Provincial Towns Seconds Cup: Saturday 02.04.23
North Meath 32-15 North Kildare
North Meath produced one of their best displays of the season on Sunday beating North Kildare in the Provincial Towns Seconds Cup.
The first victory of the day was to the groundsman for ensuring that the game took place at all given the relentless rainfall of the last few weeks that had laid waste to sporting calendars across the country. But come 1.00 on Sunday, it was blue sky and green grass at The Grange.
It was North Meath who were first on the score sheet with an early penalty from full back Joe Carry.
The score was doubled shortly after when Carry struck another successful penalty to make it 6-0 to the home team.
Strong and well organised defence from North Kildare stopped North Meath adding to their score. A break from Eanna Finn was swiftly shut down while winger Ruben Mostert was held up in the corner.
North Kildare then began to add some fluency to their attack and scored the first try of the tie after a series of phases in the North Meath 22. A successful conversion was followed by a penalty to put the visitors ahead 6-10.
It was then North Meath's turn to defend as the visitors began to dominate possession, led by their influential 10.
But North Kildare were unable to add to their score while they were in the ascendancy and North Meath reclaimed the lead when back row replacement Kevin Dowds took an inside ball from Conor Grey and powered over. The conversion from Carry made it 13-10 to North Meath at half-time.
The end to end ebb and flow continued in the second half as did the big hits, sometimes too big. Dowds saw yellow for a tackle that took the player above the horizontal.
However, North Kildare were unable to take advantage of the extra man. Indeed, North Meath stretched their lead. A North Kildare penalty didn't find touch. Carry gathered the ball, launched an up and under, gathered his own kick, and then fed winger Mostert who ran in the try to give North Meath some breathing space.
The game was far from done though. North Kildare continued to push for a score and it duly came when their speedy fullback went over in the corner to make it a 3-point game.
Fortunately for the home team, a vital try from Cian Doogan relieved the pressure and a touchline conversion from Carry extended the lead to double figures.
North Kildare continued to press but paid the price when Finn intercepted and passed onto the home team's speedster Jordan Herring who raced home under the posts to give North Meath an unassailable lead of 32-15.
The game was tighter than the scoreline suggested but it was an impressive performance from North Meath with solid scrums, strong carries from Padraic McGurl, and Eoin Broidy, intelligent kicking from the halfbacks Nathan Kiernan and Conor Grey and a sterling defensive effort from every single player.
The Meath men will now face Kilkenny in the quarter-finals at The Park Ri Grange on April 16th.
Team: Joe Carry, Jordan Herring, Cian Doogan, Eanna Finn, Ruben Mostert, Conor Grey, Nathan Kiernan, Padraic McGurl, Killian Flanagan, Sammy Bashford, Graham Boland, Eoghan Cosgrave, Eoin Briody, Cailum Kiernan, Senan McDermott
Replacements: Kevin Dowds, Theo Chamberlayne Daye, Jack Yore, Adam Deighan, Curtis Hunter, Louis Finnegan, Simon Deevy, Ben Shine
Tries: Dowds, Mostert, Doogan, Herring
Cons: Carry (3)
Pens: Carry (2)
Man of the match: Joe Carry
*Pics courtesy of Aisling McDermott