Not the send off Tullamore coach was hoping for

AFTER a successful 16 year stint in Irish rugby as both a coach and a player, Andy Melville flew back to his native New Zealand on Monday morning.

AFTER a successful 16 year stint in Irish rugby as both a coach and a player, Andy Melville flew back to his native New Zealand on Monday morning.

Unfortunately for the Tullamore coach he did not get the send off he was hoping for as his side lost their third consecutive Towns Cup Final, this one at the hands of Dundalk.

Tullamore were in the ascendancy from the start and scored 10 points inside the opening seven minutes. While that should have given them a solid platform to go on and win the game, their coach felt that if anything his side started too well.

“We started well but we probably started a bit too well. The boys thought they had it in the bag too early and they took their foot off the accelerator. They came back into the game and scored their tries and it was very hard for us to get going again.

“We probably didn’t play the right areas of the park. We were trying to kick the ball down there but we just weren’t getting the right areas at the right time. It was our own fault. We made silly mistakes and in cup matches you just cannot afford to do that.

One of the telling differences between the teams was Dundalk’s ability to convert the chances that came their way. Andy Melville acknowledged that the opposition were the more clinical side and he added that they were the better team on the day.

“They finished their moves. They only had three or fours chances and they took them very well. We had a few we created but didn’t take. At the end of the day they were the better team over 80 minutes.

“They knew a little bit that they could give penalties away but in fairness to Mark Whelan he stepped up all year and without him we probably wouldn’t have been in the final so you can’t really put him under that much pressure. We also had try scoring opportunities and we just didn’t take them. You’ve got to take them to win games.”

However he also complimented his side’s battling qualitites.

“You always expect that from the Tullamore boys. They are always going to keep working until the end. Unfortunately we didn’t get the points quite when we needed them and I think if we had been able to put them under pressure in the last couple of minutes if we had been just a score behind it might have been a bit different.”

While he may not have enjoyed the outcome of his final game in the Northern Hemisphere, Andy Melville certainly enjoyed his last 16 years in this part of the world.

“I had a great time and made a lot of really good friends. I can’t wait two or three years to come back again.”

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