The Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup First Round took place on Sunday with 18 clubs going toe-to-toe at various venues around the province.

Longford 10 Tullamore 18
Heroic defence was the decisive factor in Tullamore squeezing into the second round at CPL Park.

This was a typical, traditional Towns Cup battle with Longford going in front from a Ryan McHugh penalty early on.

Perhaps, it was Tullamore’s superior cutting edge that made the difference as centre Cathal Farrell broke through for a try to hold a 5-3 advantage at the break.

It was at this point that their out–half Stephen Joyce began to have his way, scoring a try in the 44th minute, soon followed by an Aaron Deverell penalty.

Longford maintained their challenge with a try by Diarmuid Masterson, converted by McHugh, to keep it close.

Second-row Fionn Redmond and replacement Kelvin Brown were impactful as Joyce pounced for a second try to seal the deal.

Scorers – Longford – D Masterson try; R McHugh 2 pens. Tullamore – S Joyce 2 tries; Cathal Farrell try; A Deverell pen.

Newbridge 20 North Kildare 15
Tom Treacy’s Newbridge avenged two earlier League defeats to North Kildare at Rosetown.

The home club got in front and stayed there from a try by outstanding second-row Scott McMullen, converted by Robbie Waters.

Chances were not easily created in behind a fierce forward battle, Newbridge settling for a Waters penalty to extend the lead.

However, North Kildare were able to halve the deficit to 10-5 at the break when their lineout got going for Matthew Holton to cross.

A Waters penalty made it a two-score lead for Newbridge and captain Treacy bowled over for Waters to convert for a 15-point lead.

NK clawed their way back through good work by lock David Kingston and out-half Jack White, leading to a penalty try for an illegal tackle on excellent centre Daithi Murphy.

A penalty from the boot of Ciaran Heneghan brought them to within five points, but no further.

Scorers – Newbridge – S McMullen, T Treacy try each; R Waters 2 pens, 2 cons. North Kildare – M Holton try; Pen try; C Heneghan pen.

Dundalk 15 County Carlow 20
County Carlow were able to turn the screw on their hosts at Mill Road.

It was an error-strewn match with a lot of mistakes and knock-ons from two sides engaged in a typical cup dogfight.

Carlow started well enough to force two penalties, Dan Crotty striking the latter for the lead points on 20 minutes.

As always, Dundalk played to their obvious strengths at the set-piece, breaking through for a try by prop Conor Williams on the half hour.

But, the binning of Johnny Williams in the 35th minute opened the door for Carlow to take control by striking either side of half-time.

It was clinical rugby as Carlow exploited the holes for Adam Strong and Dave McDermott to score tries.

They had to be careful not to go into their shell as Dundalk pounced for a try by Simon O’Shea before Johnny Murphy, Dan Crotty and David McDermott were central to moving ahead from a Peter Hennessy penalty.

This made Dundalk’s last-minute try by Kamva Mgwali nothing more than a consolation.

Scorers – Dundalk – C Williams, S O’Shea, Kamva Mgwali try each. Carlow – A Strong, D McDermott try each; B Crotty pen, 2 cons; P Hennessy pen.

Cill Dara 23 Clondalkin 14
A fast start was the driving force behind Cill Dara’s safe passage in front of a large crowd at Silken Thomas Park.

They started strongly and, from a messy Clondalkin lineout, JJ McIlwrath gathered the ball to touch down in the corner.

Cill Dara were exerting pressure in the opening quarter and soon went 12 up after Rory Conway scored under the posts.

DJ Brannock’s yellow card for a foot trip allowed Clon’ back into the game, a half-break and offload by Mikey Russell enabling centre Fionnan Madden to score under the posts.

After demolishing a Clondalkin scrum, McIlwrath picked and made great territory before feeding Dave Vaughan to race away to the corner.

Just on half-time, CD were undone by out-half Russell’s interception to leave it 17-14, Conor Loughrey converting both of Clon’s tries.

In the second half, neither team could get much momentum, two penalties from Rory Conway seeing the home side through to the second round.

Scorers – Cill Dara – R Conway try, 2 pens, con; JJ McIlwrath, D Vaughan try each. Clondalkin – F Madden, M Russell try each; C Loughrey 2 cons.

Wexford Wanderers 34 Mullingar 27
A brace of tries each for Stuart Hession and Kevin Mahoney propelled Wexford into the next round at Park Lane.

It didn’t look good for Wanderers when they trailed 15-7 after 22 minutes to tries by Daryl Quinn and David Manning.

