Thir­teen-man Un­der-18s dig deep to gain re­venge win

The Argus - - SPORT -

IT was al­ways go­ing to be a war of at­tri­tion be­tween Dundalk/ Ardee and North Meath af­ter the pre­vi­ous out­ing saw the com­bi­na­tion side an­ni­hi­lated by a strong Royal county out­fit.

The Dundalk/Ardee play­ers had a lot to prove, but al­though buoyed by their re­cent win against Terenure they started this game with only 14 men.

It was no sur­prise when the con­fi­dent North Meath side were the first to cross the white­wash, but they couldn’t have an­tic­i­pated the rapid re­sponse from Dundalk/Ardee who reg­is­tered 36 points on the score­board to lead 36-5 by the half-time whis­tle.

In­deed, they were un­lucky not to be fur­ther ahead, with a num­ber of runs by their in­side cen­tre David Mur­dock just held up short of the line.

A num­ber of ex­cel­lently ex­e­cuted off­loads led to tries for Gavin Far­rell, Cathal Pur­cell, Dean Con­way, David Mur­dock and Emmett Byrne.

The North Meath play­ers came out fight­ing in the sec­ond half when Dundalk/Ardee ap­peared to re­lax and lose their fo­cus.

Re­mark­ably, North Meath got back to within five points, by which time Dundalk/Ardee were re­duced to 13 men fol­low­ing the loss of in­side cen­tre Gavin Far­rell to in­jury.

The Dundalk/Ardee sup­port­ers be­came more vo­cal, urg­ing on the play­ers, who re­sponded with strong tack­ling, at­tack­ing rugby and in­cred­i­ble de­fen­sive play.

The next score would be cru­cial and in his own inim­itable style David Mur­dock took off at speed when he saw the op­por­tu­nity and side-stepped a num­ber of the North Meath play­ers be­fore cross­ing over the try line, giv­ing his team re­newed be­lief.

As the clock ticked down Cathal Pur­cell, the Dundalk/Ardee cap­tain, tapped and passed to Mur­dock who made no mis­take in touch­ing down and push­ing the lead fur­ther away from North Meath’s reach.

Com­ing into the fi­nal mo­ments of the game full back Emmett Byrne, hav­ing just re­turned from in­jury, flicked the ball sin­gle-hand­edly be­hind him wide to winger Dean Con­way who touched down ef­fort­lessly un­der the posts.

This was an ex­am­ple of team­work at its best, of ev­ery man put­ting their bod­ies and souls on the line for each other - and of be­lief and de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed de­spite the odds be­ing stacked against them.

This was a day that these Dundalk/Ardee lads stood up and were counted, where their in-depth skill and ta­lent shone through, where their back­line per­formed flaw­lessly and where their for­wards’ workrate and ball-car­ry­ing was ex­em­plary.

This was a team per­for­mance which this fine group of play­ers and their coaches can be proud of.

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