(A.I.L. Div 2B) Boyne 10 - 34 Greystones (20/09/2014)

Conditions could not have been more ideal at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last with autumn sunshine beaming down on the splendidly manicured grounds on the Ballymakenny Road. There were a number of history making "firsts" preceding the opening AIL game this season, when this years President, Phoebe Leonard, hosted her inaugural pre-match lunch as the first lady President of the club. There was another "first" when the new face of UTV Ireland, Alison Comyn, became the first lady to perform the pre-match lunch speaker duties. The reception which both ladies received, following their presentations, was indicative of their accomplished and professional deliveries to the huge turnout of pre-match lunch diners.
With the formal pre-match preliminaries over, the business end of the day commenced with the visit of Greystones to commence Boyne's AIL campaign this season. The club's playing fraternity is going through a major transition with many of the players of past seasons having stepped down from playing duties through retirements etc. With the exception of New Zealand out half, Tyler Lansdowne, Boyne are relying on their young players who have come through from their youth section to make up the nucleus of the senior and J1 teams this season.
Their opening game against Greystones was always going to be a tough assignment with the Wicklow men just pipped for promotion last season by Skerries. They have also brought in a new coach, Kevin Lewis, to boost their promotion hopes this season.
Boyne opened the game in an impressive manner and had points on the board in the 3rd minute when Greystones were put under pressure in their own half and killed the ball in a ruck. Boyne out half, Landsdowne, slotted the resultant penalty to put his side ahead on 3pts. The home side maintained their up tempo mode for the first 15 minutes of the game and found themselves with several chances to put more points on the scoreboard but were denied by a Greystones side who commenced the game in sluggish form. Boyne failed to take advantage of their possession during these opening minutes and were literally rocked on their heels when one of their attacks was broken up and Greystones kicked clear which caught the Boyne defence flat footed. They failed to collect and clear and a series of Greystone phases resulted in out half, Strachan, streaking over to breach a spreadeagled defence. The same player added the extra's to take a 7pts to 3pts lead on the 18th minute. 
Boyne's propensity throughout this game to lose the ball needlessly when in possession was a critical factor in three of Greystones Tries. Their second try came on the 23rd minute when Boyne were penalised for offside. Inside centre, Ronan O'Brien, made a great tackle in midfield resulting in Greystones spilling the ball backwards. Boyne in following up committed an infringement and from the resultant penalty they found an excellent touch inside the Boyne 22'. They drove off the top and crossed in the corner to bring their score to 12pts with the unconverted try.
The Wicklow men were now growing in confidence and started to move the ball wide putting Boyne under pressure in defence. The home side were coping and managed to attack themselves when yet another 'ball spill' gave the opposition the opportunity to boot up-field to leave the home side scampering back to defend. Once again their defence was stretched and Greystones crossed for a converted try to bring them to 19pts and into bonus point territory.
However, Boyne didn't capitulate and they scored as good a try as ever seen at Shamrock Lodge. Attcking from wide on the left, scrum half, Shaun Rooney made a great break down the middle before releasing his outside backs. Howell came steaming into the line and raced clear transferring to O'Brien on the tackle to send the Ardee man over for a marvellous try. Landsdowne converted to bring Boyne back into contention on the score 10pts to 19pts on the 39th minute.
Greystones struck a hammer blow on the stroke of half time when they their scrum half, Roberts, made an excellent blindside break from a scrum just inside the Boyne 10' line before transferring to his winger, Kenny, who finished off the move with a crucial try which secured the bonus point and gave his side a 10pts to 24pts lead.
Despite the dismissal of Greystones inside centre, Downey, Greystones managed another try, conversion and penalty in the second half, with the home side failing to add to their tally, to run out comfortable winners on the score 10pts to 34pts. 
There were some aspects to Boyne's play which is indicative of the potential in the team. They will have to improve on their physicality, which is a problem for the young players to have to contend with the non stop battering they receive from opposition forwards for sustainability over 80 minutes, is a tough proposition. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous spirit among the clubs entire playing base and with tremendous progress being made at youth level, there is a lot of optimism at Shamrock Lodge for the future of the club. However, patience is needed with the coaching staff and players to achieve their aspirations for the future.
Boyne face a long trip to Kanturk next Saturday to face the newcomers to AIL 2B this season. Kick Off is at 2:30pm.
Boyne XV & Replacements; Brian Howell; Cormac Brodigan, Eoghan Duffy (c), Ronan O'Brien (Richie Keane 2nd half), Graeme McQuillan; Tyler Lansdowne, Shaun Rooney (Shane Campbell 2nd half); John Kinsella, (James McKevitt 60thmin)George Cooney (Pat Shuttleworth 50th min), Hugh Carolan; Declan Moore, Jack Foley, Johnny Kermath, Kevin Prendergast, Karl Keogh (Rory Hennessy 57th min)