This was a must win game for both sides to lift them off the bottom of the table. Boyne were smarting over their defeat the previous week in Kanturk and went into this game in determined fashion right from the start. However, they gave the large Shamrock Lodge crowd many anxious moments before snatching a fantastic win in the last play of the game when replacement winger, Cormac Brodigan, finished off a sustained period of play with a fantastic try in the corner. The tension was increased when the referee, Shane Kierans, consulted with his touch judge before holding his hand aloft to signal a try which sent up a huge roar from the home crowd. This was the second season young Brodigan did the business against Ards and secured vital points for Boyne. He also scored two vital tries last season against the Ards side which kept Boyne in the AIL.
Boyne opened brightly and went through a number of early phases to put pressure on the visitors before out half, Tyler Lansdowne, landed a penalty for Boyne when Ards infringed at a ruck. This score came on the 7th minute and the home side were playing with confidence and had control of the game with out half Lansdowne and lock, Karl Keogh adding to their earlier score with two penalties on the 21st and 34th minutes. Keogh's was a particularly fine effort from almost the half way line which left the home side in a 9pts to nil lead coming up to half time. They were playing some fine rugby and several good breaks were thwarted just short of the try line. Boyne had a yellow card on the 26th minute when Brian Howell incurred the wrath of referee Kierans, following a penalty awarded to Ards.
Boyne suffered a set back on the 38th minute when Ards applied pressure following a fine run by the winger Ratu who broke the Boyne cover down the left flank following which they went through a series of phases which ended in a try. They failed to convert to leave the half time score 9pts to 5pts in favour of Boyne.
Ards opened the 2nd half in determined mood and had Boyne on the defensive forcing them into errors which resulted in a penalty for offside almost on the restart. From a relatively easy angle and distance their kicker, Cox, missed the kick to put his side into the lead. However, their pursuit of a score continued and on the 45th minute they split the Boyne defence with out half Paul making the break before off loading to centre Ferg who streaked over from close in. Cox once again missed the easy kick to convert the try. It did give the visitors a narrow 9pts to 10pts lead.
Ards were now having their best spell of the match during these opening minutes and they increased their lead with another try on 51 minutes and this time Cox added the extra's to bring his side's tall to 17pts. Boyne's response was swift and scrum half Walls, who was back to his best form, put in a delightful punt for the ever impressive winger Howell who collected at speed and ran round to ground near the posts. This left the conversion a simple one for Lansdowne to make it a 7 pointer. Only one point separated the teams with less than a half hour to go. This young Boyne side really showed their potential during this spell. Walls was peppering the Ards defence making them attack from deep. Boyne were not caught out, as in previous games, with their defence alert for long kicks and counter attacks. Both teams had their chances to increase their scoring tally. Ards missed a penalty chance to add another 3pts before Boyne took the lead on the 60th minute when Ards were penalised for going up the side of a ruck and Lansdowne stroked over the kick to go 19pts to 17pts. This was a precarious lead and Boyne fought valiantly to hold onto it until the 78th minute when Walls, who was having a splendid game, was making a tackle on the 22' when he was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on. He received a yellow card for his 'deliberate' knock-on and Ards slotted the penalty to give them a one point lead with two minutes on the clock plus injury time. The remaining minutes of this game were the finest this young Boyne side have played this season.
From the drop out Boyne had to win possession to have any chance of rescuing the game. The game went into the 2nd minute of injury time and Boyne did manage to win possession. In a remarkably controlled sequence of play which lasted for an incredible six minutes they managed to keep the ball 'alive' with numerous phases before they released their backs out on the right flank. The ball went through several pairs of hands at speed in a sweeping cross field movement before reaching Brodigan on the left wing who crossed for the crucial try to win the game.
This was a superb score, worthy of winning any game and lifted the spirits of the entire Boyne squad and their supporters.
Boyne made some positional changes for this game the most significant being the inclusion of Johnny Kermath at 2nd row. The versatile Kermath revelled in his new role and gave a man of the match performance with his all round performance. This was a win that will give coaches Niall Ronan, Cillian Duffy and Mike Walls great encouragement going into a three week break for the home internationals.
Boyne XV & Repls; Richie Keane(Cormac Brodigan 56th min); Brian Howell, Eoin Duffy, Ronan O'Brien, Graeme McQuillan (Shaun Rooney 78th min); Tyler Lansdowne, Mike Walls; John Kinsella (Jerry Oniwana 2nd half), George Cooney (Ryan Healy 67th min), Hugh Carolan; Jack Foley, John Kermath; Declan Moore, Kevin Prendergast (Rory Hennessy 67th min) and Karl Keogh.