Loss puts Boyne on brink
BOYNE face a massive job to secure their Leinster League topflight status in the coming weeks after slumping to their eighth defeat from 10 games at Shamrock Lodge last Saturday.
Opponents Kilkenny started the day second from bottom of Division 1A, hence this looked like a pivotal clash for both teams, but despite their best efforts the Drogheda men were well beaten and find themselves eight points adrift, with just four rounds remaining.
Dundalk now occupy the relegation play-off position and Boyne must focus on reducing that big deficit over the next three games before the two Louth clubs meet on the final day of the season at Mill Road.
The first of those games is back at Shamrock Lodge this coming Saturday when Wicklow are the visitors (kick-off 2.30pm) and some serious work will have to be done on the training ground to rectify defensive weaknesses which saw them concede seven tries last weekend.
Boyne were left with a mountain to climb from an early stage as Kilkenny got over for two touchdowns through ‘Puddin’ Dempsey
Boyne Kilkenny 21 47
and Liam Caddy, with the latter converting both for a 14-0 lead after only seven minutes.
To their credit, the Drogheda side hit back strongly with two tries from Rory Hennessy and Adam Brodigan in the space of five minutes, both converted by captain Karl Keogh, to draw level on the half-hour mark.
However, the momentum shifted firmly back in Kilkenny’s favour coming up to half-time as they were awarded a penalty try before adding their bonus-point score through Garry Dunne - 26-14 to the visitors at the break.
The next score would be crucial and Gary Downey’s men were on a hiding to nothing once they conceded another seven-pointer in the 50th minute, with the try scored by Joe Manuel in the corner after gathering a crossfield kick.
Kilkenny followed up with two further touchdowns - including another penalty try which resulted from their dominant set-piece - to increase their advantage to 47-14.
Boyne did put a slightly better look on the scoreboard with their third try, scored by Kevin McCleery and also converted by Keogh, but it came too late for them to chase another score which would have earned them a losing bonus point.
And with the league’s top three teams providing the opposition over the next three games, even to finish second from bottom - which might be enough to secure a relegation play-off - would represent a tremendous achievement for the Drogheda side as things stand.
There was better news for Boyne 2nds, however. Last year’s champions in that grade are currently last in the Leinster 2nds League Division 1A, but they boosted their chances of survival when overcoming second-bottom Kilkenny 20-12 despite starting the game with only 13 players.
Boyne 2nds’ only other victory this season was also against Kilkenny and just two points now separate the clubs with four games remaining, while sixthplaced Wicklow are now also within touching distance for the Drogheda side.
A Boyne forward tries to set up ruck ball after being brought to ground.