Adult Hurling League Division One Round-Up (June 21): Dublingaa.ie – June 23 2017

AHL 1 ROUNDUP – 21ST JUNE

ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: JUNE 21

After holding off a late surge from Naomh Fionnbarra at Pope John Paul II Park on Wednesday evening, St Jude’s kept their position at the top of the Adult Hurling League Division One table with a 1-17 to 1-13 victory.

The Wellington Lane side had suffered their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of neighbours Ballyboden St Enda’s on June 10th, but with free-taker Colm O’Callaghan in fine form, they developed a strong first-half platform against Fionnbarra.

The full-back line of Kevin Treacy, Eoin McLoughlin and Manus Malone were excellent throughout, and even though they conceded a goal to the Cabra men in the latter stages of the opening period, they ultimately brought a 0-11 to 1-4 lead into the interval.

O’Callaghan was ably-supported in attack by John Ryan and Mark Maguire – and it was a close-range three-pointer by Maguire that reinforced the away side’s superiority after the restart. Fionnbarra reduced the gap again during the closing moments of the contest, but despite creating some promising chances on goal, they couldn’t prevent Jude’s from claiming their fourth league win of 2017.

Second place in the top-flight is currently occupied by Kilmacud Crokes – who bounced back from recent defeats to Jude’s and St Brigid’s with a 5-17 to 1-15 home triumph over Crumlin. Although they fielded without a number of first-team regulars, Crokes were able to call on the services of Oisin O’Rourke, and his first-half goal propelled the Stillorgan men towards a commanding 1-12 to 0-8 lead at the break.

Liam Cantwell and Martin Connor delivering accomplished defensive displays, and while Crumlin initially kept within touching distance, Crokes discovered an extra gear in the second period. The lively Alex Considine raised a green flag for the hosts, and with O’Rourke bringing his final haul up to 2-10, they were deserved winners on the night.

Ballyboden St Enda’s are another team that have shown good form in recent weeks, and they edged a thrilling encounter against St Brigid’s with just three points to spare (4-18 to 3-18) at Sancta Maria. St Vincent’s had gone four games without a win heading into their meeting with northside rivals Na Fianna on Tuesday, but they emerged with a morale-boosting 5-16 to 1-16 victory.

Meanwhile, Craobh Chiarain received a walkover from Cuala for their proposed clash at Clonshaugh, which helped them to leapfrog Naomh Fionnbarra and Crumlin in the table.

By Daire Walsh

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Adult Hurling League Division One Round-Up (June 21): Dublingaa.ie – June 23 2017

Joy Neville Interview Number Two: Irishrugby.ie – June 21 2017

Neville: A Women’s World Cup On Irish Soil Will Be Amazing

With four tries to her name over the course of the tournament, it is no surprise that Joy Neville has fond memories of the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Daire Walsh brings us the second part of Joy’s #WRWC2017 interview.

Joy Neville had already establish herself as a regular fixture in the Ireland team by the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup – she also featured at the 2006 tournament – and the influential back rower scored two tries in both pool wins over the USA and Kazakhstan in Guildford.

The clash with the US on August 24 was her 50th cap at international level, and it helped to make the tournament in England a positive experience overall.

“It was very positive. I scored two tries on my 50th cap against USA. I’ll never forget that day. It’s always good. I think with World Cups, obviously you strive to do the best that you can, and finish in the best place that you possibly can,” explained Neville, who cites former international Fiona Steed as ‘an inspirational figure’ in her early rugby development.

“A lot of preparation, time and management, and hard work, is put into a World Cup campaign. There’s a massive bond between yourself and the team players, and there’s always a good sense of team work. It’s always a great experience.”

After bringing her playing career to an end after the historic Grand Slam success of 2013, Neville missed out on Ireland’s last appearance at the World Cup three years ago. Philip Doyle’s charges recorded a magnificent victory over defending champions New Zealand in her absence, and while she did regret not getting a chance to test herself against the all-conquering Black Ferns, she felt it was the right time to step away.

“One of the reasons why I retired after the Grand Slam was I just felt my body had enough. I didn’t enjoy the training anymore. I loved playing the games, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I knew that I was happy to finish on that high with the Grand Slam.

