Roscrea 19 Birr 17
In a thrilling encounter, played last Saturday in the Cistercian College grounds, Roscrea just held out to defect a gallant Birr side and reach the Division I final for the 2nd year in a row. This match had everything with total commitment from two excellent teams, some wonderful rugby and great sportsmanship from every player.
Birr started of very well and had most of the early possession. Roscrea’s tactic of running the ball from deep played into the opposition hands as conditions were too bad and it made handling and passing extremely difficult. Roscrea were guilty of many knock-ons and gave possession away to Birr who made good use of it, going into a 12 point lead with two good trys and a conversion. One of the trys came from some great work by the Birr pack and the second come from a good back movement. Roscrea changed their tactics and opted to kick more. This put Birr under some pressure and Peter Queally made a good run but was stopped 5 metres short.
Cian Rigney scored the first try with Peter Wright adding the extra points. Winger, Carl Stringer was up quickly on a Peter Wright kick and Roscrea got a timeout inside the Birr 22. Mark Treacy and Cian Rigney led the forward drive over the line with captain Cian Rigney getting his 2nd try. Peter Wright’s conversion attempt was just short and at half time the terms were level at 12 points each.
Birr started off the better in the 2nd half and put Roscrea under fierce pressure, defending in their own 22. The defense held out for a long time with some great tackling but eventually Birr got far a deserved try in the left corner to give them a 5 point lead.
Roscrea came back strongly and now it was Birrs turn to defend. Colm Stapleton burst over for a try to level the match. Peter Wright gave Roscrea a two point lead with the conversion. In the last 10 minutes Birr threw everything at Roscrea but the defense held firm and they held out for a narrow victory.
Cian Rigney led by example and he got great help from his forward colleague, J.Delaney. Padraig Nesbitt were very solid in the scrum and also prominent in the loose. Kieran Maher and Peter Wright combined well at half back. Peter Queally and John Joe Ryan were excellent in the centre. Roscrea now await the winners at the other semi final between Longford and Ashbourne.
The Provincial Towns Cup 1st round match scheduled for Streamstown was called off last Sunday due to waterlogged pitch. Many other towns Cup matches were called off for the same reason
Next Saturday first’s are away to Kilkenny and second’s are due to play on Sunday at the same venue. The Roscrea and Birr Rebels are due to play Navan in the Leinster under 19 Premier league semi-final in Naas, also on Saturday.