Newcastle West 30 Old Christian 10

With the sun splitting the stones and the temp in the high teens we gathered in Cullinagh for the third league match of the season. The word from previous matches was that Old Christians were not as strong as NCW up front but this turned out to be a very untrue rumour and the pack was to be tested up front all day.

The visitors were rewarded with 3 points after three minute after the home side conceded a penalty. The pack were having to work hard to get any kind of possession and it was going to be a slow day, however a steal from the line out gave and opportunity for Sean to moves his back line and quick hands allowed Sean Neville playing his first t game of the season bisect the visitors defence and touch down right of the post, The conversion was missed narrowly. The game was stop start and we did not see a score for the next 28 minutes when a great kick by Conor Whelan resulted in Gary O Donnell follow up and tackled there centre who set Sean up for an easy penalty to leave the half time score 8-3.

Sean stretched the lead in the 44 minute of the game when the forwards had piled on the pressure going through seven phases of play before the referee awarded a penalty and the score was now 11-3.With the constant pressure up front the home side were getting the upper hand slightly. It was in the forty seventh minute that what looked like a moment of madness by the Newcastle West tank James Kelly resulted in James taking a quick tap a bursting over the line with everybody else wondering what was going on Sean Converted and at 18-3 it was looking like a good day at the office.

The problems of earlier in the game came back again and our pack was being put under considerable pressure and the referee awarded a dubious penalty try to Old Christians to bring the score to 18-10 at 55 mins.

If Old Christians thought that the door was slightly open, the home side had a different view and they came to life taking no prisoners in a huge effort for the next 25 mins. Hard hits up front by Davy, James and Mikey Culhane. Clever kicking by Sean, Conor and Tommy.

The home side were awarded a penalty and they say lightening does not strike twice in the same place, don’t tell that to James Kelly, again he took a quick tap and bulldozed four players out of his way leaving two on the ground who took ten minutes to recover and scored near the right-hand post to give Sean a handy tap over conversion, 23-10 and ten minutes to go we are now in with a shoot for a bonus point. The backs again combined brilliantly to create a great move which saw the team’s top try scorer Stephen Kelly again cross the line in the 78 minute, Sean Kicked the conversion 30-10.Old Christians rallied for the next few minutes but the home side held out for a flattering score line.

Although a win with a bonus pint is not to be sniffed at it was a stop start performance and as always there is room for improvement

Man of the match is James Kelly. Run closely by Gary O’Donnell, Sean Neville and Declan Moloney

Newcastle West: Tom Kelleher, Stephen Kelly, James Kelly, John Sheehan ,Sean Neville, Conor Whelan ,Sean Herlihy, Declan Moloney, Sean Corbett, TJ Relihan, Dave Foley ,James Corbett, Murley Sheehan, Gary O Donnell, Sean Leahy, Michael Culhane , Pa Galvin, Alan O Riordan, Richard Langford, Brian O Sullivan

Scorers, James Kelly 2 Try’s, Stephen Kelly Try, Sean Neville Try, Sean Herlihy 2 Penalties, 2 conversions,

Next Sunday 19th October 1 XV Muskerry V Newcastle 2.30 pm. In Muskerry, Munster Challenge Cup

Next Saturday 18th October St. Senans V 2nd XV (elite) 2.30 pm. In Shannon. Gleeson League