ARKLOW U-19s played their first match home match last Saturday against local rivals Wicklow in the South East League.
As per usual this was a hard fought contest between the two local neighbours.
The first 10 minutes were hotly contested with neither side willing to give a inch. After 15 minutes Arklow, through strong running from Joe Jones and Ryan Smart, got a foothold in the Wicklow half.
Wicklow strayed off side and Fergal Marshall went for the corner and from a well worked lineout move prop Sean Byrne crashed over from 5 meters. Marshall was just wide with the conversion to leave the score 5 -0.
From the restart Arklow went straight into attack mode with strong running by Philip Itiounas who broke through several tackles. He was well supported by Robin Wood won kept the move flowing. This brought Arklow back into the Wicklow half. A scrum to Arklow followed and after going through a few phases of play Ryan Smart was on hand to receive the final pass to score in the corner. Marshall made no mistake with conversion to leave the score 12-0.
Arklow finished the half in the driving seat and just before half time Wicklow strayed offside and from the resulting penalty Marshall split the posts to leave the half time score 15-0 in Arklow's favour.
Wicklow were a different team in the second half and to their credit they camped in the Arklow half for the first 10 minutes of the second half and got a deserved try in the corner. Arklow responded straight away after a few words from coach Barney Hynes.
From the kick-off Arklow got the ball back quickly and Philip Itiounas set up a ruck just outside the Wicklow 22. Quick ball from scrumhalf Alexander Kenny to Fergal Marshall and he fed Robbie Bradshaw who coasted over the line. Marshall converted and suddenly it was 22- 5 in Arklow's favour.
Wicklow came back again and were rewarded with a very well worked try which was well converted and all of a sudden Wicklow looking good at 22-12.
With Wicklow on the attack just outside the Arklow 22 Arklow stole a ruck ball and Fergal Marshall lofted a beautiful Garryowen which the Wicklow backs let bounce. Ross Hynes took full advantage to scoop up the ball and score under the posts. Fergal Marshall was on target again. Arklow, finishing the stronger, went straight into attack mode again from another well worked lineout and some nice inter play and that man Sean Byrne was on hand again to crash over for his second try of the match. That finished the scoring and Arklow were well in control at the end. The match was well contested and played in the right spirit by both sides. A lot of hard work still needs to be done with the first Leinster League match on next Saturday at home to Wexford. Training is on every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm. New members always welcome even if you have not played before its never too late if interested call Barney 086 2309921.
Panel: Tom Ledgend Scarfe, Conor Fanning, Jordan Fidgeon, Sean Byrne, Robin Wood, Ryan Smart, Conor Rochford, Jamie Roe, Robbie Bradshaw, Philip Itiounas (man of the match), Alexander Kenny, Fergal Marshall, Joe Jones, Andrew Doran, Lesley Hill, Aaron Murphy, Colm Doyle. Well done to Conor Rochford who only took up rugby two weeks ago and played his first match last Saturday.