There was a fine crowd, bolstered by a large turnout of Banbidge supporters, at Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last to see an enthralling game of rugby between two sides at contrasting ends of the league table. Banbridge are a club who are well established in the AIL and occupied third spot entering this match. Boyne on the other hand, following a whirlwind start, suffered two defeats that put a dent in their morale and coach Craig McGrath set about restoring the sides confidence with some changes in personnel and increasing the players training schedule to three nights.
Boyne made the long trip to Cashel on Saturday last for an encounter with a team who were unbeaten in their opening four games in this league. The Tipperary side are also operating in this league for the first time, having qualified from Munster as Junior Division 1A champions last season.
This match pitted these two sides against each other for the first time in senior rugby. Navan have been featuring in this league for the past three seasons and perhaps this experience stood them in good stead throughout this match for various reasons. This was billed as the battle of the North East and a record crowd turned out at Shamrock Lodge to witness the encounter. The Ballymakennye road ground had its biggest ever crowd for a competitive game.
Table toppers Boyne, made the short journey to the J.J.McDowell Park in Sutton on Saturday last for this encounter with the north county Dublin side who are experienced AIL campaigners. Perhaps it was this experience that stood to them throughout this game. They got off to a flier when they scored a try, virtually from the kick off. Boyne failed to collect cleanly and knocked on from the attempted catch, advantage was allowed and the home side took the ball through midfield before releasing the ball to their backs. They completed the task by running it wide and scoring in the corner.
Given that the press were in attendance at yesterdays game and a full report will ensue in this weeks Drogheda Independent, this is just a summary report of a very historic day in the annals of rugby in the town of Drogheda.
The committee and coaches wish to draw the attention of all players to this most important matter.
The IRFU player insurance scheme, to which the club subscribes, provides limited cover to paid-up playing members in the event of very serious injury. Players who have not paid their membership subscriptions are not covered and the club accepts no responsibility or liability in the event of such players sustaining injury while playing or training. It is the policy of the club that only players who have paid their subscriptions will be considered for selection.
Boyne made the long trip to Yeats territory to make their historic debut in the Ulster Bank All Ireland League. This game saw the respective champions of Junior rugby in Leinster and Connacht the previous season pitted against each other in their opening match in this league. Whilst Boyne were entering new ground, the home side were returning to senior rugby having lost that status back in 1998. The Sligo grounds are situated in the shadow of Knocknarea on one side where legend has it, on its peak, is the burial place of Queen Maebh.
Boyne finished their Leinster League campaign at Lansdowne Road on Saturday last against Wanderers in the shadow of the Aviva Stadium on the home clubs synthetic pitch. Preparations are now complete for their entry into the real cut and thrust of Div 2B of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League next Saturday against Sligo away.
This was Boyne’s third outing in this competition and with their opening AIL league match against Sligo only a matter of two weeks away they improved greatly from their previous showings. Greystones came into this game in confident mood having had very good results in their games so far. However, Boyne upset the form book in this encounter with a brand of rugby that matched the visitors in skill and pace. Greystones are a division above Boyne in the AIL and the opening twenty minute spell suggested that they would demonstrate their status when they took a 10pt lead.
The newcomers to senior rugby got a serious wakeup call at Donnybrook on Saturday last when they came up against a very slick Wesley team who play their rugby in division 2a of the AIL. Boyne continued with their ploy of trying out new players at this grade but the home team were more physical and a stronger running side that caused great problems for the visitors. It was a shadow Boyne side that took the field with a number of first team players still waiting to make a return to first team duty.