Thirds into last four in McGee Cup
A TOP-4 semi-final spot in the McGee Cup was the prize as Dundalk thirds travelled to Ardee for a Louth derby on Friday night.
Dundalk started off well by applying pressure straight from the kick off, and they attacked well with the backs stringing lovely passes together. However, the heavy pitch didn't allow them to make much ground.
With their tails up Dundalk attacked the Ardee try line and a skip pass out the wing to Barry Callan saw him race past the Ardee winger for a try.
Ardee didn't give up and from the restart they engineered a position for a drop goal which they executed perfectly.
Dundalk's restart fell short resulting in an Ardee scrum, and Dundalk's dominant front row of Andrew Holmes, Brian Igoe and Steven Smyth once again showed their dominance by winning the scrum against the head.
Eamon Roe moved the ball out to Pearse Campbel who stepped back inside. From the ruck the Dundalk executed a training ground move between Chris McGeady and Roe, who sucked in the Ardee defence to release McGuinness down the wing, but he was put into touch.
Ardee kicked the ball down the pitch and from the subsequent lineout found Dundalk napping and scored their first try.
Not happy with leading 10-5 Ardee kept attacking and scored a dubious try from a very obvious crossing of players that took out two Dundalk men.
Trailing 17-5, Dundalk kept at it, dominating in the lineouts and mauling for at least 20 to 30 metres at a time. From one of these driving mauls the ball was passed out the line where McGeady and Mike Doyle combined to bring Dundalk into the Ardee 22. A pick and go from flanker Perez saw him brush off three Ardee players to score a try, leaving Dundalk trailing 17-10 at the break.
As the second half got under way Ardee's indiscipline stood out and they gave away a penalty in front of the posts, which Roe slotted over the bring the score to 13-17. Ardee kept attacking the Dundalk back line and eventually found a gap to score a try to make it 22-13.
A resulting lineout saw Dundalk's driving maul once again dominate Ardee, as it was pulled down Perez picked up the ball and bounced off three Ardee defenders to score in the corner. Gerry Lawless converted, closing the gap to 22-20. Ardee's indiscipline once again cost them dearly as they gave away a penalty on their own 22, which Lawless slotted over from in fornt of the posts. Leading by a point with two minutes to play, Dundalk failed to gather the restart, but Ardee knocked on as they tried to come up the pitch.
From the resulting scrum outhalf Roe kicked a garryowen which the Ardee winger failed to catch. Roe booted the loose ball down the touchline to score in the corner and make it 28-22.
Lawless failed to convert the try but that didn't matter as Dundalk secured their place in the semis.