’Stones are on a roll

Per­fect record never in dan­ger as Sligo brushed aside

Wicklow People - - SPORT - PADDY HICKEY

THEIR 100 per cent record was never in the re­motest dan­ger, as Grey­stones steam­rolled their way to a land­slide vic­tory over Sligo at Dr Hickey Park on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

On the back of the pre­vi­ous round away vic­tory over Sk­er­ries, the home side scored five tries, one penalty try, two penal­ties and two con­ver­sions as they kept up the pres­sure on lead­ers Barn­hall at the top of the All Ire­land League Di­vi­sion 2B ta­ble.

Full back An­drew Kealy led the scor­ing charts with a to­tal of 15 points, com­prised of one try, two penal­ties and two con­ver­sions, and he was fol­lowed by sub­sti­tute winger Fer­dia Kenny who weighed in with two tries.

In ad­di­tion, Grey­stones were awarded a penalty try, and winger An­drew Lynch and out-half Kil­lian Marmion each crossed for one try as the Sligo de­fence took a fierce buf­fet­ing and par­tic­u­larly in the sec­ond half when the home side added 24 points to add to their first half to­tal of 18 points.

After elect­ing to play with the strong wind in the open­ing half, Grey­stones wasted no time in get­ting on the score­board, Kealy slot­ting a penalty be­tween the posts after just one minute of play.

It took un­til the 12th minute be­fore Sligo moved into the op­po­si­tion half for the first time, but on 22 min­utes a fine break by cen­tre Con Cal­lan set up Kealy for his try, Marmion be­ing nar­rowly wide with the con­ver­sion.

Six min­utes later, Kealy landed his sec­ond penalty, putting his side 11-0 ahead, and just on the stroke of half-time a pe­riod of sus­tained Grey­stones pres­sure led to an in­fringe­ment by the op­po­si­tion pack, and ref­eree Peter Martin had no hes­i­ta­tion in award­ing a penalty try.

Un­for­tu­nately for the Con­nacht side, the wind had died down con­sid­er­ably by the start of the sec­ond half, and al­most im­me­di­ately they suf­fered an­other blow, Lynch touch­ing down in the right corner after an as­tute cross-field kick by Marmion.

In­side three min­utes, Sligo found them­selves 30-0 down, Kealy dum­my­ing a pass be­fore set­ting up Kenny, who had just come on as a sub for Lynch, for the home side’s third try, and Kealy con­vert­ing.

On 49 min­utes, Cal­lan and Marmion were in­volved be­fore Kenny scored his sec­ond try, and the rout was com­pleted on 64 min­utes when Marmion got in on the try-scor­ing act, and Kealy added the ex­tra points.

Un­der­stand­ably, Grey­stones coach Kevin Lewis was de­lighted with his side’s com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory.

“It’s al­ways nice to win your home games and to hold the op­po­si­tion to zero was par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fy­ing,” he said after the fifth round con­test.

“I thought we were re­ally good in the sec­ond half, and for most of the first half when they were re­ally chal­leng­ing we were quite pa­tient.

“We prob­a­bly played a rea­son­ably de­cent game with our wider bench, and the whole squad gen­er­ally showed up well to­day.

“The penalty try that we were awarded just be­fore half-time was mas­sive, as they had done very well to hold us to 11 points to be fair to them.

“We don’t score too many penalty tries – that was a great boost for the lads, and it gave them a huge amount of con­fi­dence hav­ing to face the breeze in the sec­ond half.

“I think we de­served to be that number of points up at half-time (18-0) for the amount of work that we put in the first half.

“And in the sec­ond half we were very clever the way we at­tacked on the blind wide sides and used our space re­ally well and got some great tries.

“Some of the fin­ish­ing by the wingers were re­ally good. In scor­ing the first try in the sec­ond half, just after half-time, An­drew Lynch got a bang, and Fer­dia Kenny came on and he scored an equally good try and an­other try shortly af­ter­wards.

“So it just shows that the wider squad is very strong.”

Look­ing for­ward to his side’s next match, Lewis added: “It’s very sat­is­fy­ing to have five wins out of our five matches, but we have a very tough one next week against Belfast Har­lequins.

“They have been a very good team over the years, so that’s a real chal­lenge for us. We have to keep in touch with Barn­hall who have been pulling away and they’ve played very well over the last few weeks.”

“And an ad­di­tional boost for Barn­hall is that in beat­ing Sun­day’s Well to­day they got a bonus point.”

Sligo coach Paddy Pear­son, a New Zealan­der mar­ried to a Sligo woman, said: “We had to play against a very strong wind in the first half, and un­for­tu­nately for us the wind died down a good bit for the start of the sec­ond half.

“And it was a sim­i­lar type sit­u­a­tion with the wind in our match last week against Wan­der­ers.

“The penalty try just be­fore half-time re­ally killed us and the lads switched off at the start of the sec­ond half and we con­ceded two soft tries.

“But at the end of the day, they (Grey­stones) skinned us out wide. They were very dan­ger­ous with their hands on the ball and they might have done more dam­age in the first half if they hadn’t kicked the ball as much as they did.” GREY­STONES: An­drew Kealy; An­drew Lynch, Con Cal­lan, Ryan O’Lough­lin, Paudie Geoghe­gan; Kil­lian Marmion, Andy Roberts; Vik­tor Ze­lenka, Joel Pen­ders. Conor Pearce, Chris Sim­monds, Oisin Len­non, Eoin Marmion, Ian Cul­li­nane, Robin O’Sul­li­van.Subs: Michael Dou­glas for Conor Pearce (half-time), Michael Doyle for Chris Sim­monds (half-time), Dan Man­nion for Robin O’Sul­li­van (half-time), Fer­dia Kenny for An­drew Lynch (43 mins), Cor­mac O’Donoghue for Ian Cul­li­nane (43 mins), Conor Pearce for Vik­tor Zalenka (43

mins), An­drew Lynch for Ryan O’Lough­lin (60 mins), Robin O’Sul­li­van for Eoin Marmion (60 mins), Vik­tor Ze­lenka for Conor Pearce (73 mins).

SLIGO: Calum God­dard; Philip Carter, Ryan Fee­hily, Mata Fi­fita, Sean Mullin; Mark But­ler, Bren­dan Cun­ning­ham; Kuba Wo­jtkow­icz, Shane O’He­hir, Thomas Gormley, Ciaran Cas­sidy, Jason Havea, Shane Boyle, Mat­tie Davey, Ross Hickey. REF­EREE: Peter Martin.

Paudie Geoghe­gan of Grey­stones tries to force his way through the Sligo tack­lers.

Eoin Marmion of Grey­stones rises high­est in the line-out.

Kil­lian Marmion of Grey­stones makes a chal­lenge.

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