Big win for ’Stones
Victory provides breathing space in seventh position
LOCAL pride and four points were the prize for Greystones as they outfought and outscored Blackrock RFC in a tense and scrappy Division 2A affair on Saturday.
The wind was unforgiving as wingers Jack Keating, Paudie Geoghegan and replacement scrum-half Jason Curran notched a try apiece for ‘Stones who secured breathing space in seventh place and closed the gap on sixth in the process.
For the first half, the hosts played into the wind but an act of nature like wind has no impact on Jack Keating who, with the first minute yet to be completed, broke free of the Blackrock shackles and ran from his own half, tossing a covering defender out of his path in the 22 like a plastic bag before landing Kevin Lewis a dream start. Full-back Andrew Kealy added the two.
It was not the start to 2018 that Blackrock had been dreaming of and they were under the cosh as they lost their first lineout as well and were turned over in the eighth minute by a rampant Greystones side. The momentum quickly fizzled out though as Con Callan trotted across the path of Killian Marmion as he put boot to ball - he blocked the kick and got penalised for offside.
‘Rock kicked to touch inside the Greystones 22’ and three minutes later a grubber kick was dove upon by two home defenders as the defence stood tall - a reccuring theme throughout the afternoon.
Amid the mucky conditions, the blue and white stripes of Blackrock and the green and white stripes of Greystones could at times look similar but neither side seemed to have any problems and after relentless Blackrock pressure, they cashed in a penalty for three points.
It was an error-strewn match in tricky conditions and one such example almost paved the way for a Blackrock try. Peter Quirke turfed a kick high into the air that his team-mates had no hope of getting to. Kealy should therefore have felt no pressure as he came to meet it but he spilled it behind him and Hugh Godson Tracey so nearly profited as he collected it. He was collared at the last second, managed to off-load it but Greystones had recovered and snuffed out the threat.
The home defence finally creaked in the 32nd minute as Blackrock prop Daryl Charmant Dunne furrowed over at a two-yard ruck which was converted to hand the away side a 3-10 lead.
Blackrock almost struck while the iron was hot as their right winger Mark Prendergast scampered down the flank and tried a kickand-rush but he stumbled out of play just as it got interesting.
In stoppage time, Greystones tried to force matters with a kick but there was too much gusto on it and Blackrock caught it with ease. They then tried to build their own attack but a lapse of concentration saw them practically hand the ball to Geoghegan - who looked as surprised as everyone else - but had the quick legs to go with his quick thinking as he accepted the late Christmas present.
The wind died down in the second period to Greystones’ frustration but they still stretched their lead to 19-10 midway through the half. Killian Marmion faced two successive rash passes from the ruck but he made the most of it second time around as ‘Stones broke through.
Two clever offloads saw Curran scamper free and swivel over the line with Kealy again succeeding from the tee.
Greystones went down to 14 men as Robin O’Sullivan was sinbinned and the pressure told as Blackrock crept in at the corner with six minutes to play to leave themselves needing a converted try to pinch victory.
And that is why Andrew Kealy’s wonderful 80th minute penalty was greeted with such rapturous applause by the home crowd.
It was in itself a fantastic effort but it secured victory and denied Blackrock a losing bonus point to boot.
Greystones: Andrew Kealy, Jack Keating, Con Callan, David Baker, Paudie Geoghegan, Killian Marmion, Andy Roberts; Cian Maguire, Ben Tou, Conor Pearse, Oisin Lennon, Barry Fitzpatrick, Cormac O’Donoghue, Robin O’Sullivan, Mick Doyle.
Michael Doyle puts down Alan Francis during the Greystones v Blackrock clash.
Oisin Lennon clears the danger for Greystones.