North Kildare Start 2016 With A Win
Hard fought 21-18 victory leaves North Kildare in second place with a huge two weeks head.
Perhaps over indulgence over the festive period was to blame as a difficult opening few minutes saw north Kildare 10 nil down. A team that proved they will not go down without a fight by coming from behind in their previous outing displayed that strength of character once more. After 15 minutes a well-executed line out and drive saw them open their account, with Tom Satchwell eventually dotting down. From a very difficult angle, Jack Bruton hit the post with the touch line conversion that followed.
Although Longford managed to extend their lead midway through the first half, with a penalty making it 13-5, North Kildare’s line out maul was causing the visitors some real problems. The latest in a succession of drive could only be stopped by illegal means, which saw Longford penalised and also reduced to 14 men as they saw yellow for collapsing. Moments later things got even worse for Longford as they struggled to cope under intense North Kildare pressure. As it boiled over, back chat to the referee reduced Longford to 13 men and left Kildare with a 5 metre scrum. With possession secured, some slick back play culminating in an inch-perfect 15 metre pass from James Malone put Joe Gerry in for a try. Unbelievably yet again Bruton hit the post, leaving North Kildare trailing 13 to 10 at the half.
North Kildare opened the second half with characteristic intensity. The home sides pack were beginning to dominate, as epitomised by a powerful Tom Satchwell run. He broke from the base of a strong scrum before picking out the Longford out half and barrelling through. The break lead to a period of sustained pressure from North Kildare in the Longford 22 which should have lead to points, but some disjointed play let the visitors off the hook on a number of occasions.
Despite the pressure, it wasnt until twenty minutes into the half that Kildare drew level, a Bruton penalty on the back of more Longford indiscipline in face of pressure bringing the score to thirteen points a-piece.
Longford struck back with a high risk play. A crossfield kick inside their own 22 lead to another Longford try which ultimately went unconverted. However the five point lead ensured a very tense finish for North Kildare players and supported alike.
As has been the case all season, pressure brought out the best in this Kildare side. Cool heads and the experience of closing out tight games meant that there was always likely to be a reaction and a strong finish from the home team, and as ever that charge was lead by the Captain, Luke Satchwell. It was his powerful break which put Tom Delaney in for an unconverted try which once again tied the match, at 18 all. Moments later a penalty from the mercurial Bruton put Kildare ahead going into the final minutes.
Cormac Meyler nearly snatched a late fourth try and bonus point for Kildare with a neat grubber kick through the defence, but he cramped-up as he chased his kick and a good scrambling defence managed to get back to cover.
The final score of a 21-18 win cements North Kildare’s second position in the league, and leaves them facing a massive fortnight with games against their 3rd and 1st placed rivals. Next week they travel to third placed Wicklow, followed by a home game against league leaders Malahide the week after. Everyone connected with the club will be hoping for a big turn-out at the Maws on Sunday the 23rd, with all very welcome down to cheer on a team which is playing some great rugby and enjoying some of its best performances in recent years.
J. Gerry, T.Delany, J.Malone, K. McDonald, C.Myler, J.Bruton, C.J McCrossan; C.Cummins, D.Preston, G.Satchwell, C.McMurrough, E.Hopkins, S.Woods, L.Satchwell, T.Satchwell.
Replacements: P.McInerney, C.Hannify, L.Dempsey, P.Ryan, P.Casey.