Tullow claimed the Towns Cup final for the first time in their history in Athy on Sunday afternoon and a young Portlaoise man played a starring role for the Carlow club.
Winger Richard Nicholls showed blistering pace for an early intercept try that set Tullow on their way to a 20-3 win over Skerries.
Nicholls – son of Trish and long-serving Portlaoise Rugby Club man Harry – began his playing days with Portlaoise and then Kilkenny College. He’s a student in IT Carlow and linked up with Tullow from there.
Nicholls got the winning try against Ashbourne in the semi-final and picked up where he left off by getting Tullow – who had Sean O’Brien among their coaching team – off to a dream start. A Stephen Smith try helped them to a 12-3 lead at half-time and a third try from Dylan Leybourbe in the second half put the game beyond doubt.
A William O’Brien penalty late in the game was the final scoring act as the final whistle sparked scenes of joy among the large Tullow support.