Rampant Dundalk finish 2013 on high
DUNDALK bounced back to winning ways in style last week, dispatching Enniscorthy with ease at Mill Road in Leinster League Division 1.
In the last competitive game of 2013 it was clear from the start that Dundalk were focused and eager to play some quick rugby.
Enniscorthy struggled to contain Dundalk's attack from the early stages and paid the price by conceding a string of penalties, two of which were converted by Ultan Murphy in the opening ten minutes to make it 6-0 to the hosts.
And as the penalties continued to flow the outhalf continued to convert them doubling his side's lead to12-0 before long.
Enniscorthy did respond and slowly came back into the game but they never really created any clear scoring chances. Dundalk's defence was superb throughout the match and the team worked tirelessly for each other all afternoon.
It seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Dundalk crossed for their first try and the breakthrough duly arrived when Murphy made an excellent break, and somehow managed to hold onto the ball before offloading to the ever-willing Stephen Martin who had the speed to get over the line for a fine try. Murphy added the extras to leave it 19-0 at the break.
Dundalk knew if they could keep the tempo up and hold onto the ball for a few more phases in the second half then the tries would come. However, a much stronger Enniscorthy emeregd for the second half.
They upped the tempo in a bid to plunder the all-important next score, but their attack lacked penetration at times and Dundalk's defence was able to keep them at bay.
Dundalk added their second try when after a well-worked set piece move which allowed Thomas Campbell and Isaia Petelo to gain some yards. The ball was then recycled before hooker Johnny Gray crashed over for a fine try which Murphy converted.
The Enniscorthy men were becoming deflated and Dundalk were starting to play with real conviction. Their third try was, without doubt, the score of the match. Another well worked line-out allowed Conor Williams to get across the gain line, and the ball was recycled a number of times by the forwards, before it was released to the backs who showed excellent hands and depth to allow Owen McNally to score in the corner. Murphy failed with the conversion leaving the score 31-0.
The pressure was now off Dundalk but in the back of their minds was the bonus point and one more try. It soon followed when after excellent interplay between the forwards and backs released the back line and Petelo got over for his eighth try of the season.
However credit must go to Enniscorthy who finished off the game the stronger of the two sides and for the last ten minutes were camped inside the Dundalk 22 but were unable to break down a stubborn Dundalk defence.
Dundalk can now enjoy their well earned Christmas break before facing a tough run of games in January, kicking off with an away match to Cill Dara on the 4th of January.
Best for Dundalk was the entire front five of Williams, Gray, John Smith, Chris O'Hanlon and Mike Bentley who provided the platform for a fine team performance. If they can produce this type of quality ball week in week out and not let teams out muscle them then Dundalk will be a dangerous outfit in 2014.
DUNDALK: J Shields, R O'Hagan, I Petelo, MJ McKevitt, O McNally, U Murphy, T Campbell (c), E Faatau, B Hadden, S Martin, C O'Hanlon, M Bentley, J Smith, J Gray, C Williams Subs: R Farrell, J McConnon, L Steen, K Lenehan, R Shields