Good away victory for fast improving Arklow team
ARKLOW AGAIN scored a very good away win and are improving week on week. The quality of the rugby, particularly in the first half, was of a very high standard. Arklow played against the wind and North Meath kickers seem to have perfected their kicking into their opponents 22 and ruck and maul from there in.
Arklow upset this strategy from the off and countered from inside their own 22 very quickly, and had a penalty kick inside the first three minutes from a great steal by Ross Vigors which has well kicked by Mark Van Esbeck. Arklow 3-0.
The match was overly aggressive at times and in the first ten minutes North Meath had a man sin-binned, and Arklow made his binning count with another well struck penalty by Mark Van Esbeck. Arklow now had six points and they were getting points with each visit to North Meath 22. North Meath scored a try after a penalty kick to the Arklow corner and a series of quick passing across their back line they scored at the corner flag.
This try was not converted and the score now was North Meath 5, Arklow 6, but Arklow were playing confidently and with purpose. Arklow were in their opponents 22 and launching attack after attack and with a great pack effort, they pushed North Meath further North and scored an excellent push over try led by Shane Byrne whose experience in these situations is a pleasure to watch. His cool head is a great help to all in the pack. The conversion was straight forward, North Meath 5, Arklow 13 points. Now the game for some strange reason went to uncontested scrums and the Arklow advantage in this area was nullified and this match was made farcical as North Meath had no reserve prop and Arklow were the losers. Halftime saw Arklow leading 13 points to North Meath 5 points.
The second half started well for Arklow again with a great attack by Dean McCormack but missed a try by not passing on the ball to an unmarked Arklow winger in a two on one situation but he had made great ground and was always a danger to North Meath.
Further pressure by Arklow’s backs saw Dean McCormack obstructed when he tried to run on to the ball after his own kick ahead the referee managed to miss this. Ten minutes in Arklow now scored another good try by the forwards who finished off a series of attacks with this try. Now Arklow were comfortable with the scoreline of 18 points to 5. A great break by Rob McCormack to bring play into the North's 22 and a further five points were added to Arklow’s tally and this game was running Arklow’s way. The conversion was missed so the scoreline was now 23 points to Arklow North Meath five points. At this point the referee decided to equalise this game with uncontested scrums from the first half and Arklow conceding questionable penalties North Meath ran in two tries.
North Meath were allowed to stage a comeback from a game in which Arklow, who were the visitors, were the better side all through this encounter. The whole Arklow team and replacements were exceptional on the day and deserve great praise for their display.
The Arklow backs are starting to show some nice touches and are passing more confidently than heretofore. Arklow had good supporters who travelled to this match and their morale boost was appreciated by the team. Next week it’s Guinness RFC in Arklow and this is a must win match for Arklow as Arklow should have beaten Guinness RFC in Dublin when they met there last time.
Arklow: John Louth, Tommy Godkin, Charlie Louth, Stephen Snell, Ian Hart, Luke Bulmer, Ross Vigors, Tom McDonald, Aidan Louth, Shane Byrne, Mark Hynes, Mark Van Esbeck, Dean McCormack, Rob McCormack, Shane Nalty (Capt.), John Furlong, Stephen Considine, Dan Squibb, Lee Horan, Phillip O’Leary, Peter Doyle, Billy Guilfoyle.