Leinster beat Ulster by 48 points to 3 on Saturday last in an Under-18 interprovincial. Up and coming New Ross man Robbie Vallejo scored two tries and looks certain to be selected for next weekend's inter-pro final.
All at New Ross R.F.C. wish Leinster and Robbie well.
Back on South-East League duty, the Under-19s travelled to Wicklow on Saturday wanting to continue the form from pre-Christmas, but the home side got off to the better start, scoring an unconverted try after ten minutes. Ross then set about the task of trying to get into a rhythm but this proved difficult to achieve, with good episodes of play being interspersed with periods of errorstrewn play.
This continued throughout the game. Barry Walsh got the scoreline ticking with a penalty after 25 minutes and this left the half-time score at 5-3 to the home side.
General play improved in the secondhalf with the line-out becoming more dominant and Ross gaining the upper hand in the scrum. Eanna Burke finally breached to Wicklow whitewash after eight minutes after good work from the forwards, with quick ball being delivered through Gavin Mernagh, Barry Walsh and Seán Crowdle, setting speed merchant Burke free to add to his already prodigious try-scoring count this year.
Shortly afterwards, Barry Walsh added another penalty. At this stage, Ross were getting the better of the tight exchanges and missed out on scoring at least another two tries when overlaps were not exploited. With ten minutes left, Ross got another period of good play going with quick re-cycling setting up a bullocking charge by Robbie Larkin who scored, leaving some Wicklow players to rue their decision to challenge him. Late on, Wicklow scored a converted try after an interception in midfield to leave the final score 16-15 to the visitors.
Contenders for man of the match included back-rowers Joe Coughlan and Eoin Quirke, but the award goes to No. 8 and captain Seán Grace for leading from the front.
Squad: Mark Murphy, John Caulfield, Kevin Browne, Bryan Haberlin, Robbie Larkin, Joe Coughlan, Eoin Quirke, Seán Grace (capt.), Gavin Mernagh, Barry Walsh, Seán Crowdle, Eanna Burke, Alex Mackenzie, Michael Coyne, Nathan Prendergast, Conor Dempsey, Callum Wallace.
The Under-17 team faced a large Enniscorthy team in a friendly in Enniscorthy on Saturday last. The match started with New Ross coming close to scoring a couple of times. Inch by inch Enniscorthy were driven back until Adam Swan broke the gain line and touched the ball down near to the lefthand touchline.
Swan gave himself a hard conversion because of the angle and the strong wind. Unfortunately, the ball skinned the far post and went wide. After that New Ross dominated the match and the forwards took the ball from the line-out and drove to the five-metre line.
Eventually Michael Tench drove over the line and scored in the corner. Again the difficult conversion was missed by inches. A penalty awarded from a scrum led New Ross down to inside the Enniscorthy '22 where another penalty was awarded for offside. Again Michael Tench got the ball and drove to the same place for his second try.
Enniscorthy dropped the head and Aaron Fenlon pounced on a rogue kick and sped by the full-back to place the ball under the posts. Swan slotted the ball between the posts despite the strong wind. At half-time the score was 22-0.
After half-time the backs decided to run at their opposite players and eventually James Kinsella made a break and slid into the corner. Swan, who was carrying a leg injury, couldn't find the distance for this one and it just dropped under the posts.
The forwards worked hard and drove the ball up the pitch and set up Swan's last contribution as he scored in the corner, and he was forced to limp off from his leg injury after the kick.
Again the forwards did all the hard work and set up James Kinsella's second try. A change of kicker saw Garrett Browne slot the ball through the posts easily. Enniscorthy held a strong defence for another ten minutes as New Ross tried to penetrate.
Eventually Tim Coughlan made a break but got tackled short of the line and popped the ball up to Rory Browne who tumbled over the line midway between the posts and the sideline. Unfortunately, the ball never left the ground and Garrett Browne walked away disappointed.
Finally Enniscorthy were threatening the New Ross try line. After five minutes of constant rucking the scrum-half leaped over the scrum and got the ball down near to the posts. In the last play, New Ross fought back and secured a final try scored by Aaron Kehoe in the corner.
Excellent performances were shown by Adam Swan and James Kinsella but they were overshadowed by Michael Tench. The final result was 51-7 to New Ross - an excellent result after the Christmas break.
The New Ross Under-15s have again kept a clean sheet in their Leinster League journey by beating Clane away in the return leg of fixtures. Even though they had beaten Clane earlier in the season at home, on a scoreline of 32 to 12, this away fixture was not to be taken for granted.
Within ten minutes, New Ross had put five points in the referee's notebook after some good rucking from the pack meant that clean ball floated to the backs and Cormac Tierney cut through an excellent Clane back line to score in the corner.
