Marathon trip ends in sur­prise vic­tory for im­prov­ing Malahide

Fingal Independent - - SPORT - PAUL BYRNE

TRIES from Rory Ka­vanagh and Mar­cus Mcal­lis­ter helped Malahide record a huge win against ta­ble-top­pers Mi­dle­ton down in Cork on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Malahide trav­elled to Towns Park sit­ting in ninth place in Di­vi­sion 2C and you would have been hard pressed to find too many peo­ple con­fi­dently pre­dict­ing a win for the Fin­gal side against the un­beaten league lead­ers.

How­ever, there were signs of hope for Malahide, who had won a week pre­vi­ously against Thomond to get off the mark, hav­ing lost their three open­ing matches. This would be their big­gest test to date, though, against a Mi­dle­ton side who had con­ceded just 33 points in their open­ing four games to the sea­son.

The in­flu­en­tial Stuart Lee has been in fine form for the Cork side this year and Malahide knew stop­ping him would go a long way to help them record a much-needed vic­tory.

Af­ter a cagey open­ing to pro­ceed­ings it was the vis­i­tors who struck the first blow when the alert Rory Ka­vanagh in­ter­cepted a loop­ing cross-field ball be­fore sprint­ing in un­der the posts to give his side the lead. The con­ver­sion was sent over with the min­i­mum of fuss to put Malahide 7-0 up af­ter a quar­ter of an hour.

Mi­dle­ton re­sponded with a de­cent spell of pres­sure which even­tu­ally forced the away side into con­ced­ing a penalty which was despatched with ease by Stuart Lee.

Lee had a chance shortly af­ter­wards to put his side in front, but he was de­nied a try thanks to ex­cel­lent de­fen­sive work by the Malahide for­wards who closed the door on the Mi­dle­ton man as he reached for the try line.

That proved to be the last mean­ing­ful ac­tion of a very com­pet­i­tive first half as Malahide went in at the break with a nar­row lead.

The sec­ond half be­gan with Mi­dle­ton on the front foot as they con­tin­ued to put pres­sure on the Malahide de­fence. The Fin­gal side were in a de­ter­mined mood, how­ever, and re­fused to yield as they pro­tected their try line with some ex­cel­lent de­fen­sive hits.

Grad­u­ally the vis­i­tors be­gan to string some passes to­gether and af­ter a great move which started in de­fence they were un­for­tu­nate not to score their sec­ond try of the af­ter­noon when Mcal­lis­ter was tack­led just be­fore the try line.

Mcal­lis­ter would not be de­nied two min­utes later, how­ever, as he in­ter­cepted a long, loop­ing cross-field ball be­fore dot­ting down un­der the posts. Once again the con­ver­sion was stroked over which meant that Malahide were 14-3 ahead with just over 20 min­utes re­main­ing.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, Mi­dle­ton upped the tempo in the fi­nal quar­ter of the game as they searched for a much-needed try to get them­selves back into the game.

How­ever, they could not find a way through a very good Malahide de­fence and all they could muster was a late con­so­la­tion penalty to leave the fi­nal score­board read­ing 14-6.

This was an ex­cel­lent vic­tory in east Cork for Mals who look to be re­turn­ing to their best form af­ter a shaky start to the sea­son.

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