CARLOW 25 MONKSTOWN 19: AFTER 10 weeks of heartbreak, frustration and some near misses, Carlow's rugby team came good in their 11th Leinster League game last Saturday with a fine 25-19 away win to the Dublin side Monkstown.
With only three games remaining, the turnaround is too late to rescue their league status but it will gee them up for the Town's Cup which kicks off on January 27 next.
The win against Monkstown was achieved with some stylish play including Carlow's three tries to Monkstown's two.
The scoring opened with a Ritchie Whyte penalty on 15 minutes after a period of Carlow pressure. Monkstown hit back on 20 minutes with an unconverted try. On the half hour mark came the move of the game; Carlow's young winger Ian Costigan pirouetted in the smallest of space beside the touchline, offloaded to Wes Shirley and from him the ball was recycled to number 10 Ritchie Whyte who cross kicked for the other winger Jeff McDermott to gather, beat the fullback, and score. Whyte converted to give Carlow a 10 - 5 interval lead.
Monkstown levelled the score with an uncoverted try in the corner following a strong second half start. The teams exchanged penalties to make it 13-13. Monkstown went 16-13 up with another penalty and the Carlow supporters feared the worst. But a sweet grubber kick to the corner from Whyte was chased by Carlow's speedy backs. Monkstown were penned, the Carlow forward cavalry arrived and forced over a try with Mark Slye getting the touchdown. Whyte converted to make it Carlow 20 Monkstown 16.
It got better still, on their own 22 metre line Carlow demolished a Monkstown scrum, Joe Bulmer picked up and ran. The ball was passed through three pairs of hands. From a ruck on the half way the ball came back to Whyte who kicked diagonally to the corner. A turbo charged Ian Costigan came from 10 yards back to skin the opposition full back and score Carlow's third try. Whyte missed the conversion but Carlow were now 25 points to 16 ahead. A late penalty to make it 25-19 was the only Monkstown reply.
Carlow's performance was all the more impressive as they lost their captain Barry Waddock in the pre match warm up. Wes Shirley moved to number 8 with Thomas Whitney came into the second row.
Along with Whyte, Costigan, Dempsey and Shirley all of the pack put in a storming performance.
Earlier at the same venue Carlow seconds side lost to their Monkstown counterparts by 36 points to 21. Carlow had tries by Barry Murphy, Brian Diskin and Tom Bologer, all of which were converted by Matt Dempsey who went on to play well in the J1 match.
Carlow J 1 team: Barry Purcell, Jeff McDermott, James Waddock, Martin O'Neill, Ian Costigan, Richard Whyte, Alan Nolan, Larry McGrath, Mark Slye, Chris Byrne, John Lyons, Thomas Whitney, Ed Keating, Wes Shirley(Capt), Joe Bulmer. Subs used. Matt Dempsey for Martin O'Neill (50 mins), John Farrell for Mark Slye (70 mins), Peter Rogers for Thomas Whitney (60 mins).