Ashbourne Advance to Second Round of the Provincial Towns Cup
Provincial Towns Cup returned to Ashbourne on Sunday last when the home side entertained Boyne’s J1 side, a club with a great history in the competition. Ashbourne field a much-changed side missing 8 of the first team squad. The home supporter’s must have been worried, especially as the home side fell behind by 8 points to nil early on in the game.
Ashbourne played into a gale in the first half and it was like playing against 16 men. Early penalties to the visitors saw the game played in the home half with Boyne pressing hard. In the 6th minute a good break by the Boyne 10 set up a ruck and Ashbourne were penalised and the visitors took a 3-point lead. Ashbourne responded well and took up camp in the Boyne half. Boyne were not helped when Deevy took a quick penalty was high tackled and less then a few meters from the penalty spot and was sin binned.
But a few minutes later it was Boyne who stretched their lead. Ashbourne were pressing hard in the visitors 22 when a loose pass went to ground and was hacked on. A series of grubber kicks and a footrace say them get the touch down for an unconverted try and an 8-point lead. But that proved to be their last score as it turned out.
The wind was having a major influence on the game with handling for both sides very difficult, but from Gavin Kennedy’s restart Ashbourne went forward with McCaghy, Deevy and Rooney prominent Boyne were drawn offside. Dunne converted the kick and Ashbourne settled into their game with 16 minutes gone.
Casey Dunne was prominent and Tristan Cramer and Adam Sherrard were doing well in the center. Usual center Sean Kent was playing in the 6 shirt and showed his versatility. It was a break by Dunne that set up Kennedy into the gap but he was high tackled and won a penalty in the 23rd minute. Dunne added the points and there was now two points in it.
Boyne were making a game out of it but were making little headway even with the wind and rarely got out their half. The scrum fronted by Behan, McCaghy and Roche were standing firm and Gallagher and Rooney created a very solid platform. It was from a Boyne lineout that Ashbourne took the lead. On halfway the Boyne hooker over threw his jumper and the ball sailed over the lineout into the on rushing Gavin Kennedy. He raced into the Boyne 22. The ball from Schutz went right but was loose. Hughes made safe the ball and Boyne infringed. Kennedy went for the lineout and McCaghy found Gallagher in the lineout. Following a series of drives and strong break by Cramer, Boyne conceded another penalty, which Dunne converted to take the lead. Ashbourne saw the half out and went in with a leadoff 9 points to 8.
The second half was all Ashbourne scoring 4 tries and running out comfortable winners. A penalty by Dunne saw lead stretch but it was Adam Sherrard who started the flow of tries. Good work by Cramer, Gavin Kennedy and Dermot Colreavy saw he release Sherrard who broke a couple of tackles to touch down. Dunne converted to stretch the lead to 19 points to 8.
In the 15 minute a scrum on the left saw Deevy break from the base and linking with Schutz. He passed to Kennedy and looped and took the return. He found Sherrard on the break and he drove into the defense. As the ruck formed Cramer appeared and picked the ball on the 22 and broke to the line to touch down. Dunne missed his first kick of the day and the score was now 24 points to 8.
In the 22nd minute a-heal-against the head saw Ashbourne break through Deevy. He shipped forward and chased with Keith Kennedy. A series of scrums and reset kept the pressure on. Toolan was on for Schutz and from a scrum Kennedy found winger Dunne coming on the inside shoulder of Toolan and score a great try and he converted this one.
The bench was emptied with Mahon, Norton, Keegan and Field all getting a run. But was Keith Kennedy who scored the final try. Kennedy crowned a fine game when he was on hand to touch down a neat chip through from Toolan. This followed great work from Deevy, Toolan, Colreavy, Field and Dunne. Deevy took the conversion and added the two points.
Ashbourne ran out winners by 35 points to 8 and have drawn Wicklow away in the 2nd round. This will be a very tough test but to win the Towns Cup you rarely get an easy game. This will be on the 21st of February. Ashbourne have a down week next weekend.
Ciaran Roche, James McCaghy, Mark Behan, James Rooney, Eugene Gallagher, Sean Kent, Keith Kennedy, Simon Deevy, Zybnek Schutz, Gavin Kennedy, Adam Hughes, Tristan Cramer, Adam Sherrard, Casey Dunne, Dermot Colreavy
Daniel Norton, Frank Keegan, Jeff Mahon, Cathal Field, Kelan Toolan