Ashbourne’s Run Continues
Three league wins plus the All Ireland Junior Cup win meant that the win away at Monkstown made it 4 in a row and started a tough run of games in November on a very positive note. The game also doubled as a Spencer Cup semi final and this is a cup the club has never won so something to look forward to later in the season.
The Ashbourne team that started saw Crotty back at 10, while Roche was back in the engine room in the second row and has starting to look a bit more settled. Ashbourne kicked off and put pressure on the home side. Good defense held Monkstown in their own 22 and when eventually they cleared Tormey on the left wing field the ball on the halfway line and broke forward. When stopped in the home 22 he offloaded to Mark Rooney supporting on his right. The flanker made it to the 5-meter line where Monkstown infringed and conceded a penalty. Deevy was quickly on the spot to tap and go and score under the post, and Crotty added the conversion. 3 minutes gone and 7 points up. Good start!
Ashbourne were playing well with the pack dominant in the tight and Wall, McCaghy and Behan making life very difficult for their opposite numbers. Wall initially had to sort out some issues with the referee in the engagement but once sorted he continued to scrummage very effectively. Ashbourne were also working well in the line out and throughout the game Rooney, in particular made a habit of robbing or disrupting the opposition ball.
It was Ashbourne who scored next and it started from Rooney taking clean ball in the line out. Some fine straight running by Kent from a flat pass from Crotty, Hughes and Colreavy gave Ashbourne excellent field position. When the ball was recycled Tormey was stopped and Alan Wall picked and drove forward. From the ensuing ruck Monkstown killed the ball and Crotty duly slotted the penalty. Ashbourne led by 10 points to nil after 12 minutes.
The came settled into a period where it was played between the two 22’s. Monkstown started to play more rugby and Ashbourne had to defend and they did this really well. McNamara, Jake Wall and Roche all showed up well while the backs held a very tight line. It was in a period of sustained Monkstown pressure that Ashbourne were caught offside and the Ashbourne lead was reduced to 7 in the 25th minute.
On the 30th minute Monkstown had a man sent to the bin but Ashbourne took no advantage of the extra man. In fact just before halftime the home side hit back with their second penalty but it turned out to be their last score of the game. Ashbourne led by 10 points to 6 at the break.
Monkstown started the second half poorly putting their kick straight into touch. From the Ashbourne scrum on the halfway the scrum drove forward before Deevy picked and was stopped on the 10-meter line. Rooney picked and continued to drive forward. The ball was recycled by McNally to Crotty and he broke towards the post but his pass to McCaghy was knocked done. The referee then called Ashbourne back to the 22 for a penalty as he had been playing advantage. Crotty attempt cam off the post and in trying to recover the ball Monkstown knocked the ball on. Ashbourne’s dominance in the scrum came to the fore here and series of scrums, with Ashbourne turning down a kick at goal, until Ashbourne drove the home side over their own line and Deevy touched down. Crotty again added the conversion.
In fairness to Monkstown they never gave up and while Ashbourne were dominant in many ways it was never clear that Ashbourne could push on for two more tries. The home side defended well and only allowed Ashbourne 3 more points in the 22nd minute when Donal Crotty brought his tally for the day to 10 points with a well taken kick. There were chances but the game was over really at this point. Murray came in for McNamara with 10 minutes to go but the rest of the bench was not used. The final score saw Ashbourne win by a score of 20 points to 6.