There have been many exciting encounters at Shamrock Lodge but, it could be argued that none of them came anywhere near the scenes that were witnessed during and at the end of this pulsating encounter last Saturday. Both of these sides have met on several occasions at junior & senior grade and the closest that Boyne have come to beating the Kildare side was last year when they drew with them in the AIL at Forenaughts.
Boyne entered this game, kindly sponsored by Dave Doherty Ins Ltd, having come off a very tough encounter against North East neighbours, Navan, the previous week in a match they felt they should have done better. At this juncture last year they suffered a downturn in form having had a similar start to their league campaign. So, there was a lot of trepidation in the club before this game hoping that the same fate wouldn’t befall the team at the same stage this season.
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Skerries made their return to senior rugby on Saturday against a Boyne team that offered little resistance to the dominance of the North County Dublin side who brought huge support with them to Shamrock Lodge. Apart from the first ten minutes of this game when Boyne did hold parity with the visitors thereafter, it was all Skerries. The home sides hopes were dealt a grievous blow when their young prop, Hugh Carolan, was adjudged to have ‘Tip’ tackled a Skerries player and received a straight red card from referee Gallagher.
Boyne played their last AIL league game of the season at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last against Nenagh Ormond. It was a match that carried a certain amount of sentiment because it marked the retirement of one of the clubs most loyal and committed players in Ian O’Reilly. His rugby career commenced over 25 years ago when he lined out with his Father, Marty, for Delvin RFC. He has won medals at all levels of Leinster rugby and is the most decorated player in the clubs relatively short history.
The Boyne team simply did not get off the bus for the first half of this game against Ards RFC at Hamilton Park and they left themselves with too much to do to overcome a 15pts deficit at half time.
This was a perfect day for rugby with Shamrock Lodge in superb condition and the Belfast side looking for valuable points to enhance their chances of a top four finish. Boyne, on the other hand, had established a safe position in mid table and had to contend with a number of cry offs before this match for various reasons. The Duffy brothers, Eoghan & Bevan were absentees for different reasons. Bevan is nursing an injured shoulder whilst Eoghan didn’t line out because of his involvement this week with the Louth under 21’s in the Leinster final.
Boyne were playing Wanderers for only the second time on the home clubs astra turf surface pitch in the shadow of the Aviva Stadium. They must be wondering if it’s the surface or the surrounds that seems to affect their performance against a side that is struggling in this league and registered their first win in the league against Boyne on Saturday last.
Earlier in the season, Boyne visited the same ground in the Leinster Senior League and lost out in similar circumstances for the home sides only victory in that competition.
Boyne made a welcome return to Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last when they played Sundays Well in the Ulster Bank AIL Div 2B league. The Drogheda side had not played a home game since early December and ironically, their last game was also against a Cork side, Highfield. Last Saturdays match was a dogged affair and had plenty of thrills and spills before Boyne grabbed, what could only be described as a dramatic victory, with virtually the last kick of the game. Sundays Well must have faced the long journey back to Cork with a gnawing feeling that they let the result slip from their grasp.
For the second week in a row Boyne made the short trip to Kildare only this time they came away with no joy, going down to a very strong and physical NUIM Barnhall side. Only the dedicated rugby enthusiasts ventured out on a day that had all the inclement weather ingredients. It was cold, wet and windy which left conditions very difficult and suited a very heavy Barnhall set of forwards. Boyne were outmuscled from the start and despite taking an early lead when the Duffy brothers, Eoghan and Bevan combined to cross for their sides first score on the 9th minute.