“I definitely found it difficult not being involved in the last World Cup in France, and especially due to the fact that I never got an opportunity to play against New Zealand. I went over for the three weeks to support the girls, and I did feel that they were going to do very well. Success breeds success, and an awful lot of publicity since then has been provided to the girls, and well-deserved as well.”

Indeed, with this summer’s World Cup taking place in Ireland, it has increased the anticipation around the current squad. Unprecedented demand for tickets had led to an increased capacity at the UCD Bowl for the pool stages, and Neville also believes Kingspan Stadium in Belfast will be an ideal venue for the final on August 26.

“I would love to have had the opportunity to play in a World Cup in your home country. It will be amazing, and I think it will be nice then to move on to Ravenhill (Kingspan Stadium) where the capacity is higher for more people to come and support the girls.

“I’m just hoping now that they do well. They get out of their group stages and perform, and do themselves and do their country justice. I’m sure they will,” she added.

Posted in Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Joy Neville Interview Number Two: Irishrugby.ie – June 21 2017

Rugby Column Number 82: The Kildare Nationalist – June 20 2017

RUGBY COLUMN – JUNE 20

By Daire Walsh

KEITH Earls, Dan Leavy and Jack Conan all produced strong performances in Shizouka on Saturday, as Ireland began their two-game series against Japan with a commanding 50-22 victory.

An equally comprehensive success at the expense of the US Eagles in New Jersey seven days earlier had placed Joe Schmidt’s charges in a positive frame of mind, and they will now be hoping to maintain their 100% record on this Summer Tour when they renew acquaintances with the Japanese this weekend.

Joey Carbery had featured at out-half for Ireland against the US, but after sustaining an ankle injury in the second-half of that game, the Athy man was ultimately ruled out for the remainder of the Tour. His place at half-back was taken by Paddy Jackson, but there was still a Kildare presence in the Ireland match-day squad for this encounter.

Kill native James Tracy was named amongst the Irish replacements, and deputised for Niall Scannell during the second period – earning his third senior international cap in the process. Earls was one of the key performers for the Green Army against the US, and he followed up an early Jackson penalty with a clinical converted try.

Japan opened their account with a Yu Tamura three-pointer, before the visitors responded once again with a brace of tries from the excellent Leavy. His back-row partner, Jack Conan, also crossed over before the end of the half – as Ireland brought a seemingly unassailable 31-3 lead into the break.

Conan received a recall to the Irish squad on the back of his exceptional form for Leinster in the past season, and he claimed his third try in just two games shortly after the restart. This Irish scoring sequence was disrupted by a Ryuji Noguchi five-pointer, before Ireland re-asserted their authority when Garry Ringrose and Earls crossed the Japanese whitewash.

Sharp finishes from Kenki Fukuoka and Yutaka Nagare helped the home team to add a degree of respectability to the final scoreline, but Ireland will be firm favourites to come out on top at Ajinomoto Stadium on Saturday.

Meanwhile, after failing to record a win during the pool stages of the competition, the Ireland U20s finished their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign on a high in the 9th-12 place play-offs. Naas RFC’s Jordan Duggan started in the front-row as Ireland faced Samoa at the Avchala Stadium, and thanks to tries from Ronan Kelleher (two), Peter Cooper, Fineen Wycherley, Oisin Dowling, Calvin Nash, Ciaran Frawley and Caelan Doris, they registered a morale-boosting 52-26 triumph.

Duggan also started Sunday’s meeting with host nation Georgia, and though it was a much tighter affair, Alan Tynan, Caelan Doris and Paul Boyle five-pointer propelled Ireland towards ninth place in a 24-18 win.

Elsewhere, it was a productive weekend for the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad in Malemort at the weekend, as they secured third place in the opening round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix – which will continue in Clermont in the coming week.

Posted in Rugby Column | Comments Off on Rugby Column Number 82: The Kildare Nationalist – June 20 2017

Joy Neville Interview Number One: Irishrugby.ie – June 19 2017

Joy Neville – From Women’s World Cup Player To Referee

Posted in Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Joy Neville Interview Number One: Irishrugby.ie – June 19 2017

Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (June 17): Dublingaa.ie – June 19 2017

AFL1 ROUNDUP – 17TH JUNE

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: JUNE 17

St Brigid’s boosted their Adult Football League Division One prospects at Tymon North on Saturday evening, when they recorded a comprehensive victory over St Jude’s.

