Saturday 7 December 2019

Battling Boyne come up just short in Carlow test

Leinster League Divison 1B: Co Carlow 15 Boyne 10

Time ran out on Boyne last Saturday as their strong finish yielded only a losing bonus point in the last of their first-round fixtures in the Leinster League Division 1B.

They made the journey to Carlow where the conditions were damp and miserable for the duration of the game, and those conditions suited the home side who had a big pack of forwards who were determined to keep it tight. Boyne, on the other hand, started well and kept the ball moving through the hands.

An injury to captain Collie Joyce Ahearn against Longford in the previous game saw Declan Moore take over pack-leading duties and the first five lineouts were secured.

An infringement for contact in the lineout led to the first score of the game as Joe Sweeney landed the penalty to put Boyne ahead in the 10th minute.

The consistent rain which fell throughout the game resulted in a lot of knock-ons and errors, with both sides resorting to kicking for territory.

At times Boyne's line speed was quite passive and Carlow were making the gain line with their thrusts, which meant frantic defending from the visitors. Nevertheless, it was the half-hour mark before Carlow were to register their first score when Boyne were penalised for not rolling away virtually under the posts. Carlow elected to kick for the three points and the game reached half-time with just that one kick apiece.

Carlow decided to play a more expansive game in the second half as their full back began to make incursions into the back the line and looked threatening.

The home side forced a lineout on the 22-metre line, moved the ball into midfield and made ground before switching play back to the blind side where their full back was lurking to draw the Boyne winger before releasing his own winger for the try.

The Carlow inside centre made an excellent conversion to put his side into a 10-3 lead. Carlow were on top at this stage and made good use of their physical advantage with another break over the half-way line by their second row who once again found his ever-alert full-back in support. Several attempted tackles failed to stop him from crossing for a try just to the left of the posts. This time their kicker failed with the easy conversion, but Carlow now had a comfortable 12-point lead entering the final quarter.

Boyne made a valiant effort to reduce the arrears in the final quarter and took the play deep into Carlow territory. During this spell the Carlow out half saw yellow for a ruck infringement and from the scrum Boyne worked their way into their opponents' 22'.

Carlow's frantic defence saw them concede numerous penalties, the referee's patience ran out and the Carlow second row was their second player to see a yellow card flashed in his direction for a team offence.

Boyne's persistence was rewarded when their tenacious scrum half Shaun Rooney sent the defence the wrong way with an excellent dummy before darting away up the blind side to cross for a try under the posts. Sweeney landed the conversion to bring Boyne to within five points of their hosts.

Entering the final minutes Boyne missed vital kicks to touch which would have given them the territory they needed to set up chances to to force a draw or win the game.

Eventually time ran out on their efforts, but a losing bonus point will be of some consolation and they must now prepare for the unenviable task of taking on runaway leaders Monkstown at Sydney Parade next Sunday.

Drogheda Independent