Naas returned to top flight rugby at Rosbrien on Saturday but they came a cropper against a lively Old Crescent side, going down by 29-14 in in the first round of the AIB Cup.
AIB CUP: FIRST ROUND: Saturday, October 6
OLD CRESCENT 29 NAAS 14, Rosbrien
Scorers: Old Crescent: Tries: Lemeki Vaipulu, Shane Murphy, Gareth James 2, Alan Purcell; Cons: Gareth James 2
Naas: Try: David Ahern; Pens: David Ahern 3
Trailing by 19-9 at the interval, Naas deserved to be much closer but had to rely on three penalties by their man of the match, out-half David Ahern.
Old Crescent made the livelier start but twice the Naas forwards kept them out. But there was little they could do in the 15th-minute when the hosts grabbed the game’s first try.
Following a great break up the middle, Old Crescent denied themselves a try through a delayed pass when they had an overlap. But from a succession of scrums near the Naas line, Crescent number eight Lemeki Vaipulu crashed over.
Superb kicking from the hand by Ahern brought Naas up to the Old Crescent whitewash but they could not force their way over. They were awarded a penalty which Ahern slotted. That came after 19 minutes but they were rocked four minutes later by the concession of another try.
Brian Begley floated a huge pass on halfway out to left winger Emmett Dalton who made 30 yards before sending out-half Gareth James in for a try which he also converted.
Once again Ahern’s boot brought Naas into an attacking position from which they won a penalty which the number 10 slotted to leave only six points between the sides. Another penalty by Ahern had the visitors very much in contention but disaster struck for them on the stroke of half-time.
As Naas attacked, a loose pass was grabbed inside his own half by Crescent number 10 James who raced all the way for a try which he also converted. That was a bitter blow for Naas who trailed by ten points at the interval – scant reward for their efforts.
In the second half, Crescent had further tries from Alan Purcell and Shane Murphy and, in the final minute, Ahern was rewarded for his excellent display with a late consolation try for the Kildare men.
Naas started without four regulars and they will be happy with their first ever competitive outing against the Limerick club. Their forwards worked extremely hard throughout the 80 minutes and just a lack of experience cost them on a couple of occasions.