Thomas Davis’ three-point home defeat to Na Fianna (3-13 to 1-16) meant that Jude’s would move to the top of the table with another win, but an early goal by Alan Daly helped Brigid’s to hit the ground running in the southside venue.

The dismissal of Colin Murphy also left Jude’s with a numerical disadvantage, as an additional goal from Philip Ryan offered Brigid’s a 2-7 to 0-6 interval lead.

Darren Freeman and Daire Plunkett were also on the scoresheet in the first-half, and a second major by Ryan upon the resumption effectively placed the tie beyond doubt. Scores by Kevin Callaghan, Collie Carr and Freeman increased the gap between the sides, before a fourth goal from Sean Egan steered the Russell Park men towards a 4-14 to 0-11 success.

This ensures that Brigid’s are just two points adrift of Thomas Davis with a game still in hand, and thanks to their 2-14 to 1-11 triumph against St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh on the same day, Ballymun Kickhams also remain in the chasing pack.

Clontarf’s quest for a first win in this season’s top-flight looked set to come to an end when they led St Maur’s by three points (1-11 to 2-5) early in the second-half of their meeting at St Anne’s Park. However, a Davy McGuinness penalty moved Maur’s back into the ascendancy, and with David Carthy in superb form throughout, the Rush outfit edged through on a scoreline of 3-12 to 1-14.

Kilmacud Crokes extended their unbeaten league run to four games at Somerton Park, claiming a narrow 1-12 to 1-11 win against Castleknock. A Pat Burke goal (following superb build-up play from Shane Horan), kept the Glenalbyn men in touch during the opening period, before points from Callum Pearson, Cian O’Connor and Mark Vaughan (who finished with a personal haul of 0-6) helped them to hit the front after the restart.

Crokes also had excellent displays from Nathan Nolan, Ross McGowan, Andy McGowan and Conor Casey, and although they registered a stoppage-time goal, a wayward last-gasp free from Dessie Carlos denied Castleknock a share of the spoils.

After a run of three consecutive draws, Skerries Harps defeated Cuala with two points to spare (1-15 to 0-16), while at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn St Vincent’s came out on top by 3-19 to 2-12 against Lucan Sarsfields. The home sides goals came courtesy of Albert Martin, Tomas Quinn and Craig Brennan while Darren Gavin gave a very impressive performance over the hour for Lucan.

By Daire Walsh

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (June 17): Dublingaa.ie – June 19 2017

Adult Football League Division One: Na Fianna V Thomas Davis – Dublingaa.ie – June 18 2017

AFL 1: GAME OF THE WEEK – NA FIANNA V THOMAS DAVIS

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

Saturday 17th June

NA FIANNA: 3-13

THOMAS DAVIS: 1-16

Strong performances from Tomas Brady and Glen O’Reilly were crucial at Kiltipper Road on Saturday evening, when Na Fianna recorded a much-needed win over Thomas Davis in Division One of the Adult Football League.

Excellent form to date had placed Davis’ at the summit of the table heading into this encounter, but even though their influential attacking duo of Paul Hudson and Shane McGrath finished with a combined haul of 1-9, they ultimately came up just short against the St Mobhi Road outfit.

Na Fianna had just one win under their belt prior to this game – a 1-17 to 1-11 victory over Lucan Sarsfields on April 1st – and were aiming to recover from a midweek home defeat to St Jude’s. Thomas Davis claimed a convincing triumph at the expense of Lucan last Wednesday, and they opened the scoring in humid conditions with a point from centre-forward Chris Galvin.

O’Reilly (a key member of this year’s successful Dublin U21 side) and midfielder Carl O’Connor subsequently split the posts for the visitors, before Davis replied with the first goal of the contest.

With just eight minutes gone on the clock, full-forward Ciaran Farrelly gathered a long delivery, and swiftly picked out his inside partner, Hudson, with a precise hand pass. This left Hudson one-on-one with Eoin Connolly, and he coolly fired beyond the reach of the opposition netminder.