Clane scored a try in the 15th minute when their experienced back line centres broke the gain line and scored in the New Ross left-hand corner. This was to be the last time that Clane would breach the ever-impressive New Ross defensive line. Tackles from Morgan Purcell, Cormac Tierney and Michael Dwyer were impressive, however Shane Power yet again gave a master class in tackling to all home and away supporters with numerous 'take off like a cheetah and hit like a train' tackles.
Michael Dwyer added to the Ross tally in the 20th minute after quick ball from out-half Barry Roche set him off on a 20metre run to touch down in the corner. The half-time score was New Ross 10, Clane 5, with all still to play for.
The second-half started as the first-half had finished with high-intensity tackles and ball-robbing from the New Ross captain, Callum Crean,. This led to a breaking run from Saliu Cullen and the link-up between Ciarán Murphy, Patrick Hickey and Cormac Tierney resulted in a flash pass to Michael Dwyer and his second try which was converted by David Thorpe.
Ross soon scored again as Callum Crean broke from the back of a scrum with ball in hand to push his way through four strong Clane forwards to score a tremendous individual try. At this stage New Ross started to get more confident with breaking runs from their backs after some herculean work from the forwards.
Michael Dwyer got his third try in the 26th minute when he linked up with Barry Roche on the Clane '22 and crashed his way through two tackles to dive over the try line. As coach Derek Furness always says, 'it's not over till it's over', and on the 29th minute, after a quick pass from replacement scrum-half Zach Cullen from the back of a ruck, Liam Whelan scored another impressive try under the Clane posts which was converted by Barry Roche to leave the full-time score: New Ross 34, Clane 5.
The team now face Longford away this Saturday and a win will ensure them a Leinster League semi-final place.
Team: Callum Crean, Ciarán Murphy, Aaron Foley, James Fitzgerald, Oisín Murphy, Shane Power, John Buckley, Liam Whelan, Saliu Cullen, Barry Roche, Cormac Tierney, Michael Dwyer, Morgan Purcell, David Thorpe, Patrick Hickey. Replacements - Ian Foley, Cathal O'brien, Peter Lawlor, Liam Furness, Zach Cullen, Ben Sutton, Josh Hoff, Evan Lee, Michael Brennan, Jack McGrath.
ST. JOSEPH'S A. C.
On Saturday, January 5, in the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow, St. Joseph's athlete Eoin Power received the Under-19 Leinster star award for his performances. He claimed the 60m hurdles title and the 110m hurdles title as well as the 400m hurdles title, while he won bronze in the 60m sprint.
This is a great achievement for this young man who is no stranger to winning awards, and no doubt we will see much more from this athlete in the future. Great credit must be given to his coach, Pat Power.
This is the fifth year in a row that a club member has won an award in Leinster. Five out of ten - not bad.
St. Joseph's Juniors/Under-23 athletes finished runners-up by the narrowest of margins in the Dew Shield. This is awarded to the best club team in Leinster out of 39 teams.
Well done to all involved on Sunday last when the club travelled to Kilmacow to contest the county 0ver-30 women's and the county Over-35 men's crosscountry. In the women's race, Maria Griffin was first, Verena Fenlon second, Mag O'Connor sixth, and Tracey Malone 12th. The women's team also claimed the county shield. Well done girls.
In the men's race which was ran over a 6k course, Rocky Mernagh was ninth, Paul Sheehan tenth, Larry Lacey eleventh, Michael Power 15th, and Tom McDonald 18th. The men's team finished third overall, taking home the bronze medal.
St. Senan's Athletic Club ran a Juvenile cross-country open event and some of our younger athletes took part. Girls Under-8, Maeve Bookle, 2nd; B. Byrne, 7th. Boys Under-8, Oisín Mullally, 3rd. Girls Under-10, Danielle Griffin, 3rd. Boys Under-10, Tomás Mullally, 1st; Evan O'Toole, 4th; Colm Rice, 8th; Aidan Kehoe, 10th; Danny Dowling, 21st. The boys also won the gold medal in the team event.
The Under-12 girls' team of Sophie Mullally (third), Chloe Mullally (eighth), Katie Bookle (eleventh) and Niamh O'Connor (15th) were second team home and received a silver medal.
Eva Roche had a great race and took home the gold medal, finishing well ahead of the field in the Under-14 girls. Well done to Mia Griffin who finished second in the Under-16 girls' race.
Well done to all these Juvenile athletes who braved the frosty weather to do their club proud. St. Joseph's will hold their A.G.M. on Monday, January 21, in the Parish Pump at 8.30 p.m.