Ark­low earn brag­ging rights in lo­cal derby

Bray People - - SPORT -

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.

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