Saturday 19 October 2019

'More bliss as Kennedy kicks Mals to victory

Ulster Bank All-Ireland League Division 2C: Malahide 13 Tullamore 12

Paul Byrne

An excellent long-range kick from Adam Kennedy reignited Malahide's top-four hopes as they edged past a dogged Tullamore side on Saturday afternoon.

This was a real war of attrition, with both sides enjoying periods of dominance, but ultimately it was the home side who prevailed thanks to the accurate place-kicking of Adam Kennedy.

Tullamore travelled to Estuary Road in dire need of a win, having lost a crucial game at home to fellow strugglers Thomond a week earlier. That defeat ensured that the midlanders were sucked back into the relegation battle with Thomond and Seapoint, with the latter two just a point behind Tullamore in the table.

Malahide, meanwhile, had strung together an impressive run in December and January, winning three of their four matches to get themselves back in the hunt for promotion. They were, however, looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat at the hands of Bruff three weeks earlier in their previous AIL Division 2C game.

Tullamore began the game well and looked determined as they pushed the hosts back before forcing an error as they won the game's opening penalty, which was slotted over by Karl Dunne.

Malahide responded with a decent spell of pressure which almost yielded the game's opening try, but despite making their way inside the Tullamore '22 they couldn't breach the resolute visitors' defence. After withstanding a 10-minute spell of pressure from the hosts Tullamore finally gained territory advantage with a long kick forward which brought a mistake from Malahide, resulting in a second penalty for the visitors. Once again it was stroked over by Karl Dunne as Tullamore increased their lead to 6-0.

Malahide refused to panic and after some patient build-up play they managed to work their way into the Tullamore '22 before forming a maul which pushed the visitors back, allowing John Shine to bundle over for the game's opening try. Adam Kennedy missed the conversion, which meant Tullamore kept their noses in front by 6-5.

Malahide did manage to get in front five minutes later thanks to an excellent try from Rory Kavanagh, but it was the visitors who had the final say of an absorbing opening half as they scored their third penalty of the game through Dunne.

Tullamore came out strong for the second half and dominated possession early on as they slowly edged closer towards the Malahide try-line. Eventually the pressure told on the home side who were forced into conceding a penalty which was duly despatched once again by Dunne. That put Tullamore ahead once more in a game which was becoming a real see-saw battle.

Now it was Malahide's turn to crank up the pressure and after a number of phases where they pushed the visitors back they earned a penalty which gave Adam Kennedy a chance to restore their lead. Kennedy connected perfectly with the ball from just inside the Tullamore half and there was jubilation amongst the home supporters as it sailed between the posts.

Tullamore pushed hard late on but Malahide stood firm and held on for what could turn out to be a crucial victory come the season's end.

Fingal Independent