Ashbourne 1st XV bounced back from their narrow defeat against Enniscorthy last week to run in 8 tries against third place DLSP and leapfrog into that position in the league. So far after 9 games Ashbourne have accumulated 2 more points then they did in all of last season.
It was an impressive performance with returning scrum half Gavin Kennedy running in a hat trick of tries. It was an impressive team performance with 1 to 20 all contributing to a strong showing. Ashbourne were slow enough out of the traps and went 3 points behind after 5 minutes, but that seemed to get things going for the home side. Again the pack had a big influence not only in the set pieces, where Alan Wall and Mark Behan have been excellent all season, but also through the strong ball carrying of McCaghy, Deevy, Rooney and Jake Wall, whose contributions grow with every game.
In the 14th minute from a DLSP scrum Ashbourne took the ball against the head and Deevy broke from the base. He found Keith Kennedy in support. He drew the cover before releasing his brother Gavin to score in the right corner. Crotty was off with the conversion. At 5 points to 3 you hoped Ashbourne would push on but DLSP were stubborn and defended well. The backs through Hughes and Dunne carried well while Carey control the game from 10. It was not till the 28th
that Ashbourne added a second. Tom McNamara jumping at 1 won a lineout, 10 meters out from the DLSP line. Jake Wall took it on and as Deevy rounded the corner of the blindside Wall pop passed the ball and Deevy scored in the left corner, a try which was again unconverted.
It was really all Ashbourne and it hard to believe that DLSP held out until the clock approached halftime and then Ashbourne score two tries in quick succession. A scrum in the right corner to Ashbourne was driven forward and when Deevy picked at 8 he drew cover and popped the ball to Gavin Kennedy who bet the winger to score with Dunne on his shoulder. Dunne converted to make the score 17 to 3.
3 minutes later deep in injury time DLSP were awarded a penalty, which the referee said there was no time for the lineout. DLSP went with the tap penalty and went through the hands but it was dropped under pressure from Jake Wall. He hacked on and Deevy sprinted after it. He hacked on again and picked up just shy of the line when he was stopped. He popped the ball back into the hands of supporting Mark Rooney who drove over the line for another try (unconverted) and also the try bonus point. It was halftime and Ashbourne lead by 22 points to 3. DLSP also lost a man to a yellow card.
To a certain extent the life went out of the second half though DLSP did try and get their game going but in the 12th minute of the half Ashbourne added try number 5. Good driving from there pack led by Alan Wall saw the ball being stopped just short of the line. Keith Kennedy recycled the ball to Gavin Kennedy who found Sean Kent standing out right. He drove for the line but was stopped. He spun right out of the tackle and drove again to get over the line to score. Kent deserved the score and worked really hard throughout the game. Dunne converted the try.
Another yellow card for DLSP did not help their cause and preceded the 6th try came when the home side opted for the scrum instead of a kick at goal. A simple pick at the base of the scrum by Deevy and pass to Gavin Kennedy and a dive over the line unopposed saw Kennedy’s hat trick.
Jake Wall’s driving run saw him set up Deevy to take on the ball to score his second try and Mark Rooney added the last try following a storming run from winger Adam Hughes to set up the opportunity.
Ashbourne cleared the bench and everyone got a run. DLSP did have the last say with a very well taken try but the game was over at that point. The final score was 48 points to 10 and ties Ashbourne in second place with Gorey though they have a game in hand.
Ashbourne travel next week to Kilkenny and can expect a very tough game from the home side.
Team: Alan Wall, James McCaghy, Mark Behan, Tom McNamara, Jake Wall, Mark Rooney, Keith Kennedy, Simon Deevy, Gavin Kennedy, David Carey, Adam Hughes, Donal Crotty, Sean Kent, Casey Dunne, Cathal Field
Subs: Dan Norton, Ciaran Roche, Zbynek Schutz, Stephen O’Neill, and Dermot Colreavy