Co. Carlow came away from this ding dong passion filled derby with a crucial win which has shunted the Oakpark team from 6th to 3rd in the Leinster League 1B table…

But it was Tullow which started the stronger with a Willie Canavan penalty which arose from Carlow failing to deal with the Tullow kick off. For most of the 1st half hour Tullow were attacking but on the half hour a rare Carlow sortie led to an equalising penalty from Barry Purcell. Again Carlow failed to deal with the subsequent kick off and again Canavan converted a penalty to give Tullow a 6 – 3 lead.

Almost into injury time Tullow’s number 6 was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. Purcell goaled to make it 6 pts each. In the dying seconds of the half a massive kick from Carlow’s Paddy Barcoe was well chased by the Carlow backs. This forced a penalty for not releasing by the Tullow winger. Purcell converted from way out to give Carlow an unexpected 9–6 half time lead.

Carlow upped their game in the second half with some big scrums and faultless lineouts but during this period Tullow’s Canavan was marginally wide with two penalties that he would normally score. The Carlow pressure on the Tullow line eventually led to Joe Gorman crossing under the posts. Purcell goaled to bring the score to open a 16–6 gap.

However Tullow raised their game and a good move which began in their own 22, ended with Willie O Brien bursting a tackle on the Carlow 22 and scoring near the corner for 16-11. The conversion was missed but instead of closing out the game for the last 8 minutes Carlow played an open game which allowed Tullow to mount huge pressure.

The noise from Tullow supporters was deafening. However desperate Carlow tackling and covering prevented Tullow from crossing for a second try. The final play of the game saw Carlow taking a scrum against the head on their own line and clearing to touch. Pure relief and raw despair was felt in equal measure by the 1000 plus attendance.

The huge crowd, the balmy evening and the fact that the game was under lights, combined for a rare atmosphere and a busy bar.

Is there any chance that these sides could meet again in the Towns Cup, both sets of supporters wonder?