Gleeson League. Elite XV

Newcastlewest 42   Presentation 5

Our 2nd XV had their first home game of the season last Saturday on a sunny afternoon in Cullinagh watched by a sizable crowd supporting both teams. Brendan Bourke the new head coach of the Elite’s had the difficult job of selecting the 22 man squad for this one which wasn’t an easy task due to the strength and depth of the adult squad this season.

Presentation came into this week 2 fixture off the back of a 47 – 6 win over Listowel and if the first 10 minutes of the game were anything to go by, they had every intention of continuing there good form. There backline were firing on all cylinders cutting through our defence due to some poor defending initially and only for some great cover tackles from Tadhg Mulcahy, Darren Normoyle and Shane Whelan in particular the visitors could have opened the scoring.

Newcastle West went 3-0 in front when they were awarded a penalty on the Pres 10 metre line and out half Michael O’ Leary stepped up and slotted the kick straight between the uprights. Shortly after that, the home team got in for the opening try of the match due to the pressure put on from the home team’s resurrected defence made the Pres backline spill the ball. Queue Brian O’ Sullivan who looked more like Brian O’ Driscoll for this one, hacking the ball ahead and scooping  the ball up into his hands without breaking stride and outpaced the defenders to dive over the line.

From the restart Pres upped the anti again and after building a number of phases got in for what was to be their only score of the game with a try in the corner after they worked the ball well through the hands. That left the score at half time 10-5 to the home team.

The second half was a completely different story as the strength and depth of the match day 22 came into fruition with the introduction of Alan O’ Riordan, Donal O’ Sullivan, Ronan Mulcahy, Trevor Sexton, Kevin Sheehy and Bryan Mc Auliffe coming on and putting in a great shift for the team. Michael O’ Leary extended the lead with a well worked try, conversion and shortly after a penalty to take the score out to 20 – 5.

Four further tries were scored in the second half from Kevin Sheehy, Antoin Fitzsimons and Aaron O’ Brien who put in a great performance powering through the Pres defence all day long and was rewarded for his efforts with two great tries. Kevin Sheehy and Antoin Fitzsimons tries were both finished off in similar style when the forwards and backs built the phases and after some lovely offloading resulted in these two scores. Michael O’Leary Converted Antoin’s try to leave the final score 42-5.

Man of the Match was Aaron O’ Brien with Michael O’ Leary, Gary Hanley and Shane Whelan also playing well.

Squad: Shane Whelan, Darren Normoyle, Brian O’ Sullivan, Karl Hayes (Capt.), Tadhg Mulcahy, Michael O’ Leary, Ronan Mulcahy, Gavin Whelan, Robert Hayden, Gary Hanley, Padraig Fogarty, Ryan Joyce, Brian O’ Doherty, Antoin Fitzsimons Sub: Rob Moone, Alan O’ Riordan, Ronan Mulcahy, Donal O’ Sullivan, Bryan Mc Auliffe, Trevor Sexton & Kevin Sheehy.