Mullingar RFC vs Newbridge RFC – MATCH REPORT:
The fitter Newbridge team turned on the style when it really mattered in the last 15 minutes of this game and came away with the win and the bonus point. Playng into the stron wind in the first half they led at half time by 7 points. Newbridge scored 4 tries, 3 conversions, 3 penalties and a drop goal to Mullingar’s 2 penalties, 2 tries and a conversion.
Suffering a number of injuries Newbridge went to the bench early on when centre Graham Burns pulled a hamstring and was replaced by Denis O’Callaghan. Mullingar, playing with a strong wind, went ahead when centre Stuart Flynn kicked a penalty in the 6th minute. This was equalised in the 16th minute when outhalf Ronan Skehan kicked a Newbridge penalty from the 22 metre line in front of the posts. A great 60 metere run from the Kildare team’s captain Ronan Mangan saw him stopped just short of the line. This brought further injury when he also pulled a muscle and was replaced by Richard Huston. A scrum in front of the posts saw Skehan kick another penalty. The try of the game was sored by fullback Conor Dolan in the 36th minute as centre Karl Darragh gave him the reverse pass. Skehan converted to leave it at 3 points to 13 at the break.
Playing with the wind we expected Newbridge to press on. However, it was the Mullingar team who took the game to the visitors. Centre Flynn kicked another penalty in the 43rd minute. A series of 5 metre scrums for Mullingar brought much pressure on Newbridge defence. Flynn got over for a try in the 47th minute which he also converted to level the game. Newbridge made a number of changes with Denny Murphy coming on for hooker Matt Duggan and Paddy Commane on for prop Brendan Commane. Newbridge now began to exert pressure from the tackle and from a short penalty Mark Doyle at No. 8 got over for a try which was converted by Skehan. Sebastian Berti came on at outhalf and was very influential in controlling the game. In the 66th minute Ronan Wallace got over for Mullingar. Flynn was short with the conversion into the wind. Skehan kicked a penalty from under the posts in the 70th minute. Sebastian Berti at outhalf dropped a goal from 30 meters to leave the score at 18 points to 26. In the 39th minute winger Liam Donovan ran in for a well executed try. In the 80th minute scrum half Mark Delaney got over for the bonus point try which was converted by Skehan.
Outstanding for Newbridge were Ronan Mangan in the second row and Rory McCann at No. 8. Cormac Nugent was superb in the lineout and at the breakdown. Niall Duggan at hooker and Ciaran O’Rourke were stalwarts in broken play. Centre Denis O’Callaghan did well as did his fellow centre Denis Clarke whose strength on the ball did a lot of damage to Edenderry.
Newbridge: Matt Duggan, Niall Duggan, Pat Commane, Ciaran O’Rourke, Ronan Mangan, Cormac Nugent, Niall O’Connor (Capt), Rory McCann, Mark Delaney, Garret Brewer, Denis O’Callaghan, Denis Clarke, Stephen Cooke, Gary Maguire, Donal Cashman. Substitutes – Oisin Larkin, Adam Bingham, Kevin Miller.