Tullamore 29, Sunday’s Well 14.
After two wins against the top sides in the League; the ‘Well couldn’t quite follow it up with what would have been an equally or even more impressive victory in Tullamore; against another side in the thick of the promotion race. Tullamore were fired up after a defeat in Bangor and on their own patch; with an excellent handling and rucking display they were able to control long stretches. Playing with the wind; the ‘Well couldn’t get their hands on the ball for the opening stages. As Tullamore fought hard to work up the field. The ‘Well defended robustly with Evan O’Connell and Mark Kelly making big hits around the fringes and Rory Kelliher and Maurice Daly covering the outside areas admirably. Tullamore kicked two early penalties through Conor Dunne while Josh Featherstone was unlucky to see a long-range effort bounce off the upright. The ‘Well then managed to finally put together some phases. A strong scrum gave them an excellent platform with Neville O’Donoghue eventually getting an edge. The ‘Well led by Captain Conor O’Brien started to make some inroads around the fringes and it was a powerful surge by O’Donoghue that saw the ‘Well score the first try of the game, that Featherstone converted. Tullamore did manage to make the pressure count with two late tries and also kicked a penalty at the end of the half; as the ‘Well were seeing every decision go against them. Playing into the wind on the turnaround and facing a 19-7 gap; many teams may have wilted but the ‘Well kept battling. An early penalty by Dunne extended the Offaly side’s lead to 22-7 and then a moment of madness saw the touch-judge intervene to give a Tullamore forward a red card. The ‘Well kicked to the corner and from what was amazingly their first line-out of the game; Jack McHenry found his target. The ‘Well produced a powerful drive well over the line with McHenry touching down. Featherstone converted and the ‘Well were looking to retain possession every chance they could. Ross O’Mahoney made some strong surges and offloads but with the ‘Well chasing the game they were hit on the counter as Tullamore scored their third and final try of the game. The weekend results leave things very tight at the bottom with four games left to play. A last minute try saw City of Derry snatch all five match points from their relegation battle with Bruff – as the Northerners won out 31-24. The sides were level on three tries each at 24 points apiece; but the hosts managed to nick it at the death. Elsewhere; Midleton managed to keep Clonmel scoreless and stop them from gaining any points from Towns Park. The results see the ‘Well bottom on 17 points but the other three clubs are well within reach. Clonmel remain a point above on 18; City of Derry move out of the relegation play-off zone on 20 points with Bruff only a further point ahead on 21. It is all to play for and with the ‘Well putting in some strong performances since Christmas in particular; we would urge all supporters to get out and make their voices heard for a massive game at home to Omagh Academicals next Saturday.
Scorers: Sunday’s Well: N O’Donoghue, J MCHenry tries; J Featherstone 2 cons.
Tullamore: K Dunne; L arrell, L Batten, G Kelly, S McCabe; S Burns, C Dunne; C Beehan, C Feighery, C Kelley; M Tormey (c), C Ennis; C Whittel, J Delahunt, B Bracken. Replacements: S Fleming, M Murphy, A Douglas, C Strong, C Farrell.Sunday’s Well: G Downey; W Trevor, M Daly, R O’Mahony, R Kelliher; J Featherstone, F Loughrey; G O’Sullivan, A Browne, N O’Donoghue; J Mulcahy, E O’Connell; C Kelliher, M Kelly, C O’Brien (c). Replacements: S Desmond, J McHenry, M Moynihan, S Glynn, D Hurley.
Tullamore 29, Sunday’s Well 14.