Tullow, Carlow 34 Ennis 27
An all round better balanced Tullow side proved that bit too strong for Ennis in the All-Ireland under 16 rugby cup final at the 4G pitch in Mullingar this afternoon.
The Carlow outfit got off to a dream start, scoring a try in the opening minute and they held the lead throughout.
That said, Ennis never dropped the heads and battled back strongly, particularly in the second half but the Leinster premier side held the upperhand in the vital areas and deserved their win.
“We were on the back foot from the word go. We had prepared well and we thought everything was right for us as the injuries had cleared up but the early score rattled us. We never got ahead and when we scored they hit back with a score. All credit to Tullow, they are a fine team”, Ennis manager Ken Butler said after the game.
Tullow kicked off and attacked straight away and scored in the corner through Jack Hanlon. They had the better of the early exchanges and almost got over the Ennis line again a few minutes later.
Eight minutes into the game Ennis levelled, Darragh O’Callaghan getting the vital touchdown. The conversion attempt from Ethan Coughlan was wide of the target.
The new champions were back in front in the tenth minute when Dylan Doyle was successful with a penalty and as the game reached the mid point of the half the Leinster side struck for their second try.
The conversion was missed but Tullow led 13-5. As the game reached the half hour mark Ennis struck for their second try, Colm Kearney getting the touchdown but again their joy was shortlived as Tullow responded within two minutes for their third try and this one was converted to leave them 20-10 ahead and this was the position at half time.
Just before the break Ennis introduced Denis Vaughan and Hope Omorodion for Ryan Murphy and Eoghan Hahessy.
Ennis needed a bright start to the second half and they struck a minute after the resumption when a break by team captain Tony Butler led to a Colm Kearney try which was converted by Ethan Coughlan bringing the score to 20-17.
The Ennis side enjoyed the upperhand in the opening ten minutes of this half and looked likely to score again but in the tenth minute they lost possession and Tullow launched a counter attack which ended with a Jack Hanlon try which Dylan Doyle converted to restore their ten point advantage, 27 to 17.
To their credit, Ennis refused to drop the heads and five minutes later Tony Butler broke past a number of opponents for his team’s fourth try. Coughlan didn’t have his best day from the tee and the conversion attempt drifted wide leaving the score at 27-22.
Tullow struck again, somewhat against the run of play, and Billy Lawlor went over for their fifth try which Doyle converted to give his side a twelve point advantage at 34-22 with half an hour of the second half played.
Ennis came storming back again and team captain Butler got in for another try but time wasn’t on their side and a minute later Tullow were celebrating.
Ennis; Bence Benko, Joseph Keane, Ryan Murphy; Brian Barry, Eoghan Hahessy; Daragh O’Callaghan, Daniel Fogarty, Conor Moloney; Ethan Coughlan, Tony Butler; Sean McGrath, Sean Keane, Brian Crowley-Hayes, Jason Downes; Colm Kearney;
Subs; Denis Vaughan and Hope Omorodion for Hahessy and Murphy (34 minutes)
By Seamus Hayes