Leinster Branch J3 Anderson Cup Boyne 20pts Mullingar 16pts

Leinster Junior 3 Anderson Cup Semi Final Boyne 20pts Mullingar 16pts.
The Boyne Junior 3 side are the last remaining side involved in competitive activity because of their semi final Anderson Cup win over Mullingar at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last. They now face the winners of Enniscorthy and Naas in the final.
Most teams at this level just go through the rituals of lower grade insignificance before games but this side had a pre-match talk from former Boyne youth player who went on play for Leinster, Munster and Ireland, Niall Ronan.
Whatever advice he imparted, certainly stamped itself on a fine first half performance which set the seal on the overall outcome of the game. There was little doubt that the Boyne backs had pace and threatened the Mullingar defence every time the ball was swung wide.
Both sides exchanged penalties in the opening 10 mins of the game which left the score at 3pts each. Boyne were playing with a stiff breeze in their backs during the first half and as the half wore on they began to take control.
With a mixture of experience and youth in the side this clearly stood to the Boyne team as they controlled the rucks and mauls to set up numerous attacks which their backs fully exploited. With the Boyne full back, Ciaran Clinton, in fine running form he was a constant thorn in the Mullingar defence. This was evident for Boyne’s first try on the 15th minute when he outstripped the Mullingar back line, having been set up with a great run by centre Sweeney who broke down the right before transferring to Clinton for the run in from 35’ for the opening try. Sweeney made the conversion to leave Boyne with an 10pts to 3pts advantage. Shortly afterwards the Mullingar out half, Butler, landed a fine penalty to bring his side to 6pts.
Boyne’s next try came from veteran prop Paddy Cooney, who emerged from a great drive by the forwards, which carried them over the Mullingar line for Cooney to get the credit for the touch-down. This pushed Boyne’s score out to 15pts with Sweeney unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. Whilst Boyne had numerous chances to increase their lead with great runs through the Mullingar defence, they failed to finish off the good work with tries. They finished the half on the scoreline 15pts to 6pts. 
Boyne played against the stiff breeze in the 2nd half and it was a fine piece of football by Simon Gerrard which brought the crucial score for Boyne. An attempted penalty by Joe Sweeney turned out to be a cross field kick into the corner, which was followed up by an alert Simon Gerrard who made a great catch between two Mullingar backs, who dithered ,over the try line to touch-down. Following this Mullingar made a huge effort to get back into the game and with impressive out half causing Boyne problems with his creativity with hand and boot, they brought themselves right back into contention. They scored a try on the 56th minute when Millar touched down with Butler’s unerring boot converting the try. This brought the visitors to within a score of the hoe team. On the 67th minute they added another 3pts to their tally when Butler once again slotted a long range penalty when Boyne’s discipline slipped to give the Mullingar out half to put another 3 pts on the scoreboard for his team.
Boyne had to endure several anxious moments before the referee signalled ‘no side’ for a relieved Boyne side who will now contest the final against the winners of the other semi final between Enniscorthy and Naas to be played this weekend.
Emmet Grogan has introduced many young players into this side and they have impressed with their performances. No 8 Rory Hennessy looks to have a great future in the game and the aforementioned Ciaran Clinton certainly caught the eye with his pace from full back. Hooker, Ryan Healy was another to greatly impress with his strength and running power. Garret O’Dowd, who has returned to the club following a spell abroad has also given impetus to this team. The youngsters are well guided by the experience of veterans, Alan McEneaney, Sham Sarsfield, Paddy Cooney, Brendan Byrne and former GAA ‘great’, Simon Gerrard.
Boyne XV & Repls: Ciaran Clinton, Ethan Buckley, Joe Sweeney, Simon Gerrard, David O'Neill; Alan McEneaney, Garret O'Dowd; Daragh Grogan, Ryan Healy, Paddy Cooney; Emmett Finegan, Sean Callaghan; Seamus Sarsfield, Ben Dunphy, Rory Hennessy. Repls all used; Brendan Byrne, Paul Hennessy, Al Martyn, Sean Manley & Eoin Kelly.