Blackrock 24 Tallaght 1st 30

Adam Nolan

Blackrock R.F.C. 24

Tallaght 1st R.F.C. 30

Tries: Adam Nolan 2, Simon Collie, Karl Segrave
Con: Adam Nolan 2
Pen: Adam Nolan 2

Metro League Division 7
Stradbrook Road
14/02/2018

Tallaght travelled to Stradbrook Road on a cold St. Valentine’s night to play their re-arranged fixture in Division 7 of the Metro League. Having played only one match this year, Tallaght were rusty and they took a while to get going. Blackrock dominated possession and territory in the first twenty minutes and trapped Tallaght in their twenty two. But led by the line-speed of out-half Dave Clarke the defence was terrific and they held Blackrock out.

Finally a penalty at the breakdown gave them a chance to relieve the pressure and kick out of their half. From the resulting lineout the ball was spun wide and Ciaran Rudd and Simon Collie combined to put Aaron Shanahan clear and he looked set to score but was held up over the line. But from the resulting scrum Adam Nolan eventually powered over for a try to make it 5-0. Tallaght scored straight again from the kick-off. Aaron Morgan took the restart well and the ball was worked to Simon Collie who took off from deep in his own half and scorched home from eighty metres out for a superb individual score. With Rob Hudson having injured a hamstring, Adam Nolan took over the kicking and made the conversion to make it 12-0.

Tallaght were well in control now and they dominated the rest of the half. Ciaran Rudd made a strong carry to get them close to the Blackrock line and they won a penalty ten metres out. Adam Nolan showed good awareness to take a quick tap and power his way over for his second try of the night to give Tallaght a 17-0 lead. Tallaght looked in total control but then some sloppiness defending a lineout maul let them down. There was no one marking the blindside and Blackrock had the space to score a simple try to make it 17-5 at half-time.

That try created a doubt in Tallaght’s heads and Blackrock took full advantage at the start of the second half. First a chip down the line was regathered by the Blackrock winger who showed great gas to score a try under the posts which was converted to make it 17-12. Then more sloppy defence let Blackrock through again for a try to tie the game at 17 points each. Skipper Jack Russell rallied his troops well though and led by example with some punishing carries. The Tallaght forwards ground out territory with hard carries from the likes of Aaron Morgan, Ken McGovern, Andy Grace and Tony McManus. It earned them two kickable penalties which Nolan slotted to make it 23-17.

Fly-half David Clarke was also showing his strength managing to constantly break through tackles to start attacking moves. One of Clarke’s carries put Simon Collie into space and he linked up with Nolan who drew his man superbly before putting replacement winger Karl “Moonbeam” Segrave away for a superb team try under the posts. Nolan converted to make it 30-17 to Tallaght with ten minutes left.

However to their credit the home side didn’t give up and they hit back with another try to make it 30-24 with five minutes to go. It made for a nervy finish for Tallaght but they defended bravely and Clarke won a penalty from a turnover to seal the win. Nolan gladly kicked the ball out to finish off a fantastic game of club rugby which was a credit to both teams.

Head coach Tom Leigh was disappointed with losing such a commanding lead but delighted with the composure his side showed to steady the ship and earn the win. “It was a great first half but then we lost concentration either side of half-time to let them into it. But we didn’t panic, we just rolled up our sleeves and got the points we needed against a good team. It was a very hard job to pick a man of the match tonight. Adam Nolan was massive for us tonight, both as a creator and a leader and he scored 20 points. Aaron Morgan’s carrying and work-rate were off the chart and Andy Rudd had one of his best games of the season. But we felt we had to give it to Dave Clarke who was just huge for us in defence and attack and put his body on the line with some massive hits and carries. We’ve got to focus now on Saturday’s game away to Old Wesley. It was a tough match tonight but in some ways that’s the best training session you’ll have to take on a side like Wesley”.

 

Man of the match: David Clarke

 

Tallaght 1sts

15. Simon Collie
14. Aaron Shanahan
13. Ciaran Rudd
12. Padhraig Jones
11. Rob Hudson
10. David Clarke
9. Andy Rudd

1. Alan Sower
2. Ken McGovern
3. Andy Caswell
4. Joe Ivers
5. Mark Keogh
6. Jack Russell (Captain)
7. Aaron Morgan
8. Adam Nolan

Replacements:

16. Karl Segrave
17. Tony McManus
18. Paul Cunningham
19. Andrew Grace
20. Daniel Pomares

Dave Clarke
Ken McGovern
Padhraig Jones passes to Adam Nolan
Simon Collie races away for his try
Mark Keogh

Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Anne Kavanagh

 

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