Courtesy of: Jason Boyle, Club PRO
Skerries 13 Midleton 0
Stormy conditions for the latest AIL outing for Midleton when we travelled to Skerries. The first half was a tense affair with neither team giving much ground. Skerries got play underway with a low kick that is gathered easily and with a cross wind for the duration of the game both teams were hesitant to put boot to ball in any sort of searching way in the opening phase of the game.
Skerries attack well and probe the Midleton defence but are unable to find a way through. Play stays around the middle of the pitch for a lot of the half with both teams giving little away. The weather plays havoc with any structured play and a lot of scrums and frees result. Midleton on balance are much stronger in the scrum and at one point push for the line searching for a try but it's judged to be held up. So the first half ends scoreless.
Second half underway and it's all to play for. Skerries are in a new strip and come out with a strong attack. They are soon rewarded with a penalty and with the wind at their backs just to the right of the posts it's an easy 3 points for the home side. Skerries 3 Midleton 0.
Play underway again and Midleton go searching with some great attacking play but under tough conditions errors start to creep in on both sides, but to eventually its to the home teams advantage as Skerries win another penalty. Now the game stands at Skerries 6 Midleton 0.
Midleton are still searching for that opening in the Skerries defence but the attack from the home side sees them advance towards the Midleton line. The attack starts on the left and some strong disciplined play sees the ball recycled well and it's a try to the home side. With the conversion it's Skerries 13 Midleton 0.
The last 20 minutes of the game is all about Midleton. The attacking is organised and structured however the conditions work against us and despite at one point being camped on the Skerries line for the best part of 10 minutes the scores were not forthcoming.
So the games ended, our first scoreless game this season; but a lot of positives are there to take from the match. The team should great resolve and discipline in adverse conditions and the scoreline does little to reflect the actual effort and commitment that was shown on the day.
Next up is Boyne away where we expect a tough home encounter.
Courtesy of Dermot Keyes, Club PRO
Munster Junior League Division Three: Carrick-on-Suir 16 Charleville 3
Carrick maintained their promotion hopes with an excellent 16-3 victory over Charleville in a suitably soggy Tybroughney on Sunday which has, to be fair, held up superbly in the wake of the recent spell of poor weather.
A try from captain David Kiersey, which was converted by Charlie Boland, in addition to three penalties which Charlie also bisected the uprights with, ensures that Carrick remain in contention for a Division Two slot as the business end of the season approaches.
Just as Ireland's conceding only six points to Scotland yesterday made for impressive reading, to limit the Cork visitors to a single penalty speaks volumes for the quality of Carrick's defence, for our application at the breakdown and, most critically of all, the excellent discipline levels which the team has demonstrated more often than not this season.
It's worth noting that Carrick have conceded just 74 points in seven league matches to date this season, and should the lads continue to keep the points against tally at a rate of barely more than 10 points a match, then they're certainly giving themselves every chance of achieving the season's ultimate objective.
Abbeyfeale's impressive 35-7 win in Scariff leaves the Limerick side on top of the table with 28 points after seven matches, with Dungarvan in second spot on points difference. Just four points separate third placed Ballincollig (21 points from five matches) and Carrick (17 points from six matches), with Carrigaline sandwiched between both (20 points from seven matches).
Carrick's margin for error for the remaining four matches is incredibly narrow; three wins from four ought to be enough to secure a promotion play-off spot but even such a sequence of results does not, at the time of writing, guarantee such a berth.
But when one considers that Carrick lost two of their opening three matches this season (and that defeat in Dungarvan continues to craw in the gut), the mettle the team has demonstrated in winning three matches on the bounce over such a storm-interrupted winter speaks volumes for the character and attitude of the squad.
So what lies ahead? Carrigaline are scheduled to visit Tybroughney on February 16th and another home win will put Carrick a point ahead of the visitors and into the top four for the first time this season.
And that will be followed by the trip to high-flying Abbeyfeale on March 2nd, and a home fixture with Ballincollig on March 9th. All three teams are above Carrick in the table, and given the scrap that's likely to be waged in the home stretch of the season, you couldn't wish for a more exciting conclusion to the 'regular' season.
All that remains thereafter is the re-arranged trip to Scariff, who've lost all seven League matches they've played thus far, with a scoring differential of minus 159 points, so one would expect a suitably motivated Carrick to go to Clare and get the job done.
Those above Carrick are bound to have the odd slip-up between now and the end of this intriguing campaign, and while two more home wins and a victory in Scariff may be enough to keep Carrick's promotion hopes alive, the only guarantee to end a season of gutsy endeavour will be to win each of the remaining four matches.
And after three wins on the bounce, you can't bet against our First XV at present.
PS: If anyone finds a tooth in Tybroughney over the next few days, Sean Fitzpatrick is keen to be re-united with it!
Under-16: Carrick-on-Suir 10 Thurles 17
Our Under-16s put in a fine showing against Thurles in a saturated, windswept Tybroughney yesterday, but alas their best efforts just fell short against visiting Thurles, who emerged victorious on a 17-10 scoreline.
The match was played on a 14-a-side basis, with Thurles proving agreeable to three of their players lining out in Carrick colours to supplement our starting team.
Unfortunately, one of our own players picked up a knock and given the numbers situation couldn't be replaced, so we ended the match with 13 players, which certainly proved a factor in our coming out on the wrong side of the scoreline.
Nonetheless, there was no disgrace or anything of the sort in this defeat for our lads, who hadn't played a game for some considerable time.
Thurles themselves haven't had too much rugby of late either so both sides were delighted with the run-out, with Carrick due to return the favour by visiting Thurles for a return fixture. Thanks to Thurles for the match and we look forward to seeing our Under-16s in action again very, very soon!
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