This was a major boost for the top-flight pace-setters, but after excellent approach work from Joey Boland set-up a second O’Reilly score, Na Fianna registered a three-pointer of their own. A looping ball bounced into the path of raiding half-forward Odhran O Maoileidigh, and he palmed home from close-range to give the northsiders a two-point advantage.

Davis’ responded to this potential hammer blow with a a 0-2 salvo by McGrath, but Na Fianna once again created daylight between themselves and the home team. Former dual county star Brady was securing primary possession on the edge of the square, and following another excellent O’Reilly point, he finished to the bottom right-hand corner for his side’s second goal of the half.

The increasingly-prominent McGrath later reduced the gap, only for a similar effort from Alistair Fitzgerald at the other end of the field to ultimately offer Na Fianna a 2-5 to 1-4 interval buffer.

Yet, there was still reason for the five-time county champions to be wary of the challenge posed by Thomas Davis – who introduced three substitutes in the course of the first-half. Eoin Kirby also entered the fray at the beginning of the second period, and immediately turned provider for a 31st-minute Cian Murphy point.

McGrath (who featured for Clare on their journey to the 2016 All-Ireland quarter-finals) narrowed the deficit with another score from the right-wing just three minutes later, but although they kept the scoreboard ticking at a steady rate, Na Fianna maintained their own attacking threat.

The defensive trio of Boland, Niall McGovern and Senan Coughlan all added their names to the scoresheet, and while McGrath, Farrelly and Hudson (two) were also on target for Davis’, a third Na Fianna goal looked like placing the tie beyond doubt 13 minutes from time.

After the superb O’Reilly raised a white flag with the outside of his boot, Brady completed a strong break with a composed strike to the Davis’ net. Swapped scores between McGrath and Brady meant that Na Fianna remained six points in front heading into the final 10 minutes of normal time, but they were kept on their toes by a late flourish from their opponents.

Four points in succession courtesy of Kirby, Hudson, Farrelly and Ryan Deegan helped Davis’ to build momentum, until Darragh McHugh restored order for Na Fianna deep into second-half stoppage-time.

With an additional six minutes played, there was enough time for marauding Davis wing-back Murphy to grab his second point of the day, but it was Adam Caffrey (who spent large spells as a sweeper at the heart of the Na Fianna defence) who had the final say with a successful free from all 50 metres.

This lifts Na Fianna’s spirits ahead of their home tie against St Vincent’s on Wednesday week, whereas Thomas Davis will face another tough test away to an in-form St Brigid’s on the same evening.

Scorers – Na Fianna: Tomas Brady 2-1, Glen O’Reilly 0-5, Odhran O Maoileidigh 1-0, Adam Caffrey (f), Niall McGovern, Senan Coughlan, Joey Boland, Carl O’Connor, Alistair Fitzgerald, Darragh McHugh 0-1 each. Thomas Davis: Paul Hudson 1-3, Shane McGrath 0-6, Cian Murphy, Ciaran Farrelly 0-2 each, Ryan Deegan, Chris Galvin, Eoin Kirby 0-1 each.

NA FIANNA: Eoin Connolly; Niall Cooper, Niall McGovern, Senan Coughlan; Joey Boland, John Kelly, Jimmy Higgins; Carl O’Connor, Gus Farrell; Odhran O Maoileidigh, Michael Deegan, Glen O’Reilly; Adam Caffrey, Alistair Fitzgerald, Tomas Brady. Subs: JJ Martin for Fitzgerald (40), Killian Deeley for O Maoileidigh (47), T Foran for Farrell (52), Eoin Neville for Deegan (60), Darragh McHugh for Boland (62), Fitzgerald for O’Reilly (63).

THOMAS DAVIS: Sean Blanchfield; Adam Fallon, Gavin Carruth, Conor Molloy; Daire Kerr, Rory Gleeson, Cian Murphy; Ryan Deegan, Oisin Kelly; Shane McGrath, Chris Galvin, Daithi Ryan; Joey O’Reilly, Ciaran Farrelly, Paul Hudson. Subs: Eanna O’Toole for O’Reilly (12), Lawrence Healy for Gleeson (22), Aaron Shorten for Kerr (30), Eoin Kirby for Ryan (h-t), Peter Boland for Molloy (44).

Referee: Tony Lambe (St Vincent’s).

