Ken McGovern

Tallaght 1sts 17

Tries: Adam Nolan, Penalty Try
Con: Robbie Hudson
Pen: Robbie Hudson

Railway Union 12

John Madden Cup Semi-final
Tymon Park

The Tallaght men’s first team hosted Railway Union in the semi-final of the John Madden Cup. Tallaght started the stronger and their powerful maul earned a penalty that Rob Hudson converted to give Tallaght a 3 point lead. The maul also set the stage for their first try after it rumbled nearly forty metres before being pulled down. Skipper Adam Nolan tapped the penalty and forced his way over the line for an excellent try. Hudson converted and Tallaght led 10-0. Despite losing full back Aaron Shanahan to injury Tallaght kept dominating and a fine backline move involving Simon Collie and Padhraig Jones put winger Gavin McKeon free for a certain try. He was denied only by a high tackle which led the referee to award a penalty try and a yellow card to the Railway Union player.

Railway’s only tactic seemed to be to distract Tallaght with off the ball niggles and unfortunately their cynical tactics worked as the home side lost their discipline and their focus for the rest of the half. A second Railway player was yellow-carded for talking back to the ref and Tallaght should have been able to take advantage. Instead Tallaght’s Simon Collie followed him to the line as well after he became enraged by an incident at the bottom of a ruck. The half finished with Tallaght 17-0 up.

Tallaght quickly suffered another injury blow when skipper Adam Nolan had to leave the field with a knee injury. Further injuries followed to Daniel Pomares and replacement prop Andy Grace which meant Tallaght lost their shape. In fairness Railway Union started to play some rugby in the second half and had Tallaght under pressure which eventually led to a try to reduce the deficit to 17-5. Tallaght responded with some big carries from Ken McGovern and Jack Russell. The dangerous Rob Hudson almost broke through twice for tries but was just denied by a final tackle and his offloads went to ground.

The game became nervier for Tallaght and Sean Hanlon was shown a yellow card for a foul at the ruck. In the last play of the game Railway Union scored a converted try to make it 17-12 but it was too late and Tallaght will now go on to meet DLSP in the final.

Tallaght coach Tom Leigh was delighted to reach the final. “We made the final of this competition two years ago and just lost out narrowly so it’s great to get another crack at it out in Malahide. We started the game incredibly well and were in complete control but then we allowed ourselves to get distracted by off the ball niggles and got dragged into a messy, scrappy game. We also weren’t helped by some injuries to important players. But we kept our heads and got the win in the end. We start our league in two weeks time and we’re looking in decent shape to make a strong challenge again.”

Man of the match: Ken McGovern

Tallaght RFC

15. Aaron Shanahan
14. Gavin McKeon
13. Simon Collie
12. Padhraig Jones
11. Robbie Hudson
10. David Clarke
9. Andrew Rudd

1. Tony McManus
2. Ken McGovern
3. Andrew Caswell
4. Sean Hanlon
5. Colin Morrison
6. Daniel Pomares
7. Alan Sower
8. Adam Nolan

Substitute Positions

16. Mark Keogh
17. Andrew Grace
18. Joe Ivers
19. Stephen Heaney
20. Bernard Russell

Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Paul Cronin

See all the photos here:

Adam Nolan

Dave Clarke

Tony McManus

Colin Morisson

Rob Hudson

Simon Collie