Boyne earn play-off on dra­matic fi­nal day

22 17

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT -

AF­TER re­cent ex­its for both Dun­dalk 2nds and Ardee in the Le­in­ster J2 Cup, both teams went out with a point to prove un­der the Fri­day night lights at Town­parks.

Un­for­tu­nately from Dun­dalk’s point of view, they left it too lit­tle too late to over­come a well-or­gan­ised Ardee side who duly won through to the Jenk­in­son Cup Fi­nal.

With both teams look­ing to keep alive their hopes of sil­ver­ware this sea­son, it was also an ex­cit­ing en­counter con­sid­er­ing the lo­cal rivalry.

De­spite the short dis­tance sep­a­rat­ing the two clubs, meet­ings be­tween them have be­come a rar­ity over re­cent sea­sons as both are play­ing in dif­fer­ent Le­in­ster leagues.

Within the first minute Dun­dalk put Ardee un­der pres­sure with a charged-down kick in their half, but Ardee man­aged to keep pos­ses­sion and looked the more com­fort­able team with the ball.

Dun­dalk were soon on the back foot, with Ardee play­ing a num­ber of fast phases and cre­ated an over­lap, re­sult­ing in a try which was dis­al­lowed be­cause of a for­ward pass - a let-off for Dun­dalk.

The Dun­dalk for­wards worked hard, know­ing they were in for a tough out­ing.

Al­though it was a suc­cess­ful night for the pack on their own set pieces, the Ardee hooker dealt well with Dun­dalk try­ing to put their li­ne­out un­der pres­sure.

Dun­dalk con­ceded their first try af­ter Ardee ran a num­ber of phases through their pack in­side the Dun­dalk 22 and the ball was spread to their full back Conor Hen­nessey (son of for­mer Dun­dalk lock John) to score in­side the 20-minute mark. Again, Dun­dalk had dif­fi­culty hold­ing onto the ball and were soon de­fend­ing in­side their own 22 once more, from where the ball was spread to Ardee’s first cen­tre who found a gap and scored un­der the posts.

Be­ing two scores down, Dun­dalk ran a num­ber of good phases, and win­ning their own li­ne­out in­side the Ardee 22 led to run­ning an­other phase, but they lost the ball and Ardee’s fast back­line duly ran the ball as far as the Dun­dalk 22.

The hosts kept up their fast phases and spread the play for their first cen­tre to score again.

Dun­dalk knew that 19-0 down to Ardee in­side the first half-hour was sim­ply not good enough as their con­ti­nu­ity play was let­ting them down.

They re­acted by play­ing the ball down into the Ardee half and win­ning their li­ne­out com­fort­ably.

This led to a maul and al­though hooker Sean Ar­row­smith was stopped short, John Kerr was there to sup­port and cross over the line.

By half-time Dun­dalk knew that it was all to play for at 19-5 down as they nearly got over for a break­away try just be­fore the break.

There was also big room for im­prove­ment and Ardee weren’t go­ing to hold back as they lost a 21-0 lead in their pre­vi­ous out­ing.

The sec­ond half started with most of the play in the mid­dle of the pitch, with both teams fight­ing for pos­ses­sion. Dun­dalk tried to cut the gap be­tween the teams to within two scores but missed a long-range penalty which was short. This led to an­other Ardee counter at­tack which was stopped short of the try line.

Af­ter a num­ber of high tack­les in the match, Ardee were fi­nally pun­ished with a yel­low card, from which Dun­dalk took ad­van­tage for Rob­bie Wil­liams to score. Dar­ragh Con­roy con­verted to get the deficit down to one score - 19-12 with 20 min­utes left.

Dun­dalk were still chas­ing the game with 10 min­utes left, but their gen­eral de­ci­sion-mak­ing let them down and Ardee picked a loose ball and won a penalty in front of the posts to ex­tend their lead to eight, with an un­for­tu­nate Dun­dalk sin-bin­ning rub­bing salt in the wounds.

The vis­i­tors didn’t give up and they ran a num­ber of suc­cess­ful phases which led to a penalty in­side the Ardee 22, from which Laurence Steen took a quick tap to score.

De­spite the try be­ing in in­jury time, the game wasn’t over and Dun­dalk re­ceived the kick-off and con­tin­ued to run the ball - ul­ti­mately to no avail. That was the last match of the sea­son for Dun­dalk 2nds who fin­ished third in the Le­in­ster 1A Sec­onds League.

Their co cap­tains Robin McGee and Christo­pher McGeady would like to thank coaches Barry Durnin and De­clan McCabe, while it was also an­other year to thank team man­ager Brian Byrne.

Dun­dalk would like to wish Ardee the best of luck in their Jenk­in­son cup Fi­nal against Bal­brig­gan. Ardee owe Bal­brig­gan re­venge from their nar­row de­feat to them in the Le­in­ster J2 quar­ter-fi­nal two weeks ago.

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