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UL Bohemian 24 - Naas 27   05/02/2017

UL Bohemians 24 - Naas 27

Naas continued their Ulster Bank AIL League campaign with an away fixture to UL Bohemians last Saturday evening. The large crowd that turned up were in a somewhat subdued mood following Ireland's earlier defeat to Scotland. However that was quickly forgotten about as both sides served up a thrilling exhibition of open rugby, that richly entertained everyone with the outcome in doubt right up to the final whistle.

Bohs started the game in second place in the league, and in the opening ten minutes it was easy to see why. They tore into Naas, opening up a ten point lead and looking like they could totally overwhelm the visitors. A James Lennon penalty gave them an early advantage and this was quickly followed by a Ian Condell try. Bohs won a penalty on half-way which Robbie Bourke kicked into the corner. From the subsequent line-out they set up a rolling maul which led to Condell diving over. The conversion from Lennon gave them a ten point lead.

On 12 minutes came a huge turning point in the game. Bohs won another penalty and again elected to go for the corner. However this time Naas stopped the rolling maul forcing Bohs to spread the ball wide. Some good tackling by the Naas backs forced a knock on and Michael Skelton quickly kicked clear. The ball set up beautifully for the chasing Peter Howard to catch and he sprinted clear to score under the posts. The conversion by Peter Osborne reduced the margin to three.

That score gave Naas a huge lift and they dominated the game for the next ten minutes or so. They launched a series of attacks and although Bohs defended well, Naas were patient and went through the phases. Eventually this led to a huge overlap to the right of the pitch and Rob O'Connor was able to stroll over for a try. The conversion by Peter Osborne gave Naas a 14-10 lead.

Bohs are not second in the league for nothing and they quickly responded. They camped themselves in the Naas half and after sustained pressure centre Finbar Ahern scored a try which Lennon converted after 28 minutes to regain the lead. Then on 39 minutes Lennon had a chance to extend it but his penalty attempt struck the post and Naas were able to clear. Soon afterwards referee Jonny Erskine blew the whistle to end a very entertaining half with Bohs 17-14 in front.

Within three minutes of the restart a Peter Osborne penalty levelled matters and ten minutes later Naas took a lead that they were never to relinquish. Naas won a penalty 40 yards out and Ben Swindlehurst kicked into touch. From the line-out Naas drove forward and when they were stopped just short of the line, Henry Bryce picked up and drove over to score. The conversion by Osborne gave Naas a 24-17 lead.

On 62 minutes the same player extended the lead. The Bohs No.8 Noel Kinane high tacked Ben Swindlehurst which led to a yellow card for him and a penalty to Naas which Osborne successfully kicked.

Bohs were now ten points down and missed a chance to reduce the gap when Lennon again struck the post with a penalty attempt. However with six minutes remaining they guaranteed a nervous finish for Naas when Mike Lynch scored a try which Lennon converted.

However to their credit Naas saw out the closing minutes comfortably enough and indeed there was time for a third penalty to hit the post, this time from Peter Osborne in the last minute, leaving the final score UL Bohemians 24 Naas 27.

This was a great away win for Naas, a victory which lifts them to fourth in the table. Next Saturday they host Dolphin with a 4.30pm kick-off and the Ireland v Italy game will be shown in the clubhouse prior to it.

Naas: Michael Skelton, Peter Howard, Fionn Carr, Henry Bryce, Rob O'Connor, Ben Swindlehurst, Peter Osborne, Dan O'Byrne, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Eoin Walsh, Will O'Brien (capt), Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Warren Larkin, Adam Coyle, Andrew Kearney, Ben O'Connor, David Barron.

UL Bohemians: Joe Murray, Jamie McNamara, Finbar Ahern, Rory White, Cian Ahern, Robbie Bourke, James Lennon, Philip Poillot, Philip Dowling, Mike Lynch, Noel Kinane, Ed Kelly, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Noel Kinane. Replacements: Pauric Nesbitt, Joe Moloney, Craig Trimble, Colin Ryan, Rick McKenna.






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