Provincial Towns Cup match Kilkenny VS Ashbourne in Tullow RFC 20.4.14
Kilkenny will take on Ashbourne in the Provincial Towns Cup final on the 20th of April. Winners will be invited to take a place in Marble City Sevens. This is set to be a great match for spectators and players. Kick off is at 3.30 and the referee is rumoured to be Alain Roland. Sean O'Brien should also be there to support his home club as they host this great sporting event.
Kilkenny Wicklow Match Report
Kilkenny Firsts secured their place in the 2014 Provincial Towns Cup final by seeing off a tough and very physical Wicklow side on Sunday in Tullow. Conditions were soft underfoot which prevented both teams from experimenting with the ball, and as a result things were kept very tight indeed.Wicklow started proceedings and it was clear from the outset that they meant business as the Kilkenny ball gatherer was hammered by a tidal wave of red and white jerseys. Kilkenny were awarded two opportunities to take the lead in the seventh and ninth minutes however a rather nervous Willie Wrights missed both attempts at goal which fell short and wide respectively. Both teams tightened their defences and it was stalemate for the next twenty minutes. Kilkenny forwards, led by their formidable No.8 David O'Connor kept trying to break down their opponents defensive lines but all credit to Wicklow they defended superbly and drove Kilkenny back off their lines repeatedly.A somewhat nervous but determined Kilkenny pack regrouped and hit back and it was only a matter of time before a crack would appear. With thirty two minutes played, that crack finally appeared and Kilkenny's outside centre, Philly Walsh, was more than willing to receive the ball and crash over the line to open the scoring. Wrights conversion attempt fell just short of the target. Kilkenny's defensive strength and strict discipline denied their opponents any scoring chance in the first half leaving the score at the break in typical Cup tie fashion 5-0 to the rugby "Cats".Kilkenny restarted the second half, and things remained the same until the final fifteen minutes with neither team surrendering an inch to the other. Wicklow's outhalf, Stephen Duffy, missed a chance to reduce the deficit six minutes into the half and Wright missed a chance to extend Kilkenny's lead in the sixty-fifth minute.Kilkenny quickly realised that the only way to win this game was by scoring tries and they shifted up the gears and increased the pressure on Wicklow. Wright repeatedly kicked Kilkenny deep into the Wicklow half and Kilkenny set up camp on the five-metre line. Following repeated attempts at breaking the Wicklow line, scrum-half Robbie Walsh spotted a way through and using his great strength and agility shrugged off the attentions of his opposite number and scored under the posts.A huge cry went out from the Kilkenny fans as Wright added the conversion giving Kilkenny a 12 point lead. Wicklow were not finished and with approximately ten minutes left on the clock Wicklow found new gusto and set the game alight. From the restart, Wicklow hit Kilkenny with everything they had. Kilkenny were out on their feet but they defended with everything they could muster up. The pressure was too much and as the ball sailed out along the Wicklow backline, Kilkenny heads dropped as the winger Ben Armstrong used the overlap to his full advantage and touched down. Duffy added the conversion.A valiant Wicklow team fought on to the bitter end but it was Kilkenny who emerged victorious. Full credit must be given to both teams for their sheer determination and never-give-up attitude. They entertained the fans from both sides with some stunning rugby and heart-stopping moments.Kilkenny now face Ashbourne in the final which will be held in Tullow RFC on 20th April at 3.00pm.Both these teams are no strangers to each other having already met twice this season in the Leinster League. Ashbourne, who were recently crowned league champions, beat Enniscorthy 12-10 in the other semi-final, in what was a very closely contested game. Ashbourne who will be favourites going into the final will have all the work to do to maintain their unbeaten record this season. Kilkenny are an equal match for the Meath men and with Kilkenny going in search of their sixth Towns Cup, this promises to be a thrilling encounter.Kilkenny Firsts: - Joey Manuel (C), Killian Everard, Sean Moran, Philly Walsh, Podge Mahon, Willie Wright, Robbie Walsh, David O'Connor, John Phelan, Darragh Farragher, Victor Ryan, Wes Carter, Hugh O'Brien, Martin Leahy, Wayne Kavanagh.Subs: - Darren Bawle, Tom Massey, Philly Ryan, Conor Phelan, Denis Hogan.Wicklow: - Ben Porter, Ben Armstrong, Fran Cooney, Ken Copeland (C), Ben Mangan, Stephen Duffy, Mark Higgins, Eoin O'Sullivan, Michael Doyle, Liam Gaffney, John Jenkinson, Niall Smullen, Sean O'Brien, Jason Byrne, Paddy Jameson.Subs: - Simon Breen, Gareth Fitzsimons, Stephen Roberts, Ronan Monahan, Karl Townsend.