BIRR 64 TALLAGHT 3
Birr were hoping to secure second place in the Division with a victory over Tallaght at the Riverside last Sunday and they duly delivered with a calculated and ruthless performance to put themselves in a promotion playoff.
In what has been a recurring theme from this Birr side all year they hit the ground running and the wonderful weather conditions allowed the home side to attacked and off load with great results and the visitors found it difficult to cope with the relentless Birr attack. From the very first play Birr attacked up the middle and gained a strong position in the opponents 22. When the visitors failed to secure possession on their own lineout Captain Alan Guinan stormed for the try line only for his deft pass to out half Swanipole to fall short. However the intention to attack at every opportunity was evident from the Birr side and they eventually secured possession from their own line and following a strong rolling maul Philip Haslam crossed over the line. Haslam at this stage was creating all lot of problems for Tallaght with his barn storming running and he was ably assisted by the impressive new comer Simon Eades. Birr continued to pile on the pressure and after some excellent work form the industrious second row pairing of Mick Keogh and Brendan Hynes Haslam again crossed the whitewash. Birr’s forward domination continued to manifest itself in strong running around the fringes and their phases of rugby were creating opportunities deep in the opposition 22 which finally allowed the influential Christy Hogan to cross for a try.
The visitors regained their composure following Birr’s early display and attacked the home side try line with menace but the they had to settle with a penalty following Birr belligerent defence.
With half time now approaching the home side went in search of the fourth bonus point try and following a quick recycle ball from flanker Chris Molloy at the breakdown Jeff Pardy picked at the ten metre line and following some deft footwork broke through the tackle and his blinding pace allowed him to touch down under the posts.
The introduction of Andrew Lally and Stephen Niland at half time added to the collective performance of the team and the continuous quick recycle ball allowed the centre pairing of Danny Troy and Dara Culbert to created space and eventually Culbert went over for a try in the corner. The home side were reluctant to let up and once again turned over the visitors possession and player coach Peter Swanipole spotted the gap in the defence and crossed the white wash once again.
With the visitors confidence now dwindling Birr continued through the phases and following a strong run from Danny Troy he released the effervesent Joey O’Loughlin who crashed over to give Birr an unassailable lead.
With the visitors anxious to stem the side they threw caution to the wind in attacking the Birr defence but the effective counter attacking of Emmet Scully at wing and forwards Chris Molloy and Andrew Lally tackling with purpose they were kept at bay. One such attack was broken down and when the ball spilled loose captain Alan Guinan reacted the quickest to kick the ball through breaching the Tallaght rearguard and his pace allowed him to beat the covering winger to score another try. Birr completed the game with a fine individual break from scrum half Jonny Heaslip who was seven from ten kicks for the day and finally Stephen Niland who touched down following another fine run from Philip Haslam.
Birr now prepare for the 7th of April next in the promotion/relegation playoff with the venue yet to be decided. They also have Enniscorthy on the 24th March in the second round of the Seconds Towns Cup.
BIRR XI – Garech Doorley, Emmet Scully, Dara Culbert, Danny Troy, Joey O’Loughlin, Peter Swanipole, Jonny Heaslip, Philip Haslam, Simon Eades, Chris Molloy, Mick Keogh, Brendan Hynes, Jeff Pardy, Alan Guinan, Christy Hogan.
Subs Used. Andrew Lally, Stephen Niland