Last Friday saw two great Clubs in Kildare battle it out for the Leinster Senior Shield title in Donnybrook…

One Supporter said “It was a Lilly white Weekend for Rugby in Leinster”.

The stand was packed with supporters from both sides as Naas went in search of the title for the second time in two years and NUIM Barnhall RFC for the 1st.

With Naas seen by many as the favourites for the title this year the game started as many would expect with Naas taking the early advantage by going 3-0 up after just 1 minute of play after a well taken penalty by Naas number 15 David Aherne. NUIM Barnhall RFC battled back and looked very dangerous on the counter with the likes of winger Rob McGrath and centre Michael Brown making great yards.

NUIM Barnhall RFC nearly had the first try after 15 minutes with a great driving maul and brought play right up to the Naas 5 metre line but the Cobras defence stood strong and kept the Blue Bulls out.

Naas again forced another penalty after they cleared there lines from a great Blue Bull attack and the penalty again converted by David Aherne to make it 6-0 to Naas after 22 minutes. As the first half went on it was a real clash of the titans as neither side wanted to give in and both were hungry for any advantage given by the referee.

Luck began to go in NUIM Barnhall’s favour late into the first half as the penalty count started to go the Blue Bulls way and with the Sure footed boot of NUIM Barnhall Simon Gillespie to make it 6-3 after 30 minutes. After that the tow sides could not break the dead lock and with furious tackling and epic defending the first half ended 6-3 to Naas. 

The 2nd half started pretty much the same as both sides knew what was at steak come full time and tensions ran high as both sides received yellow cards. NUIM Barnhall managed to take advantage first in the 2nd half with a well taken penalty by Simon Gillespie to draw the match at 6-6 after 45 minutes.

The match seemed to step up a gear as it seemed only the slightest mistake would the seal the fate of the other team. Then the straw the broke the naas back, came when another yellow card was given and naas were down to 13 men. NUIM Barnhall seised their chance and as they began another counter attack the ball was released out to winger Rob Mcgrath who collected well on the half way line and with lighting speed broke the Naas Defence to run in a 50 metre try under the posts. Simon Gillespie was on hand to slot the conversion to make it 13-6 to the Blue Bulls. This is where the game ended and the title going to the Blue Bulls but will be shared by all of Kildare.

An epic final played by two great teams and will set the scene for another epic encounter in February as the two sides do battle again in the AIL Div 2a. Click HERE to view the photos of the final.