Mullingar heroics in vain as Cill Dara fight back to snatch victory in thriller
The Mullingar U-16 squad had their first outing in this year's Leinster League last Saturday in Cill Dara on a beautiful morning for rugby as both teams treated the on-lookers to an excellent game.
Mullingar started well and had good field position early on, but the imposing Cill Dara got the upper hand in the scrums and their set-piece dominance was key to their opening try on six minutes.
Cill Dara continued to apply pressure, with the Mullingar lads finding it difficult to get their game going.
However they eventually started to find their feet in the game with some excellent tackling from Stephen Derham, Harry O'Reilly, Brian Reidy, Niall Derham, Luke Carton and James Mahedy.
On 20 minutes Stephen Derham made a super interception and ran in an excellent try for Mullingar from half way, the conversion followed from Harry O'Reilly and Mullingar were now in front.
Mullingar were going well now and just on the stroke of half-time Adam Duggan took a quick penalty which he off-loaded to Luke Carton, who burst through the Cill Dara defence to score a great second try.
O'Reilly again added the two points to leave Mullingar 14-5 up at the interval.
The second half began brilliantly for Mullingar.
Paul Smith took possession on his own 22 and took on the entire Cill Dara back-line, beating them all to score a brilliant individual try.
Again O'Reilly added the conversion but that was to be it from the Westmeath lads on the scoreboard as Cill Dara laid siege to the Mullingar line.
Patrick Kuperschmidt at flanker was having a good first outing for Mullingar, while Derham's tackling was a feature of the game.
After sustained pressure Cill Dara added another try but missed the conversion.
The game was extremely physical now with some crunching tackles being made by both teams.
Mullingar were having to defend for their lives but again great craft and guile saw Cill Dara cross for a third try with only minutes remaining.
They managed to hold on for an excellent but very hard fought win.
Mullingar team: Sean Dunne, Brian Reidy, Matthew Doyle, Luke Carton, Alan Macken, Patrick Kuperschmidt, Dillon Murphy, James Mahedy, Adam Duggan, Harry O'Reilly, Kyle Smith, Niall Derham, Stephen Derham, Oisin Hogan.