Arklow earn bragging rights in local derby
Rathdrum RFC 9 Arklow RFC 39
THIS MATCH was decided on which team was the fittest and would last the full game at the fastest pace.
Arklow did just that on a beautiful spring afternoon, and the ground was dry, this would suit the team which ran the ball most with the greater intent.
Arklow started well, with some strong running by all the Arklow pack which brought them into the Rathdrum 22. From there Danny Squibb forced his way over the try line to establish first blood. This was a fine individual effort from Danny.
The conversion was missed but confidence had been established in the Arklow team.
Soon afterwards Arklow were again inside the Rathdrum 22 and after a series of cross field movement of the ball by the Arklow backline.
Tom McDonald finished off this good series of interplay with a fine burst over the try line and this score plus the conversion gave Arklow a 12 points to nil lead, and all that was necessary was to build on this lead.
Rathdrum with some astute kicking from their out-half had other ideas, and with constant pressure in rucking and mauling forced Arklow to concede three penalties in quick succession and the kicks were all converted along with one for Arklow to bring the score to 9 points to 15 approaching half-time.
Rathdrum had one more opportunity just on half-time to reduce the difference in scores and worry Arklow, but missed with a long-range kick keeping the scoreline in Arklow’s favour 15 points to 9.
Towards the end of the first half there were small signs that fitness would have a big bearing on the final result of this match.
Arklow got into the Rathdrum 22 almost from the start of the second half and within five minutes had a five-metre scrum at the Rathdrum line and another fine break by Tom Mac got himself over the line for a second fine individual second try.
Arklow continued with pressure on the Rathdrum pack and again got inside the 22 and scored again an unconverted try to bring the score to 25 points to Arklow, 9 points to Rathdrum.
Arklow were now full of running and trying to score from all over the pitch. Rathdrum stood up to a man, in tackling, and defending, but Arklow were the fitter team and always seemed to have a man over who took the ball further into the Rathdrum danger zone.
By now the Rathdrum out-half had to leave the field with a badly swollen eye, and this had a further weakening of Rathdrum's confidence. The fitness of Arklow was now the difference between the sides and the visitors were that little bit quicker to the break down and tackle, and so ran in a further two converted tries one by Lee Horan and one by Mark O’Neill, both were converted.
All the Arklow team played above and beyond what we have seen thus far, and we should have a good finish to this season. Rathdrum ran out of steam during the latter stages of the second half, and Arklow being the fitter side were able to score four good tries in the second half of an enjoyable match on a beautiful spring day.
Arklow had many players, playing way above their best, and this is reflected in the scoreline. Some players who caught the eye were man of the match Stephen Snell, Lee Horan, Mark O’Neill, and in particular Michael Furlong who played his first game for Arklow this season, and played way above what we would have any right to expect from a beginner.
Arklow: John Louth, Charlie Louth, Tommy Godkin, Stephen Snell, Garret Dunne, Michael Furlong, Stephen Considine, Ross Vigors, Tom McDonald, Aidan Louth, Mark O’Neill, Mark Van Esbeck, Dean McCormack, Shane Nalty (Capt.), John Furlong, Dan Squibb, Lee Horan, Phillip O’Leary.