Plenty of pos­i­tives

Lewis happy de­spite de­feat away to strong MU Barn­hall

Bray People - - SPORT -

GREY­STONES fell to a 25-18 de­feat away to MU Barn­hall in Round 2 of the En­er­gia Com­mu­nity Se­ries Le­in­ster con­fer­ence 2, in blus­tery Kil­dare last Satur­day.

High flyers in Di­vi­sion 2A of the All Ireland League last sea­son and look­ing dead certs for a sec­ond suc­ces­sive pro­mo­tion to Di­vi­sion 1B be­fore Covid brought a halt to their am­bi­tions last sea­son, MU Barn­hall, formed as an amal­ga­ma­tion of Maynooth Univer­sity and Barn­hall RFC ten years ago, were al­ways go­ing to present a stern test for Kevin Lewis’s charges.

The open­ing ex­changes played out to form with the home side look­ing strong across the park, tak­ing just three min­utes to get the score­board mov­ing. From the first scrum of the af­ter­noon the Barn­hall pack sought to set down a marker with a strong drive that pushed ’Stones back on their heels con­ced­ing a penalty that was eas­ily con­verted from in front of the posts.

The Wick­low men were not ready to sit back and from the res­tart in­creased the pres­sure on their hosts pin­ning them back into their 22 and forc­ing a cou­ple of penal­ties. Play­ing with pos­i­tive in­tent, cap­tain Kil­lian Marmion passed up the op­por­tu­nity to kick for goal and in­stead opted for a line out five me­ters out. With hooker Ben Pent­land throw­ing ac­cu­rate darts to the back of the li­ne­out, Alan Dempsey se­cured clean ball and the pack drove at the line with Barn­hall de­fend­ing re­lent­lessly but il­le­gally. With the ref­eree sig­nal­ing an­other penalty ad­van­tage, Barn­hall killed the ball and once again Marmion opted for the pos­i­tive op­tion and kicked to

the cor­ner.

In a re­peat play, Dempsey rose un­op­posed and se­cured clean ball at the back of the li­ne­out. This time scrum half Jay Cur­ran var­ied the play as Grey­stones probed the line for gaps go­ing through the phases with the for­wards pick­ing and driv­ing be­fore Cur­ran spot­ted the elu­sive gap him­self to dive over

to score. Marmion’s con­ver­sion at­tempt drifted wide of the posts in the strong wind.

The ad­van­tage gained was short lived. From the res­tart Barn­hall played into the Grey­stones half and af­ter a se­ries of plays left wing Adam Ch­ester was quick­est to re­act to a ball played through and be­hind the Grey­stones de­fence to

touch down in the cor­ner.

Grey­stones re­acted strongly and added their sec­ond try five min­utes later.

Once again ’Stones pres­sure forced a penalty that Marmion opted to play into the cor­ner and once again Dempsey se­cured clean ball from Pent­lands ac­cu­rate throw­ing. This time the half backs played it dif­fer­ently and moved quick ball from the ruck through the hands from Cur­ran to Marmion and a long ball out to Nick Quirke on the wing who caught the de­fence napping to dive in at the cor­ner.

Play­ing with con­fi­dence Grey­stones kept their hosts pinned back into their half.

With thirty min­utes on the clock sec­ond row Chris Sim­monds made a pow­er­ful break gain­ing thirty me­ters be­fore he was dragged down deep in the op­po­si­tion 22, Cur­ran re­cy­cled fast ball that passed through half a dozen pairs of hands with a neat in­ter­change be­tween Kealy and Cor­mac O’Donoghue cre­at­ing a gap­ing hole in the Barn­hall de­fence al­low­ing Kealy feed Quirke for an easy run in.

The strong wind made kick­ing dif­fi­cult and once again the con­ver­sion drifted wide.

Barn­hall gave no­tice of the type of form that saw them go un­de­feated though 2019 as cen­tre Conor Lacey evaded a se­ries of tack­les to run in strongly from 25 me­ters for the hosts sec­ond try leav­ing a nar­row ad­van­tage to ’Stones at the break with a 13-15 score­line.

Early in the sec­ond half, An­drew Kealy, kick­ing with the wind, landed a penalty to ex­tend the lead to five points but a strong fin­ish by the Barn­hall pack saw sec­ond row Cathal Duffy power over from close range twice for two late tries within two min­utes of each other to turn the re­sult in the hosts favour at the death and a fi­nal score of 25-18.

Coach Kevin Lewis will have been very pleased with the per­for­mance against a very strong home side de­spite the re­sult and will look for­ward to the visit of Wan­der­ers to Dr Hickey Park in round three next Satur­day.

In a dou­ble header the Grey­stones and MU Barn­hall sec­ond teams faced off af­ter the se­nior fix­ture and ’Stones gained a de­gree of re­venge with an 8-3 win thanks to a try by Danny Norse and penalty from Ross Ni­choll. GREY­STONES 1ST XV: Matt O’Brien, Fer­dia Kenny, An­drew Kealy, Mark Meyler, Nick Quirke, Kil­lian Marmion, Jay Cur­ran, Mick Doyle, Cor­mac O’Donoghue, Alan Dempsey, Eoin Marmion, Chris Sim­monds, Conor Pearse, Ben Pent­land, Ivan­hoe Takatai. Replacemen­ts: Michael Dou­glas, Dar­ragh Hig­gins, Mark Smith, Alex Ryan, Jamie Dempsey.

Nick Quirke crosses for his sec­ond try for Grey­stones in their de­feat to MU Barn­hall last week­end.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.