effort, Tullow held on for victory. So despite a gallant effort Naas must wait at least another year to lift this famous trophy, while on this performance Tullow will make a bold bid to retain the cup.

Don't forget that Naas are back in AIL action next Friday when they entertain Old Belvedere. Kick-off is at 7.30pm and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Naas: Niall Delahunt, Shane Thompstone, Ross Bailey Kearney, Divan Fick, Rob O'Connor, John O'Brien, Max Whittingham, Stephen Lackey, Charlie Kings, Conor Doyle, Kevin Downey, Paul Monahan, Andrew Kearney, Warren Larkin, Cillian Dempsey. 

Replacements: Cathal Duff, Eoin Tierney, Paulie Tolofua, Ben O' Connor, Niall O'Neill.



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