Provincial Towns Cup
By Harry Shorthose
TULLOW eased through to the next round of the Provincial Towns Cup with a comfortable win over their Kildare opponents at Black Gates on Sunday. With Newbridge playing their rugby in the division below Tullow, and struggling at the bottom of the table, there was pressure on Tullow to win this game in a competition that holds a lot of significance for the hosts.
Newbridge offered very little resistance to the Tullow forwards at times and found the Tullow defence hard to break down for most of the game.
From the word go, Tullow put the pressure on the Newbridge defence and were awarded a penalty for their efforts three minutes in as Sean Doyle was taken out in the air five meters out from the tryline.
They kicked to the corner and won the ensuing lineout. Newbridge knocked on and Tullow were awarded a five metre scrum. They struggled to control the ball and were forced to play out wide to Ryan O’Neill on the left wing. He skipped past the Newbridge defenders to touch down for the opening try after six minutes. Paul Canavan pulled the conversion wide from a difficult angle on the touchline.
Four minutes later, William Jennings got in behind the Tullow defence but a last-gasp tackle denied them the try.
Newbridge were awarded a five metre scrum which allowed Karl Darragh to find space and touch down near the posts. They missed the ensuing conversion in front of the posts.
Midway through the half, Tullow fought back and got their second try of the game. Some good pressure forced a penalty which Tullow chose to scrum five meters out. Stephen Smith grabbed the ball from the back and went through the gap to touch down under the posts. Canavan added two points from the conversion.
Three minutes later, Darragh pulled back three points for Newbridge from a penalty from 22 meters out in front of the posts. On the half-hour mark, Canavan converted a penalty of his own to bring the gap back to seven points.
On the verge of half-time, John Hanbidge scored his second try in eight days when some good work from a lineout found Smith who passed to Hanbidge in the gap and he scored by the posts. Canavan converted easily to stretch Tullow’s lead to more than seven for the first time in the game.
Newbridge pushed hard to get another try before the break as they forced their way into the 22 but Tullow’s defence held firm.
Tullow dominated in the second half but it would be 12 minutes before they scored. A five-metre scrum was driven over the line by the pack with Smith touching the ball down right next to the posts. Canavan converted with ease.
Ten minutes from time, Tullow should have added another when Newbridge failed to clear a penalty five meters out and gave it straight back to Tullow in the 22. However, Tullow gave away a scrum and were penalised, allowing Newbridge to clear their lines.
Before the final whistle blew, there was time for one final try from Tullow as James O’Brien drove over after a sustained period of pressure. Canavan added the conversion.
Tullow have drawn Naas away in the second round.
Tullow: Sean Doyle, Phillip Deane, Mavae Muru Teutau, Keiaho Bloomfield, Ryan O’Neill, Paul Canavan, Dylan Leybourne; Scott Caldbeck, Sam Corrigan, Thomas Cashen, Martin Cole, Jack McDonald, Kyle Hanbidge, John Hanbidge, Stephen Smith. Subs: Jordan Leybourne, Shane Rohan, William O’Brien, Louis Kilcoyne, James O’Brien.