On Saturday afternoon, Tullamore J1s traveled to Longford to take on local rivals Midland Warriors in the PST Midlands Plate Final.
The game was originally fixed for mid December, but unfortunately had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Tullamore started the stronger side and drew first blood after 10 minutes with a sensational drop-kick from out-half Conor Hegarty which saw the Tulliers go 3-0 ahead.
Conditions were quite windy to say the least and both out-halves missed a penalty a-piece later on in the first half.
Captain and lock, Mike Tormey was a real fire house on the day, hitting ruck after ruck - the rivalry with ex Tullamore teammate Rob Connors apparent from the kick-off. #8 Tiernan Mealiffe was also instrumental at the breakdown, putting the opposition under serious pressure.
Winger David Fennell performed superbly under the high ball, while also returning some impressive kicks, which pinned the Warriors in their own half for long periods.
The score remained 3-0 at half-time, the two sides evenly matched for the remainder, with the majority of play taking place between the two 22s. It was a true battle of the forwards, with both of the packs enjoying most of the possession.
The start of the second half was quite different from the first, as the Tulliers were dealt a cruel blow when a Warriors back intercepted a pass on the half-way line to run in under the posts to go 7-3 up.
Scrum-half and senior ladies coach, Colin Hughes directed the pack around the pitch and executed some great box kicks to relieve any further attacking pressure up until the hour mark. The gap narrowed to one point after a penalty kick from out-half Hegarty sailed between the posts. Things looked on the up as the Tulliers were awarded yet another penalty kick not long after but unfortunately this attempt sailed wide.
The Warriors were resilient in attack and snuck in their second try of the afternoon on 65 minutes as things went from bad to worse for the Tulliers. A comeback looked almost impossible as the clock ticked on and the score remained 13-6 in favour of the opposition. Not one to rest on their laurels, with only 2 minutes to go, the impossible became possible as hooker Stephen Pyke ran in Tullamore’s only try of the game. It was a one point game as Hegarty lined up the all-important conversion kick – it could have went either way! There was a huge sigh of relief and jubilation from the crowd and Tullamore players alike as the ball sailed between the uprights for the final time that day!