Written by Daire Walsh

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division One: Na Fianna V Thomas Davis – Dublingaa.ie – June 18 2017

Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (June 14): Dublingaa.ie – June 15 2017

AFL1 ROUNDUP – 14TH JUNE

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: JUNE 14

St Jude’s maintained the pressure on Division One league leaders Thomas Davis last night, after they recorded an impressive 0-18 to 0-12 victory against Na Fianna at St Mobhi Road in the Adult Football League.

The Wellington Lane outfit had three wins on the bounce heading into yesterday’s game, but despite making a positive start to the action, they trailed 0-6 to 0-8 during the interval. However, thanks to strong scoring returns from Niall Coakley (0-7), Declan Donnelly (0-3) and Collie Murphy (0-2), they eventually saw off the challenge of their northside counterparts.

Jude’s now sit just one point adrift of Thomas Davis in second place (with a game in hand), but following an outstanding 2-19 to 1-9 success at the expense of Lucan Sarsfields in 12th Lock, the Tallaght men continue to be one of the form teams in the top-flight.

Elsewhere, Skerries Harps recorded their third consecutive draw at Silver Park against Kilmacud Crokes – with Stephen Smith, Harry Dawson and Colin Daly all in fine form. They finished with a combined tally of 0-13, but with Mark Vaughan helping himself to a personal haul of 1-6 (0-5 from placed balls), the sides were ultimately inseparable (1-13 to 0-16).

It was also a tight contest at Rush between St Maur’s and Castleknock, where Chris Carthy was once again excellent for the home side. However, with Limerick footballer Seamus O’Carroll recording a 0-3 salvo, and the likes of Kevin Kindlon and Graham Hannigan also chipping in with crucial scores, Castleknock finished with two points to spare (0-9 to 0-7).

St Vincent’s suffered recent back-to-back defeats to Maur’s and Lucan, but with Tomas Quinn kicking a grand total of 1-8, they secured a 2-19 to 3-13 win at the expense of Cuala in Hyde Park.

Cuala are still searching for their opening points of the campaign along with Clontarf – who were on the receiving end of a 1-14 to 0-8 reversal against Ballyboden St Enda’s at Sancta Maria.

By Daire Walsh

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (June 14): Dublingaa.ie – June 15 2017

Adult Football League Division One: Ballymun Kickhams V St Brigid’s – Dublingaa.ie – June 15 2017

AFL 1: GAME OF THE WEEK – BALLYMUN KICKHAMS V ST. BRIGIDS

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

BALLYMUN KICKHAMS: 1-20

ST BRIGID’S: 3-12

A 57th-minute goal from Paddy Small was decisive at TCD Santry Avenue on Wednesday night, when Ballymun Kickhams narrowly saw off the challenge of St Brigid’s in a tightly-contested Adult Football League Division One encounter.

Quickfire three-pointers by Kevin Callaghan and Daire Plunkett had placed Brigid’s in the ascendancy during the second-half, but courtesy of Small’s late intervention, it was Ballymun who ultimately secured their fourth win of the league campaign.

This was a well-timed meeting between the two teams, as they were drawn against each other in the Dublin Senior Football Championship quarter-final the previous evening.

Although both sides were short of their inter-county stars, it nevertheless added extra spice to this game, which was played on Trinity College’s northside sports complex. After a couple of early misses, Ted Furman settled Ballymun with a successful ninth-minute free, and he added a brace of scores to give the hosts a three-point cushion heading towards the first-quarter mark.

Brigid’s eventually responded with a well-worked effort by Monaghan native Darren Freeman, but with Jason Whelan and Paddy Small finding the target from subsequent attacks, Ballymun were threatening to create serious daylight over their opponents.

Indeed, despite conceding a point to Alan Daly, Ballymun increased their lead with additional contributions from Furman (free) and Liam O’Donovan. Brigid’s kept in touch through Freeman and ex-Dublin hurler Plunkett, and even though O’Donovan, Small and Whelan split the posts at the opposite end, the Blanchardstown men registered the opening goal of the game on the half-hour.

An incisive attacking move ended with Ryan palming to the net from close-range, but with six minutes of stoppage-time to follow, Ballymun sensed there would be opportunities for them to reply to this set-back.

