Clinical Collie keeps Tallaght on scent of more Winters Cup progress
Tallaght made club history with their first ever win in the Winters Cup last Saturday. They may have been awarded walkovers before for various reasons, but this was the first time they had won a Winters Cup tie on the pitch as they took on Metro League Division 7 rivals Monkstown in Sydney Parade.
Tallaght started positively when No 8 Aaron Morgan made a cracking run from the kick-off, beating several players. Tallaght were soon ahead after good hands from Willie Lambe and Stephen Heaney released full-back Simon Collie. Collie offloaded to wing Karl Seagrave who showed great pace to go under the posts from 40 metres out.
Lambe kicked the conversion and Tallaght were 7-0 up. Two minutes later, they were further ahead when more sharp handling released Collie on the outside and the full-back finished with aplomb to make it 12-0 after less than ten minutes.
After the great start Tallaght took the foot off the pedal somewhat and were guilty of some poor discipline and careless handling. This gave Monkstown a chance to get into the game and they took it, dominating possession through their experienced pack for the rest of the half.
Tallaght were doing a lot of defending and there were some terrific hits from flankers Emil Wyrebiak and Kevin Quinn. The pressure told when Monkstown outflanked Tallaght to score a try in the corner to make the score 12-5 at half-time.
Playing with a strong wind at their backs, Tallaght started brightly in the second half. Smart play from Aodhan Tinney and Adam Nolan put centre Dave Clarke into a gap and he raced home for another excellent Tallaght try to make it 17-5.
However, Monkstown hit straight back with a converted try to close the gap to five points at 17-12. Tallaght were conceding a lot of penalties in their own half and eventually the referee lost patience and gave prop Stephen Kelly a yellow card. It was a nervous ten minutes for Tallaght but the defence held out with great work from the likes of Sean Judd, Simon Gaskell and Joe Ivers.
With ten minutes to go, Tallaght were still clinging to their five-point lead, but they finally used the wind to get into the Monkstown half. After a strong carry from Heaney got Tallaght into a good position, Lambe looked to have over-cooked a grubber kick into the dead-ball area. But a wicked bounce favoured Simon Collie and he managed to get a touch first for the try to make it 22-12 for Tallaght.
That effectively won the tie for Tallaght but there was still time for Collie to complete his hat-trick with a superb individual effort to make the final score 27-12. Sydney Parade has been a happy hunting ground for the Australian this season with seven tries in two visits.
Tallaght coach Tom Leigh was delighted with his side. "It's great to be in the quarter-finals of the Winters Cup for the first time ever. We host Old Wesley on our own pitch in Tymon Park at the end of March, a pitch we haven't lost a match on this season. We can't wait for it."