Boyne made the trip to ecclesiastical capital of Ireland to take on the high flying City of Armagh in this AIL Div 2b game at the Palace Grounds. The weather conditions were dreadful with driving rain and a very stiff bitterly cold breeze blowing into the town end. Boyne had to contend with these conditions in the first half and after an unsettled opening 15 minutes they asserted themselves to play some excellent rugby, particularly in defence. The home side did have an impressive opening and varied tactics between zone kicks and trying to penetrate the Boyne defence in midfield.
JJ McDowell Park, the home of Suttonians RFC was resplendent in sunshine for this match last Saturday matched by a pitch that was in great condition for running rugby. This game was vital for both teams as they languish at the wrong end of the table. Suttonians had yet to win a game in this league and during the Christmas break they put in a lot of work under their new coach to try and commence 2014 on a winning note.
Leinster Branch 2a/2b Special Cup Competition
Seapoint 52pts Boyne 10pts
This competition was initiated last season by the Leinster Branch to fill in blank weekends when there were no All Ireland league games to give teams the opportunity to bring in their fringe players and introduce them to this level of rugby.
The spirit of Christmas prevailed at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last when this match was scheduled to kick off at 4pm to facilitate the Festive pre-match dinner for Boyne members and their guests. TV’s Dragons Den entrepreneur, Mr Gavin Duffy, was the Master of Ceremonies and enthused everybody with his banter and quick wit. However, whilst the pre match Christmas spirit was very evident it was an entirely different matter on the field when the match kicked off. Navan were in no mood to surrender their unbeaten record to Boyne since both these clubs entered the All Ireland League.
At the pre-match lunch before last Saturdays game, very humorously conducted by MC, Terry Grant, acquaintances were renewed and memories recalled of times past when Drogheda RFC had an annual fixture with Thomond back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Former Drogheda player, Frank Buckley, managed to come up with a picture which featured both teams of that era which was framed and presented to the visiting Thomond officials by Boyne President, Robbie McGrath before the game.
The scoreline certainly did not reflect the effort Boyne displayed during this game when they produced their best rugby of the season in the opening 30 minutes of this game. Lining out with a side that showed many changes from previous outings, they had a bright opening and it looked like these changes would bring a change for the better when they took the game to their South East opponents.
This match was the perfect advertisement for ‘Friday Night Lights’ rugby. Played on an excellent pitch on a dry, but chilly evening, there was a large turnout at Holmpatrick for this encounter. Both sides had an impressive opening to their respective league campaigns with three wins each under their belts.
When the referee blew for full time at the conclusion of this match a Boyne supporter could be overheard saying; "Sometimes you need a little luck and we had it today." This quote certainly summed up a game in which the home team spent long periods playing second fiddle to a young Instonians team who came to Shamrock Lodge with victory in their nostrils. If luck is proportioned during the course of a season then Boyne certainly have used up a large chunk of theirs during this match.
Ideal weather conditions accompanied a fair sized Boyne contingent on their journey to the North West to support their team who played Sligo away at Strandhill.
Their hopes received a setback as early as the 5th minute when they found themselves 7pts down when the home side took full advantage of a poor Boyne clearance with the Sligo full back, Mark Butler, gathering and making an excellent run through weak Boyne defence to send his winger, Colin Kane, in for a try. Out half, Stefan Moir, converted to open his sides account with 7pts.
Boyne commenced their third season in the AIL Div 2b and following a grueling pre-season campaign there was a certain amount of trepidation as to how they would fare in their opening encounter with promoted newcomers to the AIL, Richmond, from Limerick, the citadel of Irish rugby.