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Naas 28 - UL Bohemians 13   28/09/2017

In previous meetings between these sides in the last 10 months the biggest winning margin was just three points, suggesting another close encounter was on the cards when Naas faced UL Bohmians at home last Saturday. However this scenario did not materialise as after a slow start Naas ran out comfortable and emphatic winners.

Naas played with the advantage of a strong breeze at their backs in the first half, but it was UL Bohs who took the lead after two minutes through a JJ Hanrahan penalty. For the first 20 minutes the visitors were the better side, and there were some worrying moments for the home supporters.

However those fears were eased somewhat by the half-time break as Naas had moved into a ten point lead. On 23 minutes Bohs had a line-out on their own five yard line, but knocked on and conceded a scrum. The Naas set piece was strong all day, it was no different here, and from the scrum Max Whittingham was able to dart over for a try which Johne Murphy converted.

The power of the Naas scrum was again evident three minutes before half-time. A great break by Andrew Kearney took play right up to the Bohs line, but referee Stuart Gaffikin awarded the scrum to the visitors. However Naas drove them off the ball, winning a penalty which Murphy successfully slotted over, and another penalty by the same player on the stroke of half-time gave Naas a 13-3 lead.

With the strength of the breeze there was still some concern that ten points would not be a big enough lead for the second half, but Naas were always in control and never looked like relinquishing their advantage.

They increased their lead five minutes into the second period. A series of pick and drives by the pack led to James Connolly marking his Naas AIL debut by scoring a try. Although Bohs replied with an Ed Kelly try on 54 minutes when diving over from a five yard line-out, two superb efforts by the Naas backs in sixty seconds finished the game as a contest.

On 63 minutes Peter Howard made a break and found Peter Osborne in support. He in turn passed to Ross Bailey Kearney and the ball was then quickly shipped out to Johne Murphy who scored in the corner.

Straight from the kick-off Naas struck again. Great handling by the backs saw the ball moved out to Fionn Higgins 40 yards from the line. Higgins does not need much space to make a scoring opportunity and there was no stopping him here as he sprinted clear of the Bohs defenders to score his third try of the campaign.

Naas now led 28-8 but to their credit Bohs never stopped trying and were rewarded with a consolation try scored by James Ryan, which brought to an end the scoring for the afternoon.

All in all it was a very satisfying victory for Naas against a side who ended their promotion hopes last season. To have gained a maximum ten points from their opening two games is a tremendous start to their league campaign, and sees Naas sitting proudly on the top of the table.

Next up for Naas is a difficult away assignment to Banbridge next Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and all support is welcomed.

Naas: Michael Skelton, Fionn Higgins, Donal Droney, Ross Bailey Kearney, Peter Howard, Johne Murphy, Max Whittingham, Stephen Lackey, Graham Reynolds, Jason Harney, Stephen Kinneavy, David Benn, Andrew Kearney, James Connolly, Paulie Tolofua.

Replacements: Charlie Kings, Jordan Duggan, Philip Jordan, Peter Osborne, Fionn Carr.UL Bohemians: Jack Murray, Finbar Aherne, Harry Fleming, Adrian Enright, Colin Ryan, JJ Hanrahan, Joe Murray, Pauric Nesbitt, David O'Connor, Mike Lynch, Ed Kelly, Darragh Frawley, Noel Kinane, Ian Condell, Brian Walsh. Replacements: Joe Bennett, Mark Bromel, James Ryan, Robbie Burke, Matt McDonald.



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