Boyne warm supporters' hearts on bitter Saturday
Boyne 20 Monkstown 12
There were plenty of happy faces at a bitterly cold Shamrock Lodge on Saturday last as the Boyne faithful saw their team register a third win on the bounce.
Visitors Monkstown, who had lost all seven of their previous fixtures, needed a victory to drag other teams into the frame for automatic relegation, while Boyne were looking to haul themselves further away from the drop zone.
Despite heavy rain and then frost the night before, the pitch was in good condition and both teams played open rugby - although the opening score came from the boot of Boyne's number 8 Karl Keogh as he landed a fifth-minute penalty.
This resulted from the initial pressure the home side exerted, putting together a series of phases which released their backs to mount several attacks.
A further 20 minutes elapsed before another score followed and this was excellently manufactured, with backs and forwards combining to send Kevin McCleery over out wide.
It came from a Monkstown scrum on the half-way line when Boyne managed a turnover, with scrum half Alex Cox darting away and finding wing forward Rory Hennessy on his outside. Full back Eoghan Duffy cut inside, receiving the pass from Hennessy to make ground before giving the scoring pass to winger McCleery.
Boyne continued to make breaks and Keogh had another chance from a penalty but was off target. The hosts were in all-out attack mode and intent on garnering all five league points from this game.
This looked a distinct possibility on the half-hour when another try followed, this time full back Duffy doing the scoring. It resulted from a Boyne scrum when a fleet-footed break from the base saw the ball transferred to the backs, with Duffy crossing the line for the touchdown. The conversion brought Boyne's scoring tally to 13.
If the frozen Boyne supporters thought they were in for a try fest from their team, Monkstown had other ideas and during the final 15 minutes of the first half they had the home side under severe pressure. During this spell the Boyne defence had to work hard and they were resolute in defence, denying Monkstown a try.
Boyne did make some breaks into the Monkstown half, but knock-ons and infringements denied them further progress and they finished the half with that 13-0 lead still intact.
Monkstown stepped up their game in the second half and put the home side under sustained pressure, with their backs and forwards going through the phases to seek a try-scoring opportunity.
Boyne relied on quick breaks to attack the opposition and from one of these an old fashioned foot-rush saw them bring play deep into Monkstown's danger area.
From the resulting 22' drop out, prop Hugh Carolan made a great catch to drive up to the Monkstown five-metre line, but the ball went dead.
Then one of the Monkstown wingers broke the Boyne defence with a searing run before the sweeping move was stopped by full back Duffy almost on the line.
From the ensuing ruck Boyne number 8 and captain Keogh was yellow-carded and Monkstown had a scrum from which they scored a well-worked, unconverted try - 13-5.
Monkstown fielded the drop out and went on the attack deep into the Boyne half, but one of the Boyne wing forwards managed a turnover and emerged with the ball to sprint away deep into the Monkstown half.
Another of the visitors' promising attacks was thwarted with an excellent Carolan turnover which saw two more yellow cards flashed by the referee, with Boyne's Padraig Mongey and a Monkstown player leaving the proceedings for 10 minutes.
With just eight points between them Boyne needed another try and they finally got one on the hour mark from a fast-paced move that was combined with good handling and a brilliant punt.
Scrum half Cox fed full back Duffy who put in a delightful cross-field punt towards winger McCleery who crossed for Boyne's third try. This time the conversion was good by Keogh and Monkstown needed three scores to avoid defeat.
With 15 minutes to go it was hell for leather as Boyne sought a bonus-point try and Monkstown sought to get some consolation for their efforts.
In the 68th minute the visitors narrowed the gap when following a series of 'pick and drives' they crossed for a converted try to narrow the gap to 20-12. They made a gallant effort to rescue a bonus point but to no avail.
This coming Saturday Boyne complete their pre-Christmas programme of games with an away trip to Gorey - kick-off 2pm.
Boyne: Eoghan Duffy; Brian Howell, Adam Brodigan, Alex Gregory, Kevin McCleery; Tom Francis, Alex Cox; Hugh Carolan, Padraig Mongey, Patrick Shuttleworth; Conor Walsh, Declan Moore; Rory Hennessy, Wilson Twentyman, Karl Keogh. Replacements: Richard Shuttleworth, George Cooney, Jerry Onianwa, Michael Briscoe, Luke O'Callaghan.