DUNDALK Black Sharks delivered a strong performance against two sides from Ratoath on a cold damp Sunday morning at Mill Road. This was the first outing for the chaps since santa delivered the goodies only a few weeks ago and many of the Sharks were rusty around the gills.
True to form however Lochlainn O'Conboirne, Cian Herr, James Finnegan, Rory Mc Donagh and Cian McDermott led the charge and even though conditions were damp the Sharks threw the ball wide and their sparkling line of runners were hinged by Daniel Chong at scrumhalf, James O'Connell flyhalf, and three quarters in Donal Leavy, Daniel McArdle, Aidan Grant, Conor Macken and Conor Mmith . Gavin Melly ran some fantastic lines along the wing and over all the Blacks did well to draw their first match and win their second by 4 tries to 3 . It should be mentioned that Ratoath did not have a full side, but two sharks Josh Channoler and Mark Brennan gave them a helping hand and were brilliant with their contribution.
Dundalk White Sharks also played two matches against decent Rathoath sides.
In the first match Dundalk Whites were under pressure from the off with some great rucking from Rathoath. Two Roche men James McDonnell and Liam O' Donnell played as the scrum half and out half pairing and it was not long before both lads kick started the White Sharks into action.
Some good line breaks from Oisin Burns and equally good rucking and closing off by Arlen Donnelly saw Dundalk slowly gain the upper hand. First over the line was Timmy Connolly and then followed by Jack Cassidy, as Dundalk Whites led by two tries to nil at the break.
In the second-half Rathoath Blues came roaring out of the blocks and quickly pulled one try back with great work from their guest players Seamus Thornton and Aaron Crawford.
Dundalk soaked up the pressure but again great work from the Knockbridge forwards Padraic Rutledge and Jack McCaughey gave Carrick native Jack Cassidy a clear run to the try line for Dundalk Whites third and final try.
Dundalk made some changes for their second game with Tom Corcoran returning to scrumhalf and Nial Birmingham playing as outhalf.
Dundalk's scrum was strong and with Rathoath forced into making too many handling errors, front row trio of Tadhg Cunningham, Mathew and Mark Brennan really did untold damage to Rathoath's defensive lines.
Nial Birmingham positional kicking was excellent, as was his counter rucking and his trade mark ball stealing. Second rows Arlen Donnelly and Timmy Connolly rucked brilliantly and allowed Tom Corcoran to shift quick ball out to the wings where Fionn O'Brien and Charlie Murdock made great surging runs.
Dundalk led 2-0 at half time thanks to Jack Cassidy and a great individual try from Charlie Murdock, who ran 50m to score.
The second half Rathoath kicked off but the ball ran out over the touch line 10m out from Dundalk's try line. However from the resulting line-out, Rathoath stole the ball and scored with Dundalk missing too many tackles.
Three minutes later Rathoath drew level with a great try that went through the phases, with Trojan defensive work from Mark Brennan and Gareth Burns but unfortunately Rathoath scored a great try.
Dundalk Whites were rattled now with Rathoath Yellows growing in confidence, but the Whites huddled around and decided that this game was not going to given up without a fight.
Birmingham kicked off, Liam O'Donnell caught the ball Rob Kearney style and went to ground. Donnelly and Cassidy rucked over and Corcoran picked and ran deep into Rathoath's danger area. Quick hands from Tadhg Cunningham and Fionn O'Brien gave the ball to Oisin Burns who scored a great team try and put Dundalk back in front.
From the resulting kick off, Dundalk took possession again and great work from Mathew, James McDonnell and Padraic Rutledge fed the ball to Charlie Murdoch to score another try.