The spirit of Christmas prevailed at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last when this match was scheduled to kick off at 4pm to facilitate the Festive pre-match dinner for Boyne members and their guests. TV’s Dragons Den entrepreneur, Mr Gavin Duffy, was the Master of Ceremonies and enthused everybody with his banter and quick wit. However, whilst the pre match Christmas spirit was very evident it was an entirely different matter on the field when the match kicked off. Navan were in no mood to surrender their unbeaten record to Boyne since both these clubs entered the All Ireland League.
At the pre-match lunch before last Saturdays game, very humorously conducted by MC, Terry Grant, acquaintances were renewed and memories recalled of times past when Drogheda RFC had an annual fixture with Thomond back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Former Drogheda player, Frank Buckley, managed to come up with a picture which featured both teams of that era which was framed and presented to the visiting Thomond officials by Boyne President, Robbie McGrath before the game.
The scoreline certainly did not reflect the effort Boyne displayed during this game when they produced their best rugby of the season in the opening 30 minutes of this game. Lining out with a side that showed many changes from previous outings, they had a bright opening and it looked like these changes would bring a change for the better when they took the game to their South East opponents.
This match was the perfect advertisement for ‘Friday Night Lights’ rugby. Played on an excellent pitch on a dry, but chilly evening, there was a large turnout at Holmpatrick for this encounter. Both sides had an impressive opening to their respective league campaigns with three wins each under their belts.
When the referee blew for full time at the conclusion of this match a Boyne supporter could be overheard saying; "Sometimes you need a little luck and we had it today." This quote certainly summed up a game in which the home team spent long periods playing second fiddle to a young Instonians team who came to Shamrock Lodge with victory in their nostrils. If luck is proportioned during the course of a season then Boyne certainly have used up a large chunk of theirs during this match.
Ideal weather conditions accompanied a fair sized Boyne contingent on their journey to the North West to support their team who played Sligo away at Strandhill.
Their hopes received a setback as early as the 5th minute when they found themselves 7pts down when the home side took full advantage of a poor Boyne clearance with the Sligo full back, Mark Butler, gathering and making an excellent run through weak Boyne defence to send his winger, Colin Kane, in for a try. Out half, Stefan Moir, converted to open his sides account with 7pts.
Boyne commenced their third season in the AIL Div 2b and following a grueling pre-season campaign there was a certain amount of trepidation as to how they would fare in their opening encounter with promoted newcomers to the AIL, Richmond, from Limerick, the citadel of Irish rugby.
Boyne shook off the drubbing they received at the hands of NUIM Barnhall the previous week to finish their season in wonderful style by beating North East rivals Skerries at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday.
Boyne mixed the sublime with the ridiculous in this game and contributed enormously to this humiliating defeat to promotion chasers NUIM Barnhall. Not for the first time during this season have they contributed to their own downfall by displaying indiscipline which incurred the wrath of the referee. During the course of this game they had four players sin binned which left their fellow players with an impossible task of stemming the challenge of the visiting team.
Boyne made the long trip to Cork last Saturday and played their first AIL game in that city when they played Sundays Well in Musgrave Park, the second home of Munster rugby. Whether it was the long trek down to the southern capital or end of season lethargy, this was a game that the Boyne side were extremely fortunate to come away from with four league points. Seldom has a team been on the defensive for such long spells and come out victors of an encounter in which the opposition squandered so many opportunities to put the game beyond doubt long before the end.