Good Arklow start derailed by Union
RAILWAY UNNION 24 ARKLOW RFC 11
ARKLOW’S first game of the new year was a must-win and defeating league leaders Railway Union on a cold but clear afternoon away in Donnybrook was never going to be an easy feat. Arklow needed the win to keep their chances of a second place promotion play-off place afloat but today was not to be the day.
Arklow came out with all guns blazing and hammered at the Railway defence and were immediately awarded a penalty which was kicked deep into the Railway 22.
Arklow won the line-out, broke quickly and with some nifty offloads sent Shane Byrne underneath the posts within the opening minutes. A start Arklow could only have dreamed of making.
The visitors were still livid and Railway had resorted to kicking any ball they had received as a result of being under such ferocious pressure from the Arklow defence. The Wicklow side’s pressure paid off once again and after 10 minutes Shane Macallister made an interception at the half way line and broke to score another deserved try. Leaving it 12-0 after 10 minutes and leaving the Railway team and supporters in utter disbelief.
Arklow's kicking out of hand in the first half was superb and a cheeky grubber kick from scrum half Gavin Byrne nearly sent Arklow in for a third try after 30 minutes but it was knocked-on on the try line. Arklow continued to pile on the pressure but to of little avail, a converted penalty by Clive Horan their final score.
After the penalty, and leading 15-0 Arklow took the foot off the pedal and Railways seized the opportunity to attack. Playing a team of Railways calibre any opportunities given would be capitalised on, and after 33 minutes the Railway center made a great break to finish off a nice try underneath the posts. The conversion was missed and this still left Arklow in the driving seat going into half-time leading 15-5.
To pardon the cliché, this certainly was a game of two halves. Arklow came out a shadow of the team they were in the first half and Railway came out rejuvenated.
But after a series of penalties Railway received a penalty in the Arklow 22 which was duly converted, this was to be one of many. Railway had came back fighting and after 60 minutes gone Railway were leading 17-15 after another three gifted penalties.
With 15 minutes left to play Railway ran over their second try of the game with another break from the backs, the Arklow heads had dropped and Railway ran in their third with relative ease two minutes later leaving the score 27-15 both flattering Railway and denying Arklow a losing bonus point.
It would be very easy to be pessimistic about this result and while it doesnt do much for the teams confidence to lose, there is a lot to be learned from a result like this and it is great to see the team working as a unit with such heart and show such pride in donning the Arklow jersey.
The promotion battle continues next week with Arklow at home to Athy.
Team: Pat Brennan, Stephen Snell, Shane Byrne, Ian Hart, Tom McDonald, Luke Bulmer, Aiden Louth, Jonny Butterworth, Richard Murphy, Hugh Byrne, Mark Van Esbeck (C), Shane Nalty, Clive Horan, Dean McCormack, David Mulrooney, Rob McCormack, Shane McAllister, Denis McCarthy, Kieran McCarthy.