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Boyne U19 travelled to the Donnybrook (the home of Leinster Rugby) on the Bank Holiday Monday in pursuit of the Tom D’Arcy Cup to add to the League Trophy which they won the previous month.
Going into this match as firm favourites there was a lot of expectation on the shoulders of the Boyne players and this pressure was evident from the early exchanges.
Their opponents Wicklow took the early initiative. They had a specific game plan and they set about their task with gusto. Boyne were under the cosh, as the very impressive Wicklow, Scrum Half orchestrated matters and used his big ball carriers to telling effect, constantly posing serious problems for the Boyne defence.
After dominating possession, it was no surprise when Wicklow took the early lead when Boyne were penalised for a ruck infringement.
In the 2nd quarter, Boyne began to settle and with the forward pack providing an increasing supply of the ball the backs demonstrated their ability with ball in hand. When Boyne won a series of rucks inside the opposition 22, the ball was quickly transferred to Inside Centre, Michael Hennessy to score a fine try and he was injured in the process. After a long delay for treatment, the conversion points were superbly added by No 10, Ritchie Keane.
Wicklow were in determined mood and responded in a very positive manner, their replacement prop scored a try after a series of rucks on the Boyne line. The Wicklow No 10 slotted the conversion from a very difficult angle, leaving the scoreline 7 – 10, at the break.
During the interval, Head coach Craig McGrath rallied his troops. Wicklow had thrown everything at Boyne in the 1st half, but had only a 3 point margin to show for all their dominance.
After the resumption, Boyne began to exert their superiority in the set pieces. It was no surprise when their Open Side, Wing Forward, Ben Dunphy scored after some great interplay between backs & forwards.
Then the deciding moment came when Centre, Eoghan Duffy seized on a loose ball in midfield, he kicked ahead & beat the cover defence to score a fine individual try. Unfortunately, the conversion attempt was wide of the mark.
Boyne were now in control, and shortly afterwards that man, Duffy again made a superb line break in midfield and when he was tackled inside the opposition 22, he offloaded to Full Back, Kevin McCleery, who had flanker Ben Dunphy in support, but the final pass went to ground and a great opportunity was missed to kill off the game.
With this reprieve and with 10 minutes left on the clock, Wicklow went on the attack & were rewarded for their efforts when Boyne were penalised for going offside and their No 10 made no mistake with the resultant kick from 35 metres. This left a margin of only 4 points between the teams entering the final 6 minutes.
In the end, the Boyne defence which was superb all day held firm despite some anxious moments much to the delight of the large number of travelling supporters, in attendance
This was a very tight affair between two pretty evenly matched sides, the Boyne pack held a slight advantage in the tight exchanges, but it was their ability to quickly move the ball into the wider channels that gave them the cutting edge.
Players & Management will enjoy the latest victory celebrations & will take a well deserved rest during the summer break. Head Coach Mc Grath, will no doubt have cast his eyes on a number of these young players in an attempt to boolster his senior squad for the forthcoming All Ireland League season.
With the U15s also winning the Leinster Cup earlier in the day this capped a fantastic end to the season for Boyne RFC, who now have the proud & envious distinction of holding 4 Leinster Trophies in their display cabinet...!
Boyne Team: Kevin McCleery, Anthony McGrath, Eoghan Duffy, Michael Hennessy Cormac Brodigan, Ritchie Keane, Shaun Rooney, Gerry Oninawa, George Cooney, Hugh Carolan, David Monahan, Shane Rooney, Karl Keogh, David Tallon & Ben Dunphy Subs: Ruairi Hickey, Oisin Howell, David de Loughry, Ciaran Clinton, Jack Woods, Conor Rothwell, Sean O Byrne.