Clondalkin are back in contention for promotion after North Kildare victory

CLONDALKIN first team threw themselves back into contention for promotion from Division 1B with a thrilling 5 try, 36-25, victory over local rivals North Kildare on Sunday.

The win came at the right time for the Chris Jebb-captained side as they went into the game off the back of recent losses to Coolmine and Naas.

1sts v North Kildare 08.01.17 10

Clondalkin got the game off to the perfect start when Matt Stapleton took a perfect line off centre Ben Foran’s outside shoulder to go over under the posts with only six minutes on the clock. Chris Jebb converted and soon added another 3 points to go 10-0 in front.

North Kildare to their credit began a fightback and eventually crossed for their opening try after 15 minutes. Jebb crossed for the next try after a rampaging 40m break from his brother Karl which seen him breaking seven tackles.

Karl soon went from hero to villain after a trademark aggressive tackle saw him landed in the bin for what many in the onlooking crowd perceived to be a very harsh yellow.

This inspired North Kildare and they began making yards around the ruck with powerful carries. Clondalkin were relentless in defense, with Simon King registering a big hit to allow the turnover king, Neil Finlay, relieve pressure by forcing a penalty for holding on.

Stapleton has registered a number of standout performances in the fullback jersey of late and crossed for Clondalkin’s third try. North Kildare battled back into the game and crossed for a second try to bring the game to 24-19.

It did not take long for Clondalkin to get back to being two scores in front after a thumping hit from Paul Nolan saw his opposite number spill the ball forward at the restart.

The ball was spread wide quickly and it was the Italian heartthrob, Massimo Scaramella, who crossed for the bonus point try. Such was the force of Nolan’s hit it meant his opposite number did not return to the field of play.

North Kildare were dogged in their will to stay in the game and a number of penalties saw them bring the score back to 31-25.

With minutes left in the game it was Paul McDermott who crossed for the last score of the game to close the game out at 36-25.

This sets up a mouth-watering 2nd- vs 3rd-place battle away to Tullow next Saturday with Clondalkin keen to make amends for a poor performance which saw them come off second best in the reverse encounter earlier in the season.

John Bagnall’s side will go into this game full of confidence feeling they have to prove to themselves and their supporters for the earlier loss.

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