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St. Marys College 18 – Naas 11   15/02/2019

After putting up a tremendous first half defensive display, and working their way into a match winning position in the second, Naas suffered a disappointing defeat in this Division 1B AIL game last Friday night.

A huge crowd turned up at Templeville Road for this clash, and they were greated by a gale force breeze which Marys played with at their backs in the first half. The strength of it meant that Naas struggled to get out of their own half and therefore had to defend constantly. They did this admirably and effectively, and for the first 15 minutes they never allowed the home side a sniff of a chance. However on 19 minutes Marys finally managed to score. They drove Naas back in a scrum on the ten yard line, winning a penalty in the process. This was duly dispatched into the 22, and from the line-out a fine back line move saw Hugo Conway run clear to score. Patrick O’Driscoll added the conversion to give Marys a 7-0 lead.

On 24 minutes they increased their advantage. Naas were penalised for accidental offside giving Marys a scrum. From this they went through the phases, before Naas were again penalised for hands in a ruck giving O’Driscoll an easy penalty chance in front of the posts, and the same player was again successful with another kick on 31 minutes to increased the lead to 13.

However Naas finished the half strongly. A superb break by Peter Hastie took Naas into the Marys half winning a penalty in the process. This was dispatched into touch and from the line-out a great driving maul was set up. This drove Marys right back over the try-line and referee Dan Carson had no hesitation in awarding the try to Conor Doyle. Although the conversion was missed Naas were right back in the game and it could have got a whole lot better on the stroke of half-time. They won another line-out near the Marys line, and were just about to attack the line but the referee deemed that the throw had not been straight and the home side escaped.

The half-time whistle went straight away with Naas trailing by 13-5, but certainly an eight point deficit was acceptable given the conditions. However like somebody hit a switch the winds ferocity reduced greatly, but this did not stop Naas from dominating the second half. However it took them 15 minutes to get another score, which came when the Marys backs were offside and Peter Osborne punished the offence. Although the latter was narrowly wide with another attempt on 67 minutes, just three minutes later he made amends when slotting a penalty from 40 yards out to make the score 13-11.

At this stage there looked to be only winner. Althought trailing by two points Naas were on top and also had the benefit of what wind at their backs remained. However they were to make a big mistake on 73 minutes that cost them dearly. They elected to run a ball from deep in their own half, but coughed up possession and before they knew it they were standing behind their own posts after a Marys counter attack saw Rory Shields score. They conversion was missed giving Naas a glimmer of a draw with the score at 18-11.

However to their credit Marys saw out the closing minutes quite easily and defeat was to Naas’ lot, although they did claim a losing bonus point. This defeat sees Naas slip to fifth in the league table but they have a quick chance to make amends this Saturday when they entertain league leaders Malone. Kick-off is a 2.30pm and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Naas: Fionn Higgins, Ben O’Connor, Ross Baily Kearney, Johne Murphy, Niall Delahunt, Peter Hastie, Peter Osborne, Jordan Duggan, Conor Doyle, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Ryan Casey, James Connolly, Paulie Tolofua.Replacements: Cathal Duff, Jack Barry, Eoin Walsh, Ricci Gauthier, Eoin Walsh.


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