Nicholls sets up historic Tullow victory
Tullow 20 Skerries 3
Tullow made history in convincing fashion at Athy RFC yesterday when they turned on the style to claim the Towns Cup for the first time in the 92-year history of the competition.
Twelve months after Wicklow claimed the title for the first time, this year's instalment produced more joyous scenes, as a passionate and hugely determined Tullow banished the demons of two previous final defeats by running out convincing winners over Skerries Seconds.
With Leinster and Ireland stalwart Sean O'Brien on the coaching ticket of his home club, they played the opening half against a stiff breeze, but that didn't stop them taking the lead in breathtaking fashion.
As Skerries pressed just five metres from the Tullow line, the hero of the semi-final win over Wicklow, Richard Nicholls, intercepted a pass and ran the length of the field to score under the posts.
Ryan O'Neill added the extras and the Carlow men had a 7-0 lead after nine minutes.
Skerries threatened and enjoyed their own spells in the opening half, but with each foray forward they were confronted with a Tullow defensive wall that proved unbreakable.
Robbie Jenkinson did land a penalty after 25 minutes to make it 7-3, but when Tullow's Kyle Hanbridge went to the sin bin for the last 10 minutes of the half, Skerries failed to capitalise.
In fact, they fell even further behind after a well-worked line-out move saw Frank Murphy soar in the air to win possession, before No. 8 Stephen Smith barged over the line two minutes from half-time to give his team a 12-3 lead going in at the break.
Tullow never really looked like relinquishing their lead and a try in the corner from Dylan Leybourne on 47 minutes ensured there was no way back for Skerries.
The excellent William Cass O'Brien added a penalty on 52 minutes to close the scoring and secure a historic victory for Tullow RFC.
Tullow: S Doyle; R Nicholls, S Rohan, K Bloomfield, R O,Neill; W Cass O'Brien, D Leybourne; L Kilcoyne, S Corrigan, S Caldbeck; Frank Murphy, J Waters; J Hanbridge, K Hanbridge, S Smith. Replacements: J Fitzgerald, W Hallow O'Brien, J Pratt, M Cole, A Byrne, J O'Brien.
Skerries: R Gordan; R Woods, D Goodman, B Caldwell, M Oliver; D Quirke, R Jenkinson; C Ronayne, K Leonard, N Martin; AJ Sherlock, S Attley; T Scuffil, B Jenkinson, C Marrey. Replacements: D Joyce, E O'Byrne, R Halligan, M Cauldwell, C McMahon.
Ref - Brian Montayne.