However, they improved in the second quarter to register tries as Stuart Hession scored one and created another for Kevin Mahoney to go in 19-15 ahead at the interval.

That man Hession was back in business for the fourth try and Shane McGuinness, from an interception, took them well clear.

A yellow card for Kaylem Codd allowed Mullingar back into the game, Paul Maxwell and Quinn nailing tries before Donal Buckley’s penalty closed the show.

Scorers – Wexford – K Mahoney, S Hession 2 tries each; S McGuinness try; D Buckley pen, 3 cons. Mullingar – D Quinn 2 tries; D Manning, P Maxwell try; R Kui pen, 2 cons.

Tullow 37 Athy 16
Two quick tries in double-quick time gave Tullow control they never relinquished at Black Gates.

The Carlow club’s big men used their good handling skills to unlock the defence, number eight Conor Duffy picking up the first of five tries.

Athy’s forwards Theodore Cinabou, Niall Dunne and Niall O’Hanlon stood up in the face of an irresistible force and they were rewarded by Craig Millar’s brace of penalties.

Those were overtaken when second-row Martin Cole and wing Scott O’Sullivan cracked the defence for a 21-6 gap at the break.

Thereafter, Cole’s second and one from Jamie Cooper took Tullow well clear before late tries by Ciaran Fennessy and Stephen Gray brought respectability to the scoreboard.

Scorers – Tullow – M Cole 2 tries; J Cooper try 2 pens, 3 cons; S O’Sullivan, C Duffy try each. Athy – C Fennessy, S Gray try each; Craig Miller 2 pens.

Roscrea 8 Skerries 16
Skerries came away from Roscrea with a hard-fought double-scores victory at Streamstown.

The writing was on the wall when the Dubliners were able to absorb pressure and a try by second-row Spencer to edge it 6-5 at the break, courtesy of two Mark Mulcahy penalties.

Thereafter, Skerries lifted their level of performance to forge tries by Sam Davidson and James Downes.

The home side kept in touch through a Roddy Ryan penalty as Oran O’Reilly excelled on his first senior start.

Scorers – Roscrea – B Spencer try; R Ryan pen. Skerries – S Davidson, J Downes try each; M Mulcahy 2 pens

New Ross 30 Edenderry 25
New Ross had to survive a first-half scare in coming through against Edenderry at FBD Park.

The Offaly club moved into a confidence-building lead from out-half Gavin Murray’s try in the second minute.

They had stellar performances from flankers Evan Murphy and Ethan Cooney and centre Joey Higgins.

Their loose-head Mark Kavanagh’s try added to points from the boot by Shane Cimmins allowing them to hold a 15-10 lead at the break

There was the whiff of a surprise in the air and that was enough to trigger New Ross into action,

They struck for two tries by James Fitzpatrick and Jack Brennan in 15 minutes to turn the game on its head and a drop goal by Barry Roche kept them a step ahead.

Edenderry did have the final say when second-row Brian Holt closed the gap with a try in the last minute.

Scorers – New Ross – M Crowdle, J Fitzpatrick, J Brennan try each; D Thorpe 2 pens, 3 cons; B Roche dr gl. Edenderry – B Holt, M Kavanagh, G Murray try each; S Cummins 3 pens, 3 cons.

Portlaoise 28 Navan 10
Portlaoise put indifferent League form behind them with their best performance of the season at Togher.

They took an early advantage from Robin Foot’s converted try, countered by one from Navan’s William McAleese after a tap penalty.

A Mark Mullally penalty before the break and two after it meant Portlaoise were 16-5 ahead after 55 minutes.

Three minutes later, the gap was reduced when number eight Andrew Beggy finished off a nice move.

From there, Portlaoise held the upper-hand, adding tries by Ronan Donnellan and Jack Reddin to make certain of their place in the next round.

Scorers – Portlaoise – R Foot, R Donnellan, J Reddin try each; M Mulally 3 pens, 2 cons. Navan – W McAleese, A Beggy try each.

The draw for the Second Round of the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup was conducted in Wexford Wanderers Rugby Club on Sunday afternoon by Leinster President Debbie Carty and Chair of Junior Rugby Pat Carolan after the home side’s 34-27 First Round win over Mullingar.

Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Second Round Draw
Tullamore 2nd XV v Skerries 2nd XV
Co Carlow v New Ross
Cill Dara v Wicklow
Kilkenny v Ashbourne
Tullow v Boyne
Enniscorthy 2nd XV v Portlaoise
Naas 2nd XV v Newbridge
Wexford Wanderers v Gorey

All Second Round ties to be played on Sunday 26th February at 3:00 pm.