Ulster Bank AIL Div 2C BOYNE 24pts BRUFF 19pts
On a day which defied the normal climate for the start of a rugby season, with beautiful sunshine and warm conditions being matched by some marvellous rugby played by the Shamrock Lodge squad. The home sides display delighted their supporters for a number of reasons which augers well for the season ahead. They scored four excellent tries and showed a massive improvement in their forward division which suggests they will be a formidable unit for any opposition this season.  
Boyne coach, Graeme Eastwood, certainly got off to a flying start with his side gaining the maximum 5 league points which pleased him at the end of a game which saw his charges come back from a 2pt deficit entering the concluding stages of a very entertaining game.
Boyne had 5pts on the scoreboard within 5 minutes when almost from the kick off they had the visitors defending frantically with good running and at the end of which saw the outstanding Rory Hennessy crash over for his sides opening try. Kerbey failed with the difficult conversion attempt from out wide on the right. Whilst Bruff were blitzed during these opening minutes they settled down and took the game to Boyne and were rewarded for their efforts when they brought play into the Boyne half and forced a penalty on the 10’ line. They moved the ball quickly and had the Boyne defence spread-eagled before crossing for a well-executed try which they converted to take a two point lead on the score 5pts to 7pts. This score came on the 10th minute.
Boyne were continuing to bring the ball into the Bruff danger territory with good work by their forwards who had the better of the tight exchanges giving their backs the opportunity of testing the Bruff defence. One of these forays brought them up to the Bruff 22’ but the visitors managed a turnover which saw their winger sprint away and score a try completely against the run of play. Their out half, O’Grady failed with the conversion but Bruff now held a 7pt lead going into the 2nd quarter of the match. Boyne’s play became somewhat disorganised and a poor drop out following this score had them on the back foot again when they conceded a penalty from the resultant scrum. Boyne had a big ‘let off’ when Bruff out half O’Grady sent his effort wide from straight in front of the posts. Bruff were now in the ascendency and putting the home side under pressure with their backs moving the ball wide. Howell and O’Brien’s defence during this period was excellent and prevented a further try.
Coming up to half time Boyne were continuing to play good rugby but lost the ball too often in the loose exchanges in vital areas which gave Bruff the opportunity to clear the danger. However, out half Kerbey made a superb break up the middle and left the Bruff defence flailing in his wake before linking up with his outside backs with Ardee man O’Brien taking the scoring pass to cross for the try. Kerbey failed with the conversion. This score remained until half time with Bruff taking a 2pt advantage into the break on the score 10pts to 12pts.
The second half saw Boyne play against a slight breeze but this made little difference with both teams taking the game through the phases and moving the ball wide. There was one feature of Boyne’s game that they will want to improve upon, this was their lineout which let them down on numerous occasions in good attacking positions. Their ploy of throwing to the back of the line didn’t work for them and Bruff took full advantage of this inadequacy in their opponents play.
The class of the Boyne backs came to the fore on the 50th minute when they ran from deep and with some delightful footwork and transfers saw winger Kevin McCleery take a brilliant pass from his inside centre Howell, to go over in the corner. Kerbey landed an excellent conversion to bring his side into a 17pts to 12pts lead. Bruff rarely attacked the Boyne danger zone for most of this half until the 70th minute when their forwards, with some changes from the bench, put tremendous pressure on the Boyne defence. They were patient and went through a number of phases before they crashed over close to the posts for a certain seven pointer. This nudged them in front with 8 minutes remaining.
Boyne won the drop out and another good run involving full back Duffy and winger McCleery forced a penalty with Kerbey deciding to go for the posts. His effort was on target but dropped short for Bruff to clear. It took something special to win this game and the Boyne backs produced it when Duffy and McCleery combined to make a searing break out of their own half. Great support work from centre’s O’Brien and Howell saw the resurgent Howell go in under the posts for a brilliant try. Kerbey tapped over the simple conversion for a 5pt lead on the score 24pts to 19pts which remained until the final whistle.
This was a good performance by the home side whose discipline was exemplary, managing to go through the game without a yellow card. Other factors also contributed to Boyne’s win, particularly the return of Hugh Carolan, John Kinsella and Paddy Cooney to the panel and the return to form of Brian Howell. There are now also several of the clubs younger players coming into the senior squad and young Nicky Smith at scrum half is another positive indication for the side’s prospects this season. Rory Hennessy at No 8 was Boyne’s man of the match with his industrious work rate and strong running contributing greatly to his teams fine start to the season.
Boyne XV & Replacements; Eoghan Duffy; Adam Brodigan, Ronan O’Brien, Brian Howell, Kevin McCleery; Niall Kerbey, Nick Smith; John Kinsella, George Cooney (Capt), Hugh Carolan; John Kermath, Richard Shuttleworth; Declan Moore, Ciaran Smith, Rory Hennessy. Repls; Pat Shuttleworth, David Callaghan, Paddy Cooney,Padraic Mongey, Marco Ezlica.