Marathon trip ends in surprise victory for improving Malahide
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.