Ulster Bank AIL Div 2B Tullamore 26pts Boyne 7pts

Ulster Bank AIL Div 2B Tullamore 26pts Boyne 7pts.
This was an end of season fixture that meant little to both sides other than playing for pride. Tullamore obviously had more appetite than their visitors and went on to record a very comfortable win at the end of a game which produced very little by way of excitement but had plenty of incidents which saw several players sin binned, from both sides, even though the game was played in a relatively sporting manner by both sets of players throughout.
Boyne had some interesting changes in their team to that which fielded throughout the season. Gavin Kennedy, who will play for Ashbourne RFC this weekend in the PTC final, did not line out for this match because of a hamstring scare. Centre, Harry Kennedy, was also unavailable which saw Ciaran Smith make his come back to the side in the unaccustomed position of second centre. There were also some new young players introduced to the replacements bench with Ruairi Hennessy and Dave O’Neill given their first taste at this level of rugby during the game.
Boyne did have plenty of possession in the opening 20 minutes of this game but their efforts proved fruitless and they simply could not find a way to break down the Tullamore rearguard who defended vigorously. Having coped with the early Boyne pressure they mounted a raid up the middle on the 20th minute and this resulted in a try when their centre split the Boyne defence and touched down. They made the simple conversion to take a 7pt lead. Not long after this they followed up with another try this time the Tullamore winger, who had blistering pace, completely left several Boyne attempted tackles in his wake as he scored a brilliant individual try to bring the score to 14pts with the conversion.
Boyne’s hopes were raised on the 32nd minute when following good work by their forwards from a lineout, hooker George Cooney broke from the ensuing maul to crash over for the try. Karl Keogh took over kicking duties from Niall Kerbey, who was earlier yellow carded for retaliation, and landed the conversion to bring Boyne to 7pts. This score remained until half time at 14pts to 7pts.
Boyne’s challenge effectively petered out in the second half as Tullamore drew away with an early try which took them to 19pts. They failed with the conversion but managed to maintain their advantage until the final minutes when they scored a converted try to take their final score tally to 26pts.
This match was a pale shadow of the epic battles fought out between these teams in recent seasons when Boyne won two PTC finals against the midlanders before the tables were turned in the semi final at Tullamore’s  third attempt. Tullamore made an impressive start in their first season in AIL rugby, finishing a very respectable 5th in the league table whilst Boyne struggled to survive in their third season at this level.
This game brought Boyne’s senior team’s playing season to an end and there is no doubt that the club will have to look at rebuilding a squad of players during the summer if they are to mount a serious challenge next season. The club have a strong youth section and were fortunate this season that some of these players came through to supplement the adult sides in the club.  There is no doubt that some of these players will have gained invaluable experience to enhance their maturity at this level of rugby but there are vital positions to be filled if the team is to progress beyond the level they encountered this season.
Boyne XV & Repls:  Brian Howell;  Cormac Brodigan, Ciarán Smith, Graeme McQuillan, Conor McGann; Niall Kerbey, Mike Walls; John Kinsella, George Cooney, James McKevitt; Oisín Howell, Shane Kennedy; John Kermath, Declan Moore, Karl Keogh. Repls (all used); Dave O’Neill, Ruairi Hennessy, Pat Shuttleworth & Gerry Oninawa & Paul Rice (not used)