Greystones off to a winning start for new season
GREYSTONES finally kicked off their 2019/20 season with a hardfought win away to Tullamore in Division 2 of the Leinster Senior League on Saturday.
With the start of the domestic season pushed back by about a month due to the Rugby World Cup this was the first occasion Head Coach Kevin Lewis had to see what is a much-changed side since the end of last season take to the field.
Captained this year by Killian Marmion who featured strongly at out half last year but lining out on the wing to make way for young Matt O’Brien at ten, Lewis clearly used this match to integrate debutants and try out new combinations ahead of the All Ireland League that kicks off on October 5.
It was no surprise that a settled Tullamore side struck first with a penalty on three minutes but with Dan Mau’u, a 148kg New Zealand Prop and former youth player Darragh Higgins returning to the club following stints with Dublin University and Old Belvedere both making their first starts in the pack it was the familiar face of former captain Dan Mannion who finished a forward drive to crash over for ‘Stones first try of the season, converted by Marmion on eleven minutes to open a 7–3 lead.
Another new face, Alex Ryan at scrum half, son of former Greystones Captain Pat Ryan who has made the trip up from Wexford Wanderers extended the lead with a second try on 26 minutes again converted by Marmion before a second Tullamore penalty closed to leave the score 6-14 at half-time.
In the second half the home side really tested Greystones and had their visitors under pressure and defending for long periods. This resistance was broken with the hosts opening try on 50 minutes to leave the gap at just three before another debutant Adam Benson who is rekindling his love of rugby after switching codes from Bray Emmets scored a third try.
Tullamore kept the pressure on and crossed for a second try with the last play of the game to close the gap on the score board but too late the affect the result.
After the game Lewis expressed his pleasure at the performance and in particular the impact of the new faces on the field.
In addition to the scoring impact of Ryan and Benson he was impressed with the contribution of former Pres Bray player Mark Meyler at full back who has stepped up from the U20’s along with Ben Carolan son of another former first team player Gus O’Hanlon.
In addition to the infusion of youth Lewis is also delighted to call on the experience of former Greystones favorite Rob Connolly who is welcomed back to the club following spells at Leinster and various clubs in England.
Greystones now look forward to making their first home start next Saturday in their second Senior League outing when we can expect further changes to side for the visit of Navan as Lewis works to build the best combinations before the opening AIL fixture away to Malahide. Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.
Greystones: Mark Meyler, Andrew Kealy, Rob Connolly, Jason Curran, Matt O’Brien, Alex Ryan, Dan Mau’u, Michael Douglas, Conor Pearse, Chris Simmonds, Daragh Higgins, Cormac O’Donoghue, Alan Dempsey, Dan Mannion. Replacements: Danny Norse, Barry Traenor, Ben Carolan, ronan Kearney, Ronan Mannion, Shane Marmion, Adam Benson