Tallaght 1st 24 Seapoint 0

Jack Russell

Tallaght 1st R.F.C. 24

Tries: Ciaran Rudd, Padhraig Jones, Jack Russell 2
Con: Rob Hudson, Adam Nolan

Seapoint R.F.C. 0

Metro League Division 7
Tymon Park
31/03/2018

The Tallaght firsts team took the pitch in their last league game of the season knowing exactly what they needed to do to reach the final. Seapoint were league leaders on 39 points with Tallaght and Old Wesley hot on their heals, both on 36 points. Old Wesley had a handy run against bottom placed Blackrock in their final match so Tallaght knew they to win by eight points or more to deny Seapoint a losing bonus point and qualify for the final.

Seapoint started the game better and dominated possession for the first twenty minutes. However while their pack was big and strong, it became quickly apparent they didn’t have the players to really threaten Tallaght out wide. Tallaght were defending a lot but led manfully by the likes of Ken McGovern and Alan Sower, they kept smashing Seapoint back. Tallaght were also dominant at the set-piece and the likes of Mark Keogh, Joe Ivers and Aaron Morgan were making a mess of the Seapoint lineout. Seapoint’s forwards got them into the Tallaght twenty two but a massive tackle from Andy Grace stopped their progress and then Jack Russell won possession back and relieved the pressure with a superb kick to touch deep into the Seapoint half.

Daniel Pomares came on for Tallaght after twenty five minutes and his physicality was made for this sort of game. He helped Tallaght secure some good possession and Dave Clarke put Ciaran Rudd through a gap and he linked up with Simon Collie but he was stopped five metres out and Tallaght were penalised at the breakdown. Further pressure earned Tallaght a five metre scrum and a set play saw Adam Nolan feed Clarke and he burst through but the ball was stripped from his hands in the act of touching it down.

Tallaght’s prospects were then dealt a blow when centre Padhraig Jones was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle the referee judged to be dangerous. However they responded brilliantly when Adam Nolan ran a ball inside his own half and put Simon Collie away. He linked up superbly with Padhraig Jones and Rob Hudson and Ciaran Rudd took the final pass and showed great strength to get the ball down for the opening try of the game and Tallaght led 5-0. Rudd broke the line again on the next play but his progress was halted by a high tackle which saw the Seapoint player yellow carded. From the resulting penalty Tallaght went agonisingly close to a second try but Adam Nolan lost control of the ball just as he was touching down for a try so it remained 5-0 at half-time.

Tallaght took up where they left off in the first half, dominating possession and constantly stretching Seapoint out wide. A strong carry from Paul Cunningham earned them a penalty and they opted against kicking for goal and instead kicked to the corner. From the lineout the pack tried to power their way over and both Nolan and McGovern went close but the ball went wide and Dave Clarke showed deft skills to put Padhraig Jones through a gap to race away and score a try under the posts. Rob Hudson kicked the conversion and Tallaght led 12-0.

Tallaght now had the winning margin they needed but they learned the lesson from last week of resting on their laurels and so they kept the pressure on Seapoint. Seapoint weren’t giving up though and they kept running hard at Tallaght but their defence was excellent, especially scrum-half Andy Rudd who made three tackles in a row all against bigger men and brought each one of them down. At one point Seapoint did threaten when they kicked a ball through but Aaron Shanahan showed great pace to get back and secure the ball and the threat was nullified.

The Tallaght pack were in the ascendency now and strong carries from Nolan, Pomares and Andy Caswell earned them another kickable penalty, but once again they kicked to the corner. They mauled the ball close and then Nolan put Jack Russell away and the skipper showed great power to get over for a try to make it 17-0. Tallaght still weren’t done though and Russell made the game safe when he seized on a loose Seapoint lineout throw and sprinted away for a try in the corner. Nolan kicked a superb conversion from the touchline to completed the scoring.

Head coach Tom Leigh was hugely proud of his side. “It’s tough going into a game knowing you need to win by a certain margin, but the lads handled the pressure superbly and every member of the squad made a big contribution. We worked hard at our defence during the week and the lads were brilliant today especially Ken McGovern, Dave Clarke and Andy Rudd who kept making big hits and then came back for more. Daniel Pomares made a big impact when he came on and our two centres Padhraig Jones and Ciaran Rudd both had excellent games. But our man of the match was our captain Jack Russell who led by example and got us over the line with two great tries in the second half. Now we go to the final next week away to Old Wesley. The only team to beat them this season was us so while we respect them we will go into the game with great confidence. Our support here today was fantastic and I hope we can get even more people over to Donnybrook next Saturday to cheer the lads on.”

 

Man of the match: Jack Russell

 

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. Andrew Grace
4. Joe Ivers
5. Mark Keogh
6. Aaron Morgan
7. Jack Russell (Captain)
8. Adam Nolan

Replacements:

16. Karl Segrave
17. Stephen Kelly
18. Paul Cunningham
19. Andy Caswell
20. Daniel Pomares
21. Sean Judd

 

Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Anne Kavanagh

Joe Ivers
Ciaran Rudd

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