Dillon Keating and Small were part of the same minor team in Ballymun, and their back-to-back scores ensured that their side brought a 0-12 to 1-4 lead into the break. Brigid’s had come into this game hoping to record their fourth consecutive win in the competition, but their goalkeeper – Eoin Lysaght – came to their aid with an excellent stop from Ballymun’s Karl Keely just after the restart.

This may have left Brigid’s with too much ground to make up, and Ryan’s 34th-minute point was a much-needed one from their point of view. The reliable Furman would cancel out this strike with his opening point from play, while a 0-2 salvo by Freeman preceded similar efforts by Small and Eoin O’Neill.

Yet, Brigid’s grew in confidence as the half wore on, with the impressive attacking duo of Ryan and Freeman taking the game to their Pairc Ciceam rivals. The introduction of Niall Davey and Kevin Callaghan also provided fresh impetus to their play, and the latter was on hand to shoot beyond the reach of Sean Currie at the end of a sharp counter-attack.

Ballymun’s advantage had now been wiped out, and with just 11 minutes remaining in the contest, a third goal by Plunkett allowed them to hit the front for the very first time. The home team were suddenly in a position where they had to chase the game, but unanswered scores from O’Donovan and Furman were the tonic they required heading into the closing moments.

Ballymun remained behind following swapped frees between Freeman and Furman, but just when Brigid’s looked like they might hold out for another top-flight success, Ballymun produced the score that decided the outcome of the tie.

Small’s low shot from a right-hand angle was too strong for Lysaght, and after a Callaghan point brought the gap back to the bare minimum, Hulton added the final score of a high-scoring affair deep into injury-time.

This result keeps Ballymun in the mix ahead of their away meeting with St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh on Saturday, and St Brigid’s will aim to bounce back against St Jude’s at Tymon North on the same day.

Scorers – Ballymun Kickhams: Ted Furman 0-7 (6f), Paddy Small 1-4 (0-3f), Liam O’Donovan 0-3, Jason Whelan, Colm Hulton 0-2 each, Dillon Keating, Eoin O’Neill 0-1 each. St Brigid’s: Darren Freeman 0-7 (3f), Philip Ryan 1-2, Daire Plunkett, Kevin Callaghan 1-1 each, Alan Daly 0-1.

BALLYMUN KICKHAMS: Sean Currie; Collie Moore, Eoin Dolan, Karl Connolly; Davy Bolger, Alan Hubbard, James Burke; Jason Whelan, Karl Keely; Liam O’Donovan, Colm Hulton, Dillon Keating; Paddy Small, Ted Furman, Eoin O’Neill. Subs: Leon Young for Hubbard (6), Alan George for Hulton (50), Hulton for Whelan (56).

ST BRIGID’S: Eoin Lysaght; Sean Egan, Alan McCarrick, Jack Mullins; Malachy Tighe, Gavin Kane, Alan Daly; Sean Murray, Cian Mullins; Daire Plunkett, Mark Cahill, Cathal Doyle; Philip Ryan, Darren Freeman, Niall O’Dea. Subs: Niall Davey for Murray (41), Kevin Callaghan for Doyle (42), Adam Keating for O’Dea (49), Collie Carr for J Mullins (61).

Referee: David O’Connor (Naomh Mearnog).

By Daire Walsh

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Adult Football League Division One: Ballymun Kickhams V St Brigid’s – Dublingaa.ie – June 15 2017

Rugby Column Number 81: The Kildare Nationalist – June 13 2017

RUGBY

Carbery a doubt for Japan after picking up injury during win over USA

By Daire Walsh

IT was a successful return to action for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Saturday evening, as they recorded a comprehensive 55-19 victory over the US Eagles in the opening game of their summer tour.

With two tests against Japan (the host country for the 2019 Rugby World Cup) to come, the Green Army are expected to face sterner examinations before the conclusion of their latest overseas odyssey. However, with a number of players receiving their first caps in the game, and some fringe performers getting a chance to impress, it proved to be a worthwhile exercise on US soil.

With Ronan O’Gara temporarily stepping into the role of defence coach, there was a certain level of anticipation for this game.

Debutants Jacob Stockdale – a starter in the Irish back-three – Dave Heffernan, Andrew Porter, James Ryan and Rory Scannell were all included in matchday squad, while Joey Carbery made his fourth senior international appearance at out-half.

