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Navan 10 – Naas 19   11/01/2020

Just before Christmas Naas entertained Navan in the Energia AIL Division 1B and went into that game as raging hot favourites. However they never performed to their capabilities and fell to a surprising defeat. Last Saturday they travelled to Meath for the return fixture determined to make amends for that performance. They achieved their goal with a dominant display, they were always the superior side and if anything the final scoreline flatters the home side.
Thankfully the heavy rain throughout the morning abated just before kick-off and straight from the start it was evident that Naas were fired up for this contest. They immediately set about taking the game to Navan, going straight on the attack and pinning the Meathmen back into their own 22. The pressue told as Navan made a complete mess of a scrum on their five yard line which ended up with Naas being awarded the put-in. From the base of the scrum Gary Kavanagh drove forward, the ball was quickly recycled and moved out the back-line to Matt Stapleton who dived in at the corner for a great try. Peter Osborne narrowly missed the conversion but Naas were ahead 5-0.
Navan lost Shane McEntagart to a yellow card for an off the ball tackle as Naas continue to cramp up the pressure and the visitors struck for a second try on 28 minutes. Navan were awarded a scrum on half-way and from this Brain McKeever broke and fed Rory Swan. However Swan’s pass went straight to the lurking Matt Stapleton and the Naasman eagerly accepted the gift to race clear to score. Peter Osborne added the conversion to increase the lead to 12 points and that was to be the final score in the first -half.
Navan had the first chance of the second-half. Naas were penalised for coming in at the side of a ruck and from just inside his own half Colm O’Reilly with a fine kick was successful. But Naas still were the superior side and only some desperate defending from Navan stopped them increasing their lead, while Ben Swindlehust almost scored but just failed to ground the ball before the dead ball line after kicking forward, while another promising attack was halted for crossing.
However on 61 minutes Naas struck again. Navan attempted to get out of their own half when O’Reilly chipped behind the visitors defence but Bryan Croke covered superbly, gathered the loose ball and quickly ran at the Navan defence. When stopped he passed to Johnny Holmes who carried with purpose and then the ball was moved out the back-line where Naas had a huge overlap. Peter Osborne was on hand to finish off the move and his successful conversion made it 19-3 favour of Naas.
To their credit Navan did not go down without a fight and threw everything at Naas for the last quarter of an hour. However they were met with a stubborn defence with the likes of Ryan Casey, Paul Monahan and Graham Reynolds tackling everything that moved. Finally in the very last minute Navan did get a consolation score when referee Cillian Hogan awarded them a penalty try after a scrum collasped but straight away the final whistle was blown and Naas had achieved the victory they yearned.
With the teams immediately above them in the league table winning this was a vital win for Naas and certainly was a great way to start 2020. Next up for them is a home fixture against Old Belvedere on Saturday week, January 25th. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and all support will be greatly appreciated.
Navan: Rory Moloney, Evan Dixon, Kyle Dixon, Riaan Van Der Vyver, Shane McEntagart, Colm O’Reilly, Rory Swan, Brian McGovern, Shane Faulkner, Eoin King, Lee Jackson, Colm Carpenter, Conor Ryan, James O’Neill, Brian McKeever. Replacements: David Clarke, Niall Finlay, Roan Meegan, Chris Ebeling, Shane Walshe.
Naas: Peter Osborne, Niall Delahunt, Craig Adams, Ben Swindlehurst, Matt Stapleton, Bryan Croke, Gary Kavanagh, Jack Barry, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Johnny Holmes,Ryan Casey, Eoin Walsh. Replacements: Peter King, Conor McCormack, Paulie Tolofua, Mark Sutton, James Hawkey.
Other Naas RFC Results this weekend:
Junior 1: Naas 0. St. Mary’s College 31.
Junior 2: Naas 34 UCD 8.
Under-20s: Naas 6. UCD 54.
Under-18s: Naas 17. Navan 0.
Under-16s: Naas 13. Mullingar 10.
Under-13s. Naas 57. Birr 0.


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