Two tight games in round two of the Shane Horgan Cup
November 2, 2023 11:13 am Des Berry
Mullingar RFC hosted the second round of the Bearing Point Shane Horgan U-16 Cup on Wednesday.
Metro 17 Midlands 7
Metro made the most of a strong wind to build up a 17-point lead they never really looked like giving up.
Number eight Jack Power was first to make a series of phases count when his leg drive was too much for the Midlands defence.
Out-half Thibaut Anderson was the architect of Metro’s attack, Roan Smyth adding the second try for Anderson to convert.
They could have been out of sight, such was their creativity, although centre David Cron did claim the third for 17-0 at the break.
With the benefit of the conditions, Midlands came into the game as their forwards got down to work on the fringes.
Number eight Daniel Corr was to the fore in driving the comeback. The equally impressive tight-head Callum Quinn burrowed over for a try from close range, Kian Campbell converting in the 45th minute.
The determined defence of Metro, led by wing Smyth, full-back Ollie Higgins and flanker Conor Wolfe, proved a tough nut to crack as the minutes moved on.
There was a chance to make them nervous when a break by centre Alex Bagnall was undone by the inability to connect with wing Aidan Kelly.
Metro: J Power, R Smyth, D Cron try each; T Anderson con.
Midlands: C Quinn try; K Campbell con.
Metro: Ollie Higgins (Lansdowne); Alex Bulmer (Malahide), David Cronn (DLSP), Bruce Flegg (Old Belvedere), Roan Smyth (Seapoint); Thibaut Anderson (Seapoint), Donnachadh Cunningham (DLSP); Cormac Horan (Westmanstown), Harry Heagney (Clontarf), Killian Maher (Clontarf), Ben Connell (St Marys), Nathan Byrne (DLSP), Conor Wolfe (DLSP), Christian Sinclair (Lansdowne), Jack Power (MU Barnhall).
Replacements: Donal Clarke (Lansdowne), Aron O’Connor Casey (Clontarf), John Gorman (Lansdowne), Daniel Hall Mehigan (Lansdowne), Ross Carey (DLSP), Cillian Murphy (Westmanstown), Ruairi Maher (Westmanstown), Mathis Padidleau (Lansdowne), Conor Brennan (MU Barnhall).
Midlands: Oran Finlay (Tullamore); Aidan Kelly (Longford), Alex Bagnall (Edenderry), Conor Casey (Mullingar), Daithi Guinan (Tullamore); Kian Campbell (Mullingar), Conor Clarke (Longford); Jack Phelan (Roscrea), MJ Darby (Tullamore), Callum Quinn (Mullingar), Conor Walshe (Mullingar), Ben Smith (Mullingar), Daniel Leavy (Tullamore), Isaac O’Neill (Mullingar), Daniel Corr (Longford).
Replacements: Cillian Gleeson (Roscrea), Darragh Finnegan (Longford), Riain Gorman (Edenderry), Ryan Dixon (North Kildare), Donnacha Ryan (Tullamore), Joel Gyasi (Longford); Callum Brennan (Tullamore), Alex O’Brien (Tullamore).
North-Midlands 29 North-East 29
A late, late try by North Midlands’ Jamie Wall, converted by Turlough Donnelly, was good for a draw in this high-scoring tussle.
The North-East were ahead within a matter of minutes when tight-head Antony Ukagwu blasted to the line.
The struggle for ascendency was reflected in play taking place between the 22s, NM out-half Donnelly ending the period with a penalty.
But, NE had a cutting edge and they used it again when second-row Myles Doyle piled over for Lorcan Craik to convert.
NM were able to wrestle back control of the ball, making it tell through right-wing Daniel Gill slipping over for Donnelly’s conversion to leave it 12-10 at the break.
The prevalence of a low sun made life difficult for receivers, a dropped ball offering the chance for Josh O’Keeffe to touchdown for North Midlands.
North East showed enough initiative to devise a cracking try by right-wing David Soden born of a pre-planned move from a lineout, a thing of beauty midway through the second period. Craik converted for 19-15 in the 45th minute.
The back and forth continued as NM’s forwards churned out the hard yards for replacement Liam O’Grady to grab a try, converted by Donnelly, before Craik’s penalty made it 22-all.
A high tackle was deemed worthy of a yellow card and a penalty try to North East in the 65th minute.
Then, a series of pick-and-goes from 10 metres out by NM ended with openside Wall crashing over the line for Donnelly to leave it level at the final whistle.
North-Midlands: D Gill, L O’Grady, J O’Keeffe, J Wall try; T Donnelly pen, 3 cons.
North-East: A Ukagwu, M Doyle, D Soden try each; Pen Try; L Craik pen, 2 cons.
North-Midlands: Hugh Martin (Cill Dara); Daniel Gill (Newbridge), Matthew Costello (Naas), Matthew Cunningham (Portlaoise), Daniel McConnell (Cill Dara); Turlough Donnelly (Newbridge), Joshua O’Keeffe (Newbridge); Shane Foley (Portlaoise), Myles McNamara (Newbridge), Chris Hulin (Newbridge), Joseph Cole (Athy), Cian Doyle (Newbridge), Odhran O’Reilly (Portarlington), Jamie Wall (Cill Dara), Patrick Reeves (Athy).
Replacements: Liam Pretorius (Naas), Liam O’Grady (Newbridge), Luke Duffy (Newbridge), Declan Igluma (Portlaoise), Rian Cullen (Naas), Killian Smith (North Kildare), Daniel Whelan (Portlaoise), Liam Blair (Clondalkin).
North-East: Luke Brady (Navan); David Soden (Ashbourne), Cormac Fagan (Navan), Hugh O’Dwyer (Boyne), Conor O’Grady (Balbriggan); Lorcan Craik (Navan), Thomas Stewart (Ashbourne); Tadhg Halpenny (Dundalk), Olorunjuwon Adeoye (Boyne), Antony Ukagwu (Boyne), Myles Doyle (Navan), Alan Higgins (Skerries), Liam Reilly (Boyne), Conor Goodwin (Navan), Jack Giles (Navan).
Replacements: Conall Quinn (Carlingford), Seamus Whelan (Balbriggan), Dylan O’Connell (Ratoath), Jack McGettigan (Navan), Elliot Nichols (Carlingford), Oshan Varney (Navan), Finn O’Reilly (Skerries), James Mayne (Carlingford)