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Boyne opened their season as a senior club against North Dublin side, Suttonians, at Shamrock Lodge on Sunday last. There was a time when this competition was of premier importance, but most clubs now use it to give young players a taste of this level of rugby. This match was no exception and with conditions absolutely perfect for open football, both teams took full advantage to give their early season supporters an entertaining game of rugby. Indeed, against a backdrop of a splendid realigned pitch, which was beautifully manicured, and another that is presently in the development stage, there is evidence that the Shamrock Lodge club is gearing itself for the future.
Suttonians, who have been plying their wares at senior level for a considerable period, made their return to the Ballymakenny Road grounds a winning one, knocking over a penalty with the last kick of the game. Boyne coach, Craig McGrath, decided to field a side that comprised mostly of last year’s successful under 19’s and newcomers to 1st team rugby. The early stages of the match saw the home side defending vigorously against a physically bigger team. For the first 15 minutes they weathered the onslaught and only conceded a penalty during this spell. It is quite clear that Boyne will be persisting with their policy of moving the ball at every opportunity. This ploy was evident during this match and with the mercurial Croke, at out half, playing delightful football, the Boyne backs ran at the opposition whenever they got the chance. Another player who really impressed in this encounter was young scrum half, Sean Rooney, who formed an excellent partnership with Bryan Croke throughout. His coach will be particularly pleased with his understudy, who dispatches the ball from the base with speed and accuracy. It was the backs who conjured up a variety of moves that led to the first Boyne try. The ball was taken up by the forwards and released to the backs in midfield. Winger Sherrard made a searing break and the ball was put through several pairs of hands before reaching centre, Bevan Duffy, who ran through several attempted tacklers before touching down. Full back Kerbey was off the mark with the conversion.
Suttonians regained the lead coming up to half time when they scored their first try which they failed to convert to bring the score to 5pts to 8pts. Both sides had their chances before the half time whistle but no further scores came before the short whistle.
On the restart it was Suttonians who again exerted the initial pressure before another superb movement saw Boyne regain the lead. Boyne winger Brodigan made an excellent tackle on his opposite number allowing Bevan Duffy to execute a turnover giving possession back to Boyne. He cut infield and straightened the line feeding his three quarter line. The ball went out to Adam Sherrard who showed blistering pace to streak away and touch down under the posts. Kerbey tapped over the simple conversion to put Boyne 12pts to 8pts in front. There was little between the teams and the game had plenty of pace and intensity. Suttonians regained the lead when their persistence was rewarded with another try. They failed to convert but it was enough to regain a slender lead of 12pts to 13pts. With the clock ticking down Boyne were awarded a penalty when Suttonians were caught offside. Kerbey landed the kick and they once again took a two point lead. This score looked as if it would yield a victory and in the 7th minute of extended injury time the visitors were awarded a penalty virtually under the posts to seal the game. This was a harsh decision awarded against Boyne scrum half, Rooney, who had a super game, for offside at the base of the Suttonians scrum. He seemed to have made the perfect interception from his opposite number’s pass.
It was a disappointing result for the younger Boyne players who acquitted themselves very admirably in a match where they were certainly not overawed by the occasion.
Next week Boyne play Old Wesley in the next round of this competition.
Boyne XV: Paddy Cooney, George Cooney, John Kinsella; Ian O’Reilly, Richard Shuttleworth; G. Malone, B. Smyth, D. O’Neill; Sean Rooney, Bryan Croke; Mark McGurk, M. Moynihan, Adam Sherrard; Niall Kerbey.