Leinster League Division 1B
De La Salle Palmerston 12
CARLOW eked out their third Leinster League win in a row at Oak Park on Sunday when they overcame Dublin side De La Salle Palmerston.
At the half way stage, this win leaves Carlow fourth in the table on 19 points, just one point ahead of near neighbours Tullow.
Sunday’s game at Oak Park was a closely contested affair with three of the four tries coming from opposition mistakes.
The exception was De La Salle’s first try scored by their Swedish born full-back Richard Nunstedt on eight minutes. The unconverted try followed sustained pressure from the visitors who had worked the ball from the half way.
Four minutes later Wes Shirley pounced on a dropped De La Salle ball and ran in from 10 metres. Ritchie Whyte added the conversion to put his side ahead 7-5.
Coming up to the end of the half Carlow exerted huge pressure and looked odds on to get a try. Instead the ball was intercepted by Kevin Burke who ran the length of the field to touchdown under the home posts. This put the Dublin side ahead 12-7 at half time.
Try as they might, the Oak Park side failed to penetrate the visitors for the next 30 minutes. Carlow conceded numerous penalties which too often let De La Salle out of jail. But the Dublin team too made a raft of errors. Of the seven games played in the league to date, De La Salle have won one but they have earned losing bonus points in the other six. This sort of record must breed nervousness and indeed they played on Sunday like a side short on confidence.
Carlow, on the other hand, are showing resilience this season. As the game entered the final quarter De La Salle had a scrum five metres from their line. Carlow, with fresh men John Farrell and Ross Byrne in the front row, got the shunt on the visiting scrum.
This allowed Carlow scrumhalf Isaac Daly pressurise his opposite number’s pass to the outhalf. Daly’s outstretched hand knocked the ball into the air. He caught it coming down and touched down for a try.
Ritchie Whyte’s conversion from half way out put the home side into a 14-12 lead.
De La Salle raised their game for the next 10 minutes. They were awarded three kickable penalties in and around the Carlow 22. The first was kicked to the corner only to lose the lineout. The other two were aimed at the posts. One was narrowly wide and final attempt was totally skewed.
Then it fell to Carlow to have the final say and again it was a dominant scrum that did the damage. From a scrum in the centre of the park, the Dublin side backpeddled for 10 metres when conceding a penalty. In the final play of the game Ritchie Whyte, split the posts for another three points.
Both sides were missing players through injury.
Absent for Carlow were the Farrell twins Ronan and Barra, Kiwi Sam O’Brien and prop Alan Byrne, who could be long-term absentees.
Also missing were winger Seamus Curran and full-back Rob Browne. The subs who played, including Martin Mullins and Chris Challe, put in good shifts. Next week Carlow travel to Monkstown in Dublin who lie one place ahead in the league table.
Carlow: Fiach Millward, Jeff McDermott, David McDermott, Ritchie Whyte (c), Graham Brennan, John Whyte, Isaac Daly, Larry McGrath, Joe Gorman, John Lyons, Wes Shirley, Thomas Whitney, John Murphy, Martin Mullins, Ross Elmes. Subs: Ross Byrne, John Farrell, Chris Challe, Dara Mullins, Fionnan Burke
De La Salle Palmerston 22
Carlow seconds led 17-0 at half time against DLSP at Oak Park on Sunday but still suffered a five-point defeat.
They looked good value for their first half lead following tries from Eddie Keating, Sam Dunne and Fionnan Burke plus a Harry Hennessey conversion. Carlow followers on the sideline even reckoned that their team fluffed other openings for scores during the first half.
However four minutes into the second half the visitors got a soft try. This gave them enough confidence to push on. Meanwhile, Carlow lapsed into a series of dropped passes, penalty concessions and wasteful kicking. De La Salle added two more tries, both converted to give them a 19-17 lead. This was stretched to 22-17 with a penalty.
Another penalty to put De La Salle ahead by eight points, which would have deprived Carlow of a losing bonus point, came back off the post.
In the final five minutes, Carlow got back around the visitors’ 22 but never really looked like breaking their defence.
Despite their second loss in the last two games, Carlow lie second in the table one point behind Coolmine.
Carlow will be hoping that a team which was doing so well early in the season will rediscover their form for next week’s visit to Monkstown in Dublin.
Carlow: Tom Bolger, Willie Kelly, Simon Walshe, Fionnan Burke, Cuan Burke, Harry Hennessey, Alec Crossley, Owen Edgehill, Evan Gordon, Mark Slye, Anthony Mannion, Fred Leonard, Rhys Edgehill, Sam Dunne, E Keating (c). Subs: Liam Doran, Dominic Rice, Daniel Nemec, Mike Sheeran, William Wellwood, Aidan Wiebenger