Sport Rugby

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Extra special Morris seals glory for Ashbourne

Ashbourne 6 Kilkenny 3 (After extra-time) Provincial Towns Cup Final

Wes Carter, Kilkenny RFC, wins possession for his side in a lineout ahead of James Rooney, Ashbourne RFC
Wes Carter, Kilkenny RFC, wins possession for his side in a lineout ahead of James Rooney, Ashbourne RFC
Sean Moran, Kilkenny RFC, after the final whistle
Ashbourne RFC players celebrate after the final whistle

Out-half Paul Morris was Ashbourne's hero as he landed a 90th-minute penalty to secure the Meath club their first ever title in this competition in Tullow.

Willie Wright put Kilkenny in front with a 22nd-minute penalty from the 10-metre mark. Playing against the wind, his side needed to play rugby in the Ashbourne half, but they failed to do so.

Instead, Ashbourne created the best try-scoring chance but were penalised as their driving maul split and the chance went begging. Trailing 3-0 at half-time and with the wind advantage to come, Ashbourne must have fancied themselves.

Early Ashbourne pressure yielded a penalty and Morris duly kicked the equaliser. After that, it was Kilkenny who played the more enterprising rugby.

Winger Killian Everard was a real handful and though he latched onto a kick ahead by scrum-half Robbie Walsh to score a try, he was whistled back for seemingly being ahead of the kicker.

In the third quarter, Ashbourne had two players yellow-carded in quick succession. With heavy rain making conditions difficult, Morris landed a 90th-minute penalty to nudge his side ahead and record an historic Provincial Towns Cup and Leinster League double.

It was an emotional day for Jeff Mahon, a survivor of the 1999 team beaten by Navan in the final.

"This came from the heart. When we were down to 13, we held out and that said a lot for the determination of this group," he said.

Ashbourne – D Colreavy; C Dunne, A Sherrard, C Coyle, A McCreery (C McNally 51); P Morris, G Kennedy; M Behan (C O'Connor h-t), J McCaghy, C Roche, J Mahon, D Curran, M Rooney, J Rooney, R Gleeson (capt).

Kilkenny – J Manuel (capt); K Everard, S Moran, D O'Brien (C Phelan 90), P Mahon; W Wright, R Walsh; H O'Brien, M Leahy, W Kavanagh (D Bawle 59), V Ryan, W Carter, D Farragher (P Ryan 59), J Phelan, D O'Connor.

REF – E Kenny (ARLB).

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