Ashbourne Kick Start Season
Ashbourne go their season going with a great 4-try win away to DLSP on Saturday afternoon in Kiltiernan. It was Ashbourne’s first points of the season in their third game of the league in what had been a disappointing start. Losses to both Gorey and Enniscorthy meant that the trip to the south Dublin club of DLSP was one of trepidation, but there were a lot of positives from the Enniscorthy game the previous week. This DLSP ‘s first season in the Leinster League following their demotion from the AIL and are hoping bounce back up.
Following a minute silence for the local tragedy at the start of the game, both teams got stuck in Ashbourne missing a good few regulars due to injury started Shane Eoin Kennedy at blindside and Conor McNally was back at 9. Tristan Cramer came in at 14, while Andrew Tormey continued on the left wing. The sides were fairly well match though Ashbourne had the upper hand in the scrums. It was a tense affair and the referee was busy trying to control things. It was a mix up at an Ashbourne line on their own 10-meter line that presented DLSP with their first try. The ball ended up clearing the lineout and ended in the DLSP’s 9’s hands and he broke straight through the cover to give the pass to his supporting number 10 to score. The game had only re-started when Hughes and a DLSP backrow player were sent to the bin. Hughes will feel hard one by as the DLSP player was hanging out of his hair!
In the 26th minute DLSP added a second try when good inter play released their 9 to score under the posts. At 14 nil down this game could have got away. But Ashbourne dug deep and turned the game around to draw level by half time. The first break through came straight from the restart. Crotty went deep but the return kick did not find touch. Deevy took the ball forward and when snagged he set up the ruck. McNally was quickly on the scene and spotting the gap he took over the middle of the ruck on the halfway only to be caught on the 5-meter line. The DLSP lineout was disrupted by Roche, causing DLSP to knock on and Ashbourne were awarded a scrum. Ashbourne showed their strength and powered over and Deevy touched down with Crotty adding the extra 2 points.
Ashbourne were back on the attack a few minutes later and from a DLSP 22 drop out the visitors took the ball forward through Crotty. He found Kennedy who drove forward into the 22 and offload to Hughes coming in at a great angle. He power to a meter from the line and McNally pick and wriggled over for the tying try. Again Crotty converted. Shortly after that Crotty was at the wrong end of a very later challenge but the player stayed on the pitch. The same was not the case when Sherrard received a yellow for a perceived high tackle just before the break. Score was 14 all after 40 minutes.
The second have started and Ashbourne continued to press forward even with 14 men. Within 5 minutes they were rewarded with a Crotty penalty, which did not surrender for the rest of the game. Ashbourne continue to press from the restart and the 3rd try came from a period of sustained pressure with Hughes heavily involved along great carrying from Kennedy, Rooney and Crotty. In front of the post 5 meters our McNally pick from the base of the ruck and got over for his second try to stretch the lead to 24 points to 14.
But Ashbourne were not alert and DLSP struck back within 5 minutes their scrumhalf and opened up the defense to touch down for a 3rd try which was converted. Ashbourne though had the fire in the belly and regained a 10-point lead from the restart. Crotty’s kick off was field brilliantly by Tormey, a skill he brought from another code and passed out to McCaghy on the touchline. The DLSP fullback missed his grubber through the cover and Mark Rooney picked up and touched down. Donal Crotty continued his 100% kicking with the conversion – 31 points to 21 but still 25 to go.
The rest game was a battle and two penalties exchanged to bring the score to 34 to 24 which was the final score. It was attritional and big hits were going in across the pitch. The key for Ashbourne was to deny DLSP the losing BP as they all count at the end of the season. Alan Wall continued to have an impressive season and Roche worked very hard along with McNamara. DLSP had two try scoring chances, which they made a mess off and Ashbourne rode their luck. But luck is a huge part of all games.
Alan Wall, James McCaghy, Mark Behan, Ciaran Roche Tom McNamara, Shane Eoin Kennedy, Mark Rooney, Simon Deevy, Conor McNally, Donal Crotty, Andrew Tormey, Adam Hughes, Adam Sherrard, Tristan Cramer, Dermot Colreavy
Dan Norton, Stephen Murray, Sean Kent, Kelan Toolan, Zbynek Schultz