Ashbourne lifted silverware on Thursday night last when they lifted the Spencer Cup for the first time. Playing in the Metro Area competition under an invitation, Ashbourne defeated DLSP in a tough game running out winners by 12 points 8 at Sydney Parade.
Ashbourne RFC originally were members of the Metro Area but left in 1998 to join the North East Area. The Spencer Cup was very much the holy grail back in those times when the club were beaten finalists 3 times and never failed to lift the trophy. The last final that Ashbourne reached was in 1990 when Jeff Mahon played in the second row a feat he did again in this years final, a tremendous achievement, following his Ireland Legends appearance a few weeks ago.
Another connection with that final was the appearance of the two Rooney’s, Mark and James, in the final. Their father Pat who is the current club President was also on the team that appeared in the last final so it was fitting that he received the pennant from Leinster Branch President Robert McDermott.
An Ashbourne DLSP final reflected the form of both sides this season with Ashbourne finishing 3rd in the league while DLSP were one place behind them so it was all to play for. It turned out to be a very close affair. In ideal conditions on a good Monkstown FC pitch the teams served up a great game.
The first half was a very close affair with neither side been allowed to gain momentum. DLSP had beaten Ashbourne in the qualifying rounds but had beaten twice in the league. The teams knew one another very well. Ashbourne’s line out was not functioning well but the scrum was holding solid. Ashbourne, through Dunne, had two penalty shots to pull ahead in the first half but he was off and it took a penalty from DLSP to break the deadlock in the 38 minute.
This spurred Ashbourne into action and deep in injury time they got on the board. From a series of scrums in the DLSP 22 Ashbourne was exerting pressure, on DLSP. Instead of taking the awarded penalties they went for scrums and eventually with pressure on, Simon Deevy picked up at the base and drove over for a try. Dunne knocked over the conversion and Ashbourne turned 7 to 3 ahead.
The second half continued in a similar manner with no quarter taken and eventually Ashbourne stretched the lead with a great try. Mark Rooney fielded a deep kick in their own half and Kennedy moved the ball finding Dunne. The winger broke down the wing and was stopped in the DLSP 22. McNally recycled the ball going left and found McCaghy. He passed the ball left again and found Cramer who broke over the line for a try, which went unconverted.
DLSP came back hard and were rewarded with an unconverted try to narrow the score to 12 to 8 and set up a nail biting final with Ashbourne hanging on. Gavin Kennedy broke out of his own 22 to run the length of the field only to get caught in the corner and with that the final whistle blew and the celebrations began.
A bit of history was made as Ashbourne had already won the McGowan Cup in the North East and now have the Metro’s Spencer Cup.
Alan Wall, James McCaghy, Ciaran Roche, Jeff Mahon, Jake Wall, Mark Rooney, James Rooney, Simon Deevy, Conor McNally, Gavin Kennedy, Casey Dunne, Tristan Cramer, Adam Sherrard, Charles Coyle, Kelan Toolan
Subs: Dan Norton, Frank Keegan, Sean Kent, Matt Connolly and Zbynek Schutz,