Dun­dalk hop­ing to keep re­vival lit against Ash­bourne

The Argus - - SPORT - MAR­CUS CAVAROLI

DUN­DALK could in­flict a mas­sive blow to Ash­bourne’s hopes of re­tain­ing the Le­in­ster League Divi­sion 1A ti­tle - as well as putting them­selves in the shake-up - if they can win the Louth v Meath clash at Mill Road on Sat­ur­day (3pm).

It’s very early days, of course, with only three out of 14 rounds com­pleted, but a home win would con­sign the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons to a third straight de­feat when they only lost three in their en­tire cam­paign last sea­son.

Dun­dalk haven’t made any bold pre­dic­tions about chal­leng­ing for the ti­tle, but with the re­turn of Johnny Williams to the first team and some use­ful ad­di­tions dur­ing the sum­mer they look to have a bit more po­tency in their back line.

That was cer­tainly ev­i­dent in their pre­vi­ous game - an im­pres­sive 42-17 suc­cess against Wick­low - and as­sis­tant coach MJ McKe­vitt feels ex­cit­ing times could be around the cor­ner if the club can carry that mo­men­tum into the up­com­ing games.

‘The league is go­ing to be ex­tremely tight this year, so this is a huge game for us,’ he agreed.

‘Things just clicked against Wick­low, but they’d had been build­ing be­fore that. Against

Gorey we didn’t play too well, but against En­nis­cor­thy the score­line didn’t re­ally re­flect the game.

‘In the Wick­low match we were very dan­ger­ous when we had the ball. Johnny Williams is com­mut­ing from Lon­don at the mo­ment, but he’s mov­ing back to the area in the next four to six weeks and he’s a huge ad­di­tion.

‘And Paddy Reilly, the Louth foot­baller, has been a breath of fresh air on the wing. He hasn’t played rugby since 2015, but he got two great tries against Wick­low and we’ll be try­ing to get ball into his hands.’

McKe­vitt needed no re­mind­ing about Ash­bourne who trailed by 20 points with 10 min­utes re­main­ing in this fix­ture last year be­fore snatch­ing a 33-32 vic­tory with three late con­verted tries.

‘That was some­thing we talked about later on in the sea­son and it was some­thing that haunted us,’ he re­called.

‘They’re the cham­pi­ons, and although they have a new team I hear on the grapevine that they’re try­ing to get up to se­nior rugby this year, hav­ing just missed out in the round robin last time.

‘They’ll be very strong, espe- cially with Si­mon Deevy back at 8 af­ter play­ing foot­ball for the last while.

‘But it’s very early days. All the teams are ca­pa­ble of beat­ing each other and I think the league won’t be won un­til Christ­mas or in Jan­uary.’

Dun­dalk will op­er­ate with the same squad as for the Wick­low game and that means likely starts once again for for­mer World Sev­ens player Ger­man Javier Her­rera Luhrs, and also scrum half Sam We­ber from New Zealand whose el­der brother Brad has a full All Blacks cap to his name.

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