The most experienced back on show was Munster’s Keith Earls, and he recorded two tries during a superb individual display in the first-half. Stockdale, Niall Scannell and Kieran Marmion also crossed over before the interval, but even though he registered a 35th-minute conversion, Carbery was charged down for an earlier US try by Nick Civetta.

He also added the bonuses to a Jack Conan try after the restart, but it was a frustrating outing overall for the Athy youngster. After he had another kick blocked on 45 minutes, John Quill (a native of Youghal, Co Cork) claimed a second try for the hosts.

He later departed the scenes through injury, which could well bring his tour with Ireland to an abrupt end. Ryan Matyas also secured a five-pointer for the US,  but even though Connacht star AJ MacGinty (who is, like Carbery, an ex-Blackrock College student) added four points from the kicking tee, Ireland were the dominant team throughout.

James Ryan (who is yet to make a first-team appearance for Leinster), Luke McGrath and Simon Zebo added further tries, and they aim to bring this attacking momentum in their upcoming fixtures with Japan on June 17 and June 24.

Meanwhile, there was further disappointment for Jordan Duggan and the Ireland U20s in the World Rugby U20 Championships in Georgia last Thursday, when they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their final Pool B encounter.

Duggan was a 55th-minute replacement for Joey Conway, but couldn’t prevent Peter Malone’s charges from being on the receiving end of a 3-69 reversal against the Baby Blacks. They will now face Samoa this afternoon (1pm local time/10am Irish time) in the U20 Championships 9th place semi-final, as they continue to search for their opening win in this year’s competition.

Meanwhile, it was another positive weekend for Naas natives Billy Dardis and Fionn Carr, as they were part of the Irish Sevens squad that finished third in the second round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix in Lodz, Poland.

Posted in Rugby Column | Comments Off on Rugby Column Number 81: The Kildare Nationalist – June 13 2017

Adult Hurling League Division One Round-Up (June 10): Dublingaa.ie – June 12 2017

AHL 1 ROUNDUP – 10TH JUNE

A strong second-half showing paid dividends for Ballyboden St Enda’s at Tymon North on Saturday evening (June 10), when they recorded an impressive 2-15 to 0-12 victory over neighbours St Jude’s in Division One of the Adult Hurling League.

Their opponents were undefeated in this year’s competition heading into their latest home encounter with ‘Boden, and even though James Roche, Paul Ryan, Simon Lambert and Finn McGarry were on target for the visitors in the opening period, the reliable John Ryan ensured that Jude’s remained in touch.

They were just two points in arrears (0-6 to 0-4) moving into the second-half, but with the influence of Paul Ryan and McGarry beginning to grow, ‘Boden eventually created significant daylight between the teams. The ever-dependable Paul Ryan registered a 1-3 salvo (including a goal from a penalty), and in spite of the best efforts of John Ryan for Jude’s, a second major by Eoghan O’Neill offered ‘Boden some much-needed breathing space in the latter stages.

This week’s Division One action got underway on Thursday, as St Brigid’s welcomed Kilmacud Crokes to Russell Park. Playing in extremely difficult weather conditions, the home team were facing into a one-point interval deficit (1-8 to 1-7). Paul Winters was in fine scoring form for Brigid’s, and although they were five points adrift heading into the final-quarter, they discovered an extra gear with the finishing line in sight.

Winters was in excellent form throughout, and with Aodhan McInerney, Cathal Doyle, Sean Brady and Daire Plunkett also producing fine performances, St Brigid’s held out for a slender 1-16 to 1-15 success. This was their third league win from four outings, and they are currently just one point behind St Jude’s – who reman at the summit of the table in spite of their loss.

An empathic 3-23 to 1-6 win over Naomh Fionnbarra at Shankill also keeps All-Ireland champions Cuala within touching distance of the top, while O’Toole’s had eight points to spare (3-23 to 2-18) against Crumlin at Pearse Park.

Na Fianna were due to play Craobh Chiarain at Clonshaugh last Thursday, but due to heavy rain in the northside venue, the match was ultimately abandoned.

Written by Daire Walsh

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Adult Hurling League Division One Round-Up (June 10): Dublingaa.ie – June 12 2017