Ulster Bank AIL Division 1B
By Mark Herbert
Naas secured their Division 1B status for another season with an emphatic victory over Dolphin last Saturday. The feature of the game was a masterclass performance by Peter Osborne who scored all 33 points for Naas, which is a club record and may well be a national one.
A large crowd was in attendance for the final game of the season and within nine minutes they witnessed the first score. Naas went through a series of phases, before a fine switch pass by Johne Murphy put Osborne clean through to score under the posts.
The conversion put Naas seven ahead, but the lead only lasted ten minutes. Dophin turned down a kickable penalty opportunity and instead went to touch. From the line-out a good carry by Kevin O'Leary put Dolphin on the front foot, and they quickly transferred the ball out to Will Hanley to score. Barry Keeshan added the conversion to level matters. With Osborne adding a penalty on 32 minutes, which was matched by Keeshan after 36 minutes, the sides were still tied on ten points each at the interval.
Dolphin lost Caolan O'Flynn for 10 minutes early in the second half when he received a yellow card for an off the incident, and Osborne punished him by kicking the subsequent penalty, and he was also on the mark on 49 and 65 minutes to give Naas a 19-10 lead.
Soon afterwards Barry Keeshan was replaced and he received a great ovation by the crowd to honour a super career. After this, his final AIL game he finishes with no less than 1738 points amassed making him the leading all-time league scorer.
When the game resumed Peter Osborne continued his scoring spree. After 74 minutes the Dolphin full-back Timmy Phelan was caught in possession near his own line, Naas won the ruck and quickly moved the ball out to the backs, with Osborne finishing off the move for a try which he converted.
Dolphin scored a consolation try after 79 minutes when their driving maul drove Naas over the line. Caolan O'Flynn was awarded with the try which was subsequently converted by Joe Quilter.
Appropriately it was Osborne who was to have the final say, and he saved the best till last. In injury time he picked up a loose Dolphin kick, and left three defenders in his wake as he took off on a mazy run to score in the corner. The conversion was right out on the touch line but Osborne stroked it over to leave the final score 33-17 in favour of Naas.
In the end Naas finished a very respectable sixth in the division, and great credit must go to all the players and coaches involved.
Peter Osborne, Henry Bryce, Ross Bailey Kearney, James Cherington, Niall Delahunt, Johne Murphy, Max Whittingham, Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Conor Doyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Andrew Kearney, Will O'Brien, Paulie Tolofua. Replacements: Cathal Duff, Stephen Lackey, Warren Larkin, Michael Skelton, Rob O'Connor.
Timmy Phelan, Killian O'Keefee, Will Hanley, Scott Rochford, Alan O'Sullivan, Barry Keeshan, Colin Sisk, John Leahy, Caolan O'Flynn, James Rochford, Robert O'Herlihy, David O'Mahony, Barry Fitzgerald, Kevin Allen, Kevin O'Leary. Replacements: Eamon Boland, James Vaughan, Alex Denby, Daryl Foley, Joe Quilter.
If you have a story or want to send photos or videos to us please contact the KildareNow editorial team. via our Facebook, via our email at [email protected] or on 045 409350 during office hours.