Five Railway sides were in action over 3 days last weekend, with mixed results being recorded.
Men’s 1st XV
Sunday saw the J1’s and J2’s travel to Athy in their first league fixtures of the season. The 1st XV kicked off their competitive season with a tough opener to a very physical and committed Athy team. Weather and pitch conditions were absolutely perfect for running rugby which leaned in favour to Railway, having completed a intensive pre-season which showed on the pitch.
Opening exchanges between teams were very tight. The tone was set early by Railway winger Carl De Chenu (now known as the “angry man” by Railway supporters ) who put in a punishing tackle to end a dangerous attack by Athy.
The Railway forwards led by Barry Lynch secured very quick, clean ball which gave Keith Sothern the ability to release what was a very exciting back line. Precise and effective positional kicking put Railway on the front foot, with Athy defending well they ultimately could not withstand the pressure that was being exerted by a very hungry Railway side.
Two tries, coming from Daire Fitzgerald and Jack Finnegan was the least that Railway deserved from the continuing pressure they put on the oppositions line. A well taken penalty and conversion complemented the opening two scores. Athy kept the pressure on with two successful penalty kicks as a result of Railway indiscipline to leave the score at half time 15-6 in favour of the visitors.
The second half saw a big step in physicality, something that all the supporters were delighted with. Defence around the fringes was very strong which is a testament to the work done by the players and coaching team during pre-season. Railway set pieces were also very strong, with Eoin Tippins’ extremely accurate line-out throwing giving Railway the perfect platform to attack Athy at pace, which was very exciting and encouraging for the travelling Railway supporters
Athy responded by catching Railway who had momentarily gone asleep, by scoring in the corner against the run of play. Moments later however another strong set piece gave the opportunity Carl De Chenu to come off his wing at pace and blast through Athy’s defence and score under the posts in his first league appearance for the club.
Player-coach extraordinare Keith Sothern also showed the young players how it’s done by scoring from one of his trademark sniping runs. The final score was 27-11 in favour of Railway. A well earned win that is very much a sign of intention to all other teams in the league as to how serious Railway Union are about winning this league.
Special mentions must be made for centre Mark Farrell who put in a fantastic display against his old team mates and to Josh Fallon who was called up from the 21’s to play for the senior team and put on a great display.
The J2′s managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, where from 27-3 up and scoring five tries, they conspired to lose the game 30-27. Whilst this is disappointing, two bonus points away from home is not catastrophic to their league ambitions.
Women’s 2nd XV
The previous day, the Women’s 2nd team played their first league game away to Athy also. In a 13-a-side game, for almost all the girls it was their first 80 minutes of full contact rugby. Building on their training efforts, Railway got off to a superb start when, from the kick-off, Athy conceded a penalty resulting in Railway’s first score.
Railway built on from this with the forwards ensuring the ball was moved wide allowing 4 more tries, leaving the half time score 25-0 in Railway’s favour.
Athy started strong in the second half, putting 5 points on the board but Railway re-engaged with the form they showed in the first half to put more points on the scoreboard.
Strong carries and hits by the forwards allowed the ball to go wide across the back line ensuring the Athy try line was crossed several times. Railway emptied the subs bench which saw all girls displaying good rugby skills which kept play in the Athy half. The second half saw 6 more tries and with two conversions made, the full time score was 59-5 to Railway.
While there is work to be done, the Railway girls can be happy with their first ever league performance and result. They did themselves, the club and their teammates proud and showed the potential they have in going forward for the rest of the league campaign. The next fixture is Sunday 7th October away to Tallaght KO 12pm
Meanwhile, back at Railway, the Under 21s were facing a travelling Corinthians team who were intent upon amending their defeat the previous week. Dominance at the scrum and on the pick-and-drive led to Corinthians breaking and going over at the corner to take the lead 5-0 easrly on in the game. Railway came back through an intercept from Ciaran Divney, which he converted to take the lead 7-5 and while Railway continued to move the ball about the pitch, some great defence from Corinthians managed to stop tries on a number of occasions. Corinthians then exerted forward pressure again to score and make it 12-7 at half time.
A more even second half and a shift to uncontested scrums gave more parity with the ball but Corinthians were always dangerous when near Railway’s line. The pressure eventually gave and Corinthians scored again to take the lead 17-7. Railway came back and after some good attacking play, forced a penalty to make it 17-10. Unfortunately Corinthians went over for another try in the dying minutes to make the final score 22-10.
Special mention must be made to the backs Brian Cuneen, and Barry Kiely for stepping in to the back row and acquitting themselves superbly, while Kevin Beakey had a standout game at number 8.
Women’s 1st XV
Monday evening saw the Women’s 1st XV playing the first ever women’s home game under lights, with UCD providing the opposition.
UCD got the better start when their forwards dominated in the first few minutes to see them go over the Railway line and leave the score 5-0.
Conceding their first ever score, the Railway girls kicked off and ensured they played the rest of the game on their terms. UCD were physical and pushed on, but the Railway forwards matched the physicality and ensured the ball was moved throughout the game to the backline leaving the full-time score 84-5 to Railway.