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Weather conditions once again forced Boyne to concede home advantage for this Leinster League game. Ashbourne has now almost become a second home to the Drogheda club and it is now more obvious than ever that they need to bring their facilities up to the required standards, given that they are strong contenders to play senior rugby next season.
This game saw the Cup Winners of Ulster and Leinster, Ballymoney and Boyne respectively, play each other in the 1st round of the All Ireland Junior Cup at Ballymoney on Saturday last. This was also the second year in succession that Boyne travelled north in this competition and once again they came away with no satisfaction from the experience. Hospitality is indeed a feature of trips up north and the Ballymoney club was no exception and welcomed the Boyne President, James Tallon and his officials with a pre-match lunch.
Anyone who doubts that this league does not give value for money and provide excellent entertainment, should have been in Rosetown on Saturday last to witness an encounter that threw up nine quality tries and two teams who played at a stunning pace for the entire 87 minutes of this game. Both teams were in top form going into this game having had excellent wins the week previously over their neighbours, Cill Dara and Dundalk. The Kildare team had to field without several regulars against the league leaders owing to the wedding on the same day of one of their players.
This game drew a huge attendance to Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last in what could only be described as conditions more reminiscent of a day in August rather than October. Beautiful sunshine complemented by a splendidly manicured pitch made for ideal conditions for the protagonists. Unfortunately, whether out of respect for each other’s lofty position in this league, the rugby did not live up to the ideal conditions in the first half.
Boyne had to travel to Oak Park on Saturday last to take on a Carlow side who had previously plied their trade in the higher echelons of senior rugby before losing that status last year when they were relegated to the qualifying Leinster Div 1 a league. The former kingpins of Leinster Provincial Towns Rugby were meeting Boyne for the first time at this competitive level of rugby.
Both of these teams were in eager mood entering this game having opened their respective league campaigns the previous week with impressive wins. Skerries have reorganised their coaching staff this season with John Murphy taking over the coaching duties and Chris Keane returning to the club to assist in coaching and play at scrum half. These appointments are expected to rejuvenate the Holmpatrick club and whilst they suffered defeat to Boyne on Saturday last, there were signs that it won’t be long before the seasiders become a force once more.
These two teams finished off their previous competitive season with the Towns Cup final last April and this match started off their season at Spollenstown last Saturday in the first round of the Leinster League Div 1 A League.
Boyne completed their matches in the Leinster Senior League Cup at Shamrock Lodge last Saturday against NUIM Barnhall. The Leixlip side, who are now attached to Maynooth University, were the most impressive outfit that Boyne met in this competition. Boyne now enter more serious bread and butter stuff when they open their Div 1a league campaign against Tullamore away next Sunday. Boyne will have gained a lot of match time through their involvement with the Senior League and this should stand them in good stead when they compete in the league.
Boyne visited Balreask Old last Saturday to take on Navan in their second competitive game of the season. With the Div 1A league bearing down on them, Coach and Captain, Craig McGrath, fielded a strong side for this encounter. There was a setback for the Drogheda side before the kick off when stalwart 2nd row, Paddy Muldowney suffered an injury during the warm up. There was a quick reshuffle and promising youngster Ciaran Smith was moved to the 2nd row with Leo Nulty taking over at wing forward.
Last Saturday saw PTC winners Boyne commence their season against AIL Div 3 opponents, Naas, in the Leinster Senior League. This is a competition that the Drogheda club qualified, through finishing in 2nd place in the Leinster Div 1 A league last season. Whilst it is a senior competition and gives an opportunity to qualifying AIL teams to test their mettle against AIL opposition, nevertheless, it also gives peripheral squad players a chance to show their ability.