2022 winners Kilkenny are joined in the semi-finals of Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup by Cill Dara, Tullow and County Carlow after Sunday’s fixtures.

The holders will face Cill Dara, while Tullow and County Carlow in a local derby.
Both semi-finals will be played on Sunday, April 9th.

Gorey 17 Kilkenny 20
Kilkenny showed all the characteristics of champions in a come-from-behind win sealed by Abel Viana at Clonattin.

The north Wexford club were able to get out of the blocks in rapid fashion, creating a try for Fionn O’Loughlin in the fifth minute.

It was hand-to-hand combat from there as each club tried to dominate, the home side breaking through with a try and conversion from Mark Keogh on the half hour.

This should have been the platform to build on. Instead, the holders bounced back impressively to level it up at half-time.

It began with a Rory McInerney try, converted by Hugh Corkery, and was backed up by a second from Lyndon Brannigan at the break.

Kilkenny edged ahead from Corkery’s penalty only for Gorey to bite back with a try by Brian O’Leary for 17-15 in the 55th minute.

From there, the tension gradually rose to a crescendo, Gorey surviving two kickable penalties for the visitors before Viana struck late, very late.

Scorers: Gorey – M Keogh try, con; F O’Loughlin, B O’Leary try each. Kilkenny – R McInerney, L Brannigan, A Viana try each; H Corkery pen, con.

Naas 21 Cill Dara 22
Cill Dara left it late to make the last four for the first time in 13 years in a Kildare derby at Forenaughts.

Naas were able to apply pressure early on, forcing a sin bin for Cillian Dempsey to take advantage of the extra man with Matt Stapleton slotting the conversion.

Then, they turned over a lineout and used the pick-and-go for Muiris Cleary to get in, Matt Stapleton adding the conversion to double the lead in the 15th minute.

Cill Dara began to come into the game and, from a 5-metre scrum, Paudy Wall muscled to the line for 14-5 in the 26th minute.

However, the home side moved further ahead when Stapleton intercepted inside his own 22 and had the legs to run the length of the field for Ethan Travers’ conversion to make it 21-5 in the 43rd minute.

Cill Dara gathered themselves in a difficult position to take the ball up with renewed intensity, leading to Naas losing two men to the bin.

The weight of pressure eventually told when Adam Meehan secured the try, converted by Tadhg Murtagh, to make it 21-12 on the hour.

This was followed up by a Murtagh penalty and, deep into injury-time, Tom Barron got the vital try from the benefit of a 5-metre scrum, Murtagh’s conversion closing the show.

Scorers: Naas – M Stapleton try, 2 cons; C Dempsey, M Cleary try each; E Travers con. Cill Dara – A Meehan T Barron, P Wall try each; T Murtagh pen, 2 cons.

Enniscorthy 0 Tullow 29
Tullow did as professional a job as any amateur club could in this whitewash at a wet Alcast Park.

Enniscorthy just couldn’t get going, playing a lot of rugby without the scoring punch to match.

They had solid contributions from forwards Lee Treacy, Conor Byrne, David Farrell and Grant Palmer.

Tullow owed much of their field position to scrum domination and the tall Colm Gorry was a scourge at the lineout.

Their forwards took control in the tight exchanges to build a 17-point advantage at the break, through tries by wing Tadhg Walsh and two from number eight Stephen Smyth.

‘Scorthy were not without chances as Mel Doyle excelled and right-wing Miguel Byrne went closest for them.

Tullow were able to push on, stretching the lead courtesy of further tries by prop Scott Caldbeck and a terrific team try by replacement Joe Waters.

Scorers: Tullow – S Smyth 2 tries; T Walsh, S Caldbeck, J Waters try each; A Johnson 2

Tullamore 15 County Carlow 20 (after extra time)
The power of the set-piece enabled County Carlow to come through in awful conditions at Spollanstown.

It made constructive rugby almost impossible. In those conditions, the sound platform from scrum and lineout was always going to be essential, Wesley Carter controlling the airways.

Tullamore actually took an early lead when a free kick from a scrum was quickly put into space behind, the ball hopped kindly for chasing Paddy Fahey.

A strong drive from a Carlow lineout on the Tullamore 22 was followed by a strong carry by John Lyons and a try out wide by captain Dan Crotty to square it.

Twice, the visitors were held up over the line before Evan Gordon broke for Ben Crotty to convert to make it 12-5 on the stroke of half-time.

Richard Whyte rubbed salt in the wound that was a yellow card for a late hit by Zack Wright with a penalty for a 10-point lead.

It looked a long way back for Tullamore in the conditions, the home side responding to the challenge with a fine try by Cathal Farrell, converted by Aaron Deverell.

In stoppage time, three successive penalties brought Tullamore into the Carlow 22 where a Deverell kick from under the posts took the game into extra time.

Ben Crotty emerged as the man of the moment with a try three minutes into extra-time that Carlow defended all the way to the end.

Scorers: Tullamore – P Fahey, C Farrell try each; R Whyte pen; A Deverell con. County Carlow – B Crotty try, pen, con; D Crotty, E Gordon try each.

Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Semi-Final Draw
Kilkenny RFC v Cill Dara RFC in Portlaoise RFC 3pm
County Carlow FC v Tullow RFC in Enniscorthy RFC 3pm
Both matches to be played on Sunday, 9 April

The 2023 Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Final venue has been confirmed, with Athy RFC hosting the decider on Sunday 23 April at 3pm.