Louth derby duel looms as Boyne reach the last eight
BOYNE'S J3 side set up an all-Louth quarter-final showdown with Dundalk at Mill Road next Sunday (3pm) after opening formidable opposition in North Meath 1sts at Shamrock Lodge on Friday night.
This was a humdinger of a cup tie as Emmet Grogan's charges suffered a shaky initial 20 minutes before coming to terms with the opening offensive of the visitors.
Boyne's J3s are made up of youth and experience, with the likes of veterans Emmet Grogan, Alan McEneaney, Paddy Keenan, Simon Gerrard, Seamus Sarsfield and Paddy Cooney lending their guidance to the likes of Ryan Healy, Ethan Bradley, Ciaran Clinton and Sean Callaghan.
North Meath had a bright opening and were somewhat unfortunate not to capitalise on the possession they had during these opening minutes. The Boyne defence were severely stretched, but with unforced errors by North Meath the away side's only score came from a penalty.
After that Boyne began to assert themselves. This pressure forced infringements, and after McEneaney missed his first attempt he made amends minutes later with a similar effort to level the scores.
With their confidence boosted, the first try wasn't long in arriving and it came right out of the top drawer. Boyne forced a turnover and broke out of defence, with Gerrard putting in an excellent chip to beat the opponents' defence. He followed up and gathered to break away, and with fellow centre Rory Hennessy on his shoulder he transferred and left Hennessy with a simple run-in. McEneaney missed the conversion, but Boyne led 8-3 and there would be no more scores before half-time.
The second half saw both teams play with great intensity, but North Meath just couldn't finish off their good approach work.
Another excellent move, this time from a lineout, yielded another Boyne try in which young hooker Ryan Healy played a prominent part. A short lineout inside the 22' outwitted the North Meath forwards and Healy burst through at the front to set up the try. McEneaney missed with the conversion but Boyne now had a 10-point lead.
Coach Grogan made tactical changes for the final 20 minutes, one of which saw centre Rory Hennessy move into his more accustomed position at number 8. Cooney and Keenan entered the game and these players added experience. Hennessy in particular was dynamic in ball-carrying and defence, but eventually the visitors did manage to cross in the 65th minute.
North Meath's hopes of completing a fine comeback were dashed, though, when Boyne's Ethan Bradley made a great break from a quick penalty and offloaded to Ciaran Clinton for the final score of the game.
This game also saw the return of Al Martyn and Shane Rooney to playing duties with the club, and this side has a great chance of landing some silverware.
Boyne: Ciarán Clinton; Ethan Bradley, Rory Hennessy, Simon Gerrard, Sean Manley; Alan McEneaney, Garret O'Dowd; Paddy Haughey, Ryan Healy, Daragh Grogan; Emmet Finnegan, Brendan Byrne; Ben Dunphy, Sean Callaghan, Seamus Sarsfield. Reps used: Paddy Keenan, Paddy Cooney, Al Martyn.