That senior All Ireland rugby is now attracting the attention of a wider audience is beginning to show in the attendance at Boyne matches in Shamrock Lodge. The local side is also obliging their new found following with top class football and this game was played at high intensity with superb handling and blistering pace. This was the Cork clubs first visit to Drogheda and the established senior club received a hospitable welcome off the field but Boyne were in no mood to concede any favours on the field.
Boyne visited the Cathedral City of Armagh and played in the beautiful surrounds of the Palace grounds but, taking in the beauty of the landscape was far from the minds of the Boyne squad. For the second week in a row they faced opposition from Ulster and the relatively short distance up the road was a rewarding one for Craig McGrath and his men. Following an indifferent performance they managed to come away with a win on the slenderest of margins by 16pts to 15pts.
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.