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Naas 18 Galwegians 13 2016-09-19 12:45:00

Successful Start to UBL Division 1B for Naas
Naas senior squad hosted Galwegians at Forenaughts for round 1 of the Ulster Bank League on Saturday last (17th September). This was a historic day for Naas RFC as it was their first ever game in Division 1B after following their promotion last season. The game kicked off at the usual time of 2.30pm in ideal sunny conditions and was attended by a large gathering of enthusiastic home and visiting supporters many of whom were also attending the Naas RFC Family Day.

Both teams started conservatively but Naas had a clear territorial and possession advantage in the first quarter. The first score of the game came in the 30th minute following an outstanding try by Naas wing Fionn Carr. Galwegians responded promptly with a superb long range penalty kick by Mitch Lam to narrow the deficit to 2 points. A further try by influential Naas centre Henry Bryce in the 40th minute gave Naas a 12-3 point lead at the interval.

Galwegians dominated for most of the second period and regained the lead by a single point in the 68th minute following a brilliant try by wing Ed O’ Keeffe and converted by Mitch Lam, who had also scored a prior penalty in the 50th minute. Naas however battled to regain the lead minutes later with a long range penalty kick by Peter Osborne which he then repeated in the 75th minute to wrap up an oustanding overall Naas team performance with a deserved 18-13 point win.

Whilst Naas dominated territory and possession during the first quarter with Will O’Brian, Paul Tolofua, Charles Kings, Dan O’Beirn, Fionn Carr and Johne Murphy very influential, Galwegians countered with repeated long range kicks deep into the Naas 22 from their skillful outhalf Mitch Lam and fullback Adam Leavy. The Naas half-backs Ben Swindlehurst and Peter Osborne were very influential in managing this tactical play along with the Naas back three of Fionn Carr, Fionn Higgins and Andrew Shanahan.

The opening score for Naas, in the 30th minute, came after Galwegians were penalised at a lineout on the Naas 22. Naas kicked for a lineout on halfway. Possession was secured brilliantly by David Benn and he combined with Peter Osborne and Ben Swindlehurst who attacked forward to the 10m line. He then gave a perfectly timed pass to Fionn Carr who attacked through the centre at pace and overcame multiple tackle attempts to cross for an outstanding opening try and score, wide on the right flank. The conversion attempt by Peter Osborne drifted narrowly wide to give Naas a 5 point lead.

Just 4 minutes later Naas conceded a scrum penalty on their 10m line and Galwegians outhalf, Mitch Lam, slotted over brilliantly to narrow the deficit to 2 points (score 5-3).

In the 39th minute, Naas flanker Ryan Casey secured possession on their 22 and combined with Fionn Carr and Fionn Higgins who attacked to halfway. Naas pressed deep into the Galwegians 22 but subsequently turned over possession. However when Galwegians attempted to clear under pressure from their 22 they were brilliantly charged down by David Benn and Henry Bryce followed up swiftly to touch down left of goal for a superb Naas try. An excellent conversion by Peter Osborne gave Naas a 12-3 point lead at the interval.

Naas started the 3rd quarter confidently with Michael Skelton making an immediate impact at fullback and Will O’Brien, Paul Monahan, Jason Harney and Adam Coyle very influential.

In the 50th minute however Naas were penalised for an illegal tackle and their backrow was sent to the bin. Galwegians immediately capitalised with an excellent penalty kick by Mitch Lam from 35m to narrow the deficit to 6 points (score: 12-6).

In the 54th minute Fionn Carr won a penalty for Naas on their 10m line. Henry Bryce attacked immediately to halfway and kicked ahead to deep inside the Galwegians 22 where Naas were awarded a 5m scrum. Naas were subsequently penalised and allowed Galwegians to cleat their lines.

In the 65th Naas were again penalised for not releasing on their 10m line. Mitch Lam kicked for goal but the attempt drifted narrowly wide. However just minutes later Galwegians attacked from a lineout on halfway and pushed Naas back to their 22. Following successive rucks in the centre they stretched the Naas defence on the left flank and crossed for an outstanding try scored by wing Ed O’Keeffe and converted by Mitch Lam to take the narrowest of leads in the 68th minute (score: 12-13).

At this stage the Naas team was bolstered by the arrival of Warren Larkin and Conor Johnson who performed brilliantly for the remainder of the game.

Galwegians were penalised for not releasing in the tackle on their 10m line. Scrumhalf Peter Osborne kicked brilliantly from long range to recover the lead for Naas in the 72th minute (score: 15-13).

A further penalty at the breakdown was skillfully won by Adam Coyle on the Galwegians 10m line. Peter Osborne again kicked brilliantly from long range to extend the Naas lead to 5 points in the 75th minute (score: 18-13).

In the closing minutes of play the entire Naas squad defended brilliantly and especially influential were Will O’Brien, Michael Skelton, Warren Larkin, Dan O’Beirn and Andrew Shanahan.

Naas senior squad travel to County Antrim on Saturday 24th September for their round 2 UBL game against Ballymena, which kicks off at the usual time of 2:30 pm.

Scores / Scorers:
Naas 18 (Peter Osborne 1 con, 2 pens, Fionn Carr 1 try, Henry Bryce 1 try)
Galwegians 13 (Mitch Lam 1 con, 2 pens, Ed O’Keeffe 1 try)

Naas Team:
Fionn Higgins 14. Fionn Carr 13. Johne Murphy 12. Henry Bryce 11. Andrew Shanahan (Michael Skelton, 40’) 10. Ben Swindlehurst 9. Peter Osborne 1. Dan O’Beirn (Adam Coyle, 36’) 2. Charles Kings (Conor Johnson, 65’) 3. Jason Harney (Dan O’Beirn, 65’) 4. David Benn 5. Paul Monaghan (Eoin Walsh, 48’) 6. Ryan Casey 7. William O’Brien (Capt.) 8. Paul Tolofua (Warren Larkin, 70’). Replacements: 16. Conor Johnson 17. Adam Coyle 18. Eoin Walsh 19. Warren Larkin 20. Michael Skelton

Galwegians Team:
Adam Leavy 14. Matthew Byrne 13. Cormac Brennan 12. Brian Murphy 11. Ed O’Keeffe 10. Mitch Lam 9. Barry Lee 1. Conan O’Donnell 2. Jack Dineen 3. Jason East 4. Matt Towey 5. Eoin Tormey 6. Paul Hackett 7. Josh Pim 8. Anthony Ryan. Replacements: 16. Patrick Curran 17. John Moloney 18. Ronan Moore 19. Aidan Moynihan 20. David Clarke


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