Holland happy as Midleton escape relegation zone

Midleton 13 DLSP 3

The 10-point winning margin not only helped push Midleton above the relegation zone but also denied fellow strugglers DLSP the losing bonus point they had threatened to secure for much of the contest.

Veteran former Munster star, Holland played a key role from out half but the strength of the pack and dominance of the Midleton front rowers did most to secure this much-needed victory.

“The scrum was awesome,” said Holland.

“We have Briers [Kevin Brierly] and Gilly [Brian Gill] and then Gerry Sweeney coming on. They’re serious players and we made it count when we hadn’t been making scrum dominance count in the weeks before Christmas.

The heavy conditions made life difficult for both teams but it really was a less than inspiring first half and it took a 37th minute try from Gill and conversion from Jeff Hitchmough to spark Midleton into action.

Ian Burke for DLSP and Hitchmough exchanged penalties midway through the second half but Midleton turned up the heat in the final quarter. Six minutes from time, Hitchmough nailed another penalty to put his side clear and secure the win.

Holland praised his team for the hard work they put in over Christmas:

“We really had to have a bit of a look at ourselves around that time,” he said.

However, Holland cautioned that one victory won’t do: “We’ve popped up a couple of places now but it’s still a dogfight. But if the boys show that type of commitment for the rest of the season then we should be ok.”

At the top end of the table, UCC continued to set the pace with an impressive 31-17 win away to Old Wesley, while Terenure won the big battle between second and third with a 32-10 win over Banbridge at Lakelands, thus forcing the Ulster side to swap places.

Rainey Old Boys are still top of Division 2B following an impressive 41-7 win over Boyne at Hatrick Park. NUIM Barnhall had a huge win over Instonians to move into second and Nenagh Ormond’s hard-fought win over Thomond on Friday earned them third spot.

MIDLETON: J Hitchmough, G Hogan, D Smyth, G Colbert, J Ryan, J Holland, P Daly, K Brierly (capt), M Sinclair, B Gill, F McSwiney, R Lehane, J P O’Connor, A McCarthy, D O’Sullivan.

Rolling replacements: G McArdle, G Sweeney, G O’Sullivan, R Colan O’Leary.

DLSP: C Power, J Russell-Carroll, J Pickersgill, K Moran, I O’Connor, A Philpot, I Burke, C Lehman, E O’Reilly, B Doyle, V Ball, J Blacley, K Taite (capt), K Miller, J Putthaaree.

Rolling replacements: A McDonagh, S Conalty, L Moran, M Nevin.

Referee: O Quinn (Ulster).

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