Tullamore 29 Sunday’s Well 10.
It was a similar story for the ‘Well; playing away to a strong in-form Tullamore side they went toe to toe for long stages. The Offaly side’s greater efficiency and ability to pounce on errors and convert into scores over what was an intriguing and interesting contest.
The hosts started on the up after claiming their kick-off. They looked to spread and have runners hitting the line with pace but firm tackline and strong organisation saw the ‘Well manage to contain the early pressure. John Costello and Andrew Mintern were making some big tackles to drive the opposition back.
The ‘Well then utilised their powerful rolling maul to get on the front-foot; driving Tuallmore 15 metres back from half-way and winning a penalty. After securing another line-out the ball was spread out and Fabien Loughrey controlled the tempo of the attacks. He cut the ball back inside with Maurice Daly bursting through a gap and going over the line. A desperate tackle by the Tullamore player managed to stop Daly from initially grounding the ball; although it did look like he managed to wriggle free and ground it with the reporter’s view from the hill end. Unfortunately; the referee’s view was obscured from the other side and he couldn’t see the ball when it was grounded – and awarded the hosts a goal-line kick-out.
The ‘Well went back on the offensive; with Fabien Loughrey opening the scoring on 12 minutes with a penalty. The wave of ‘Well attacks didn’t abate; as the back-row O’Briens; Conor and Dan made some powerful carries close to the line. After incessant pressure; the ‘Well just couldn’t make that extra yard to get over and eventually Tullamore cleared their lines.
The hosts equalised on the half-hour mark and they then managed to counter on a ‘Well mistake as they coughed up possession on half-way. Tullamore showed their poise and pace to get Eoin Farrell racing downfield with Conor Dunne converting, giving the hosts a 10-3 lead at the break.
Dunne added a try straight from the kick-off to extend Tullamore’s advantage, with another break. The ‘Well weren’t out of it. Indeed their set-piece; which struggled against an impressive Instonians side was motoring along nicely. The scrum was on top for large stages; with the three props; Evan O’Connell, David Hourigan and Mike McCarthy all performing outstandingly throughout the game; with the help of their forward colleagues; even winning a superb ball against the head. The line-out was also a key attacking weapon but once they got deep into the Twenty-Two; the luck just went against them.
On the other hand; Tullamore were lethal whenever a hint of space opened up and secured a bonus point with another Farrell try and one by Sean McCabe.
There was some consolation for the ‘Well at the death; with Shane Keevers pouncing on a looping pass from Tullamore that he intercepted and raced straight up field to touch-down under the posts; with Loughrey drop-kicking the conversion.
The ‘Well aren’t far off; and having four out of six of their opening games away hasn’t helped. After a week gap they host Bruff in a massive game and with your support; as we saw last season we can get the campaign very much on track.
Scorers: Tullamore: C Dunne try, 3 cons, pen; S McCabe, E Farrell (2) tries.
Sunday’s Well: S Keevers try; F Loughrey pen, con.
Tullamore: Brian Geraghty; Sean McCabe, Eoin Farrell, Craig Strong, Steven Joyce; Sam Burns, onor Dunne; Cathal Behan, Matthew Murphy, Mark Kennedy; Alex Bercovici, Gavin Kelly; Scott Milne, Jack Delahunt, Chris Whittle. Replacements: Dan Cronin, Alan Douglas, Cathal Feighery, Karl Dunne.
Sunday’s Well: Gary Downey; Shane Leevers; Maurice Daly, Alex Lane, Ryan KElleher-O’Donoghue; Ruairi Geray, Fabien Loughrey; Evan O’Connell, J McHenry, M McCarthy; J Costello, R Mintern; A Mintern, D O’Brien, C O’Brien (c). Replacements: David Hourigan, Cormac Axson, Mark McCarthy, Harry McHenry, Jamie O’Leary.
Referee: Enda O’Shea (IRFU)