Old Crescent 31 - 16 Boyne Senior XV (AIL Div 2C)

This was Boyne’s first trip to Rosbrien the home of Old Crescent RFC. The Limerick club are going well this year and their ambition is to win promotion to Div 2A. They certainly posted their intentions of doing this from the outset of this game when they ran everything and spurned penalty kicks at goal in order to gain territorial advantage from lineouts close to the Boyne line where they could take off the top and drive at the Boyne line to score tries. It was obvious too, that the bonus point was targeted and this seemed to be paramount in their tactics keep the ball alive throughout the game and feed the ball quickly to their backs from ruck, maul and lineout.
Boyne entered this game with several changes in personnel from the previous weeks win over Sligo. The policy of coaches, Niall Ronan, Gary Downey and Cillain Duffy in giving the clubs young players every opportunity to prove themselves at this level, was again evident in their line up for this game. John Connolly was handed the No 10 jersey, Niall Smith was another who took his place on the wing. Leinster and Irish youth International Conor Maguire made his debut to senior rugby at hooker and showed he is a player for the future.
These young players received a baptism of fire going to the citadel of Irish rugby against a side who are showing signs of challenging for promotion this season. Old Crescent were a much changed side from the one Boyne defeated comprehensively last season at Shamrock Lodge. They have benefited from productive youth policy and their squad comprised of a number of last seasons successful under 20’s team. They have also recruited some players in vital positions to bolster their ambitions.
The positives for Boyne in this game came from a vastly improved scrum which had more than parity with the Old Crescent eight in the set scrums. Prop Hugh Carolan continues to impress with his scrimmaging and ball carrying and Jerry Onianwa on the other side of the scrum has improved with every game this season. James Mose at No 8 had another fine outing on Saturday and made some great runs.
With the several changes it took Boyne some time to settle into a structured pattern and the home team took full advantage by scoring two early tries. Boyne did take the lead within three minutes when Karl Keogh landed a long range penalty to put 3pts on the scoreboard.
But thereafter, Old Crescent got into their stride and when the spurned a kick at goal to go for a lineout on the Boyne 5’ line, matters looked ominous for the visitors. They took it clean off the top and drove for the line with their excellent captain hooker, Cathal O’Reilly, coming up with the ball and credited with the try. Out half, Larry Hanly, converted to bring the leave to 7pts to 3pts. During this first half Old Crescent pounced on every opportunity to make ground and gain territorial advantage where they could attack the Boyne line. Their efforts were rewarded with two further tries, one of which they converted to bring their score to 19pts.
Boyne did reply with another penalty to bring the half time score to 19pts to 6pts.
The second half saw a great improvement in Boyne’s performance with excellent rugby matching their opponents in all departments. The game was played at a fast pace with both sets of backs willing to run at every opportunity. Old Crescent added two more tries to secure their bonus point, converting one of these with Boyne adding another penalty and scoring the best try of the game when they started the attack deep in heir own half with superb handling, off loading and transfers to ultimately see centre Howell score an excellent try. Keogh added the extra points with the conversion. 
Boyne tried desperately hard in the final 10 minutes to get a losing bonus point from the game and had the home side under severe pressure in the closing stages of the game. Their efforts were thwarted by the home sides defence.
Boyne now have a break in their league programme next weekend and resume matters the following week when they entertain high flying Bruff at Shamrock Lodge. Ronan and Duffy will be hoping their injured players will be recovered before this game with David Monahan, George Cooney and Ronan O’Brien all on the injured list. Prolific try scoring winger from last season, Adam Brodigan is also expected to make his return to the squad shortly.
Boyne XV & Repls: Eoghan Duffy; Niall Smith, Bevan Duffy, Brian Howell, Arthur Moffit; John Connolly, Shaun Rooney; Jerry Onianwa, Conor Maguire, Hugh Carolan; Oisín Howell; Karl Keogh, Declan Moore, James Mose. 
Repls all Used; Emmett Finegan, Caimin Hall, Johnny Kermath, Nicky Smith & Rory Hennessy.