Naas 13 - U.L. Bohemian 10
Naas 13 - U.L. Bohemian 10
Naas resumed their Ulster Bank All Ireland League campaign with a home fixture against U.L. Bohemian last Saturday. This promised to be a stern challenge for Naas as the visitors had played some sparkling rugby this season to lie second in the table. So despite many counter attractions a large crowd turned up at the venue to see how Naas would cope.In the early stages the answer was that they would not cope well at all. Bohs started brightly and within four minutes they had the opening score. After Naas failed to find touch with a penalty, the visitors attacked at pace and some sublime handling put Finbar Aherne through and he scored under the posts. The conversion was a formality for Rick McKenna and Bohs led 7-0.Naas though soon settled down, gaining a foothold in the Bohs half, but spurned two glorious chances for scores in the space of a couple of minutes. On 11 minutes Henry Bryce made a great break before finding Ben Swindlehurst who off-loaded to Fionn Carr. The latter chipped the ball forward and Bohs were forced to concede a line-out five yards out. However Naas proceeded to lose the line-out and the visitors cleared. Then Rob O'Connor was pulled back off the ball. With the angle for the penalty extremely difficult Peter Osborne kicked into the corner. This time Naas did manage to win the line-out, and quickly moved the ball out to the backs. The Bohs backline were penalised for offside but on this occasion the normally very reliable Peter Osborne was narrowly wide with his kick at goal.On 34 minutes Naas finally got on the scoreboard with a superb try, when following a lovely break in midfield by Osborne, the ball was transferred to Fionn Carr who dived over in the corner. Although the conversion was missed Naas were right back in the game.But teams can be vulnerable just after scoring and this was proven again here. Naas failed to deal with the restart and ended up giving away a penalty for handling in the subsequent ruck. Rick McKenna made no mistake with the penalty to give Bohs a 10-5 half-time lead.Those who went for refreshments at the break may have missed the opening score of the second half as the home side struck within seconds of the restart. The Naas backs quickly moved the ball wide, Henry Bryce made a half break and found Rob O'Connor who scored in the corner. The conversion was narrowly missed but Naas were now on level terms.The story of the rest of the game is easily told. Naas completely dominated both possession and territory, but despite their best endeavours could not get the leading score. With 13 minutes to go, good carries by Eoin Walsh and David Benn took play up to the Bohs line where they conceded a penalty. This infringement led to the visitors captain Ian Condell receiving a yellow card, but even with the extra man Naas still could not score. Great credit for this must go to the Bohs defence as on numerous occasions they looked like being breached but they bravely held on.As they match entered injury time and a draw looking a certainty Naas had one last attack. Their forwards drove at Bohs who were penalised by referee Richard Kerr at a ruck. Naas took full use of the advantage played as the ball was moved to Johne Murphy. He took a drop at goal from 35 yards out. As soon as he struck it his arm went up in delight as he knew it was going over, and it duly sailed through the posts to give Naas a 13-10 victory.All in all despite the narrow margin Naas totally deserved this victory. They dominated for long spells and only some stubborn defence kept them at bay. To play like this against one of the top teams in the league was highly impressive and must give them great hope for the future.Naas are back in action next Friday when they face Old Wesley at Donnybrook with a 8pm kick-off.Naas: Peter Osborne, Fionn Carr, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Rob O'Connor, Ben Swindlehurst, David Barron, Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Andrew Kearney, Will O'Brien, Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Conor Johnson, Jason Harney, Eoin Walsh, Michael Skelton, Andrew Shanahan.U.L.Bohemian: Joe Conway, David Rowsome, Mike Lynch, Ed Kelly, Darragh Frawley, Noel Kinane, Ian Condell, Brian Walsh, James Lennon, Robert Bourke, Cian Aherne, Rick McKenna, Finbar Ahern, Jamie McNamara, Joe Murray. Replacements: Peter King, Craig Trimble, James Ryan, Harry Fleming, Colin Ryan.