ASHBOURNE's disappointing start to their 1B league campaign continued when they failed to score against the league leaders and coughed up four tries in a heavy defeat at Tullow on Sunday.
On a wet afternoon with a greasy ball Ashbourne started brightly and were well in contention in all facets of the game, but when Tullow broke wide on the left to score in the 10th minute Ashbourne never really recovered. Though they had a chance with a penalty to make it 5-3, Marcus Speck was off with the attempt and this turned out to be the only real chance Ashbourne had in the whole afternoon. Neverthleless only that single score separated the sides until the last 10 minutes of the first half, after prop Alan Wall had been sent to the sin bin.
Tullow made hay against the 14 men and added a further 10 points, courtesy of a second try which was a carbon copy of the first - this time converted - and then a penalty kick to leave Ashbourne trailing 15-0 at the interval. While the scrum was under pressure the lineout functioned well from Ashbourne's point of view and James Rooney was very effective in disrupting the opposition set piece. Jeff Mahon played with great heart and made some great drives throughout the game along with captain Rory Gleeson, but otherwise the team were flat and allowed themselves to be bullied at times at the breakdown. Two further tries followed from Tullow to stretch their lead to 27 and secure them a bonus point, and Ashbourne worked hard and tackled well they were always on the back foot. The potential is there, but so far it has not been seen for long enough periods in games to be effective, and Ashbourne face another tough away trip next Sunday to Portarlington (3pm).
Though it is early days yet in the league, it's very important they get something from that trip. ASHBOURNE: Dermot Colreavy; Saulea Laurentiu, Mark Rooney, Joe Taylor, Mitchell O'Meara; Leo Quinn, Marcus Speck; Alan Wall, James McCaghy, Ciaran Roche; Adrian Buckley, Jeff Mahon; James Rooney, Ken Bolster, Rory Gleeson. Replacements: Ciaran Boylan, Mark Behan, Eugene Gallagher, Oisin Kilgallon, Collie Randle. -Elsewhere in the Leinster League, Malahide were 19-3 victors away to Portlaoise in 2A, Swords were humbled 45-5 at home to Railway Union in a Division 2B match and Balbriggan were beaten 39-10 by Boyne in the McGee Cup. Skerries weren't in action in the All-Ireland League Division 2B and they don't resume until Saturday week when they host Naas at Holmpatrick.