Saturday 17 November 2018

League contenders are stunned by brave Boyne

Leinster League Division 1A Rugby: DLSP 28 Boyne 32

Lowly Boyne produced the shock result of last weekend's Leinster League action when Wilson Twentyman's stoppage-time try clinched an away win over title contenders De La Salle Palmerston.

Players and supporters made the trip to Kiltiernan on Saturday with some trepidation, given that they'd suffered some heavy defeats in recent games, but Graeme Eastwood and Gary Downey worked hard with the squad during the break in fixtures and the return of some key players was also a boost.

During the early stages it looked as if Boyne's woes would continue as the home team made an impressive start. Early pressure saw them move the ball with purpose from good possession gained by their forwards, and within 10 minutes they went over for an excellently worked try.

Their two wingers combined to make the extra man in midfield and with quick handling they swept the ball along the backline to score, with the difficult conversion missed.

They built on this lead five minutes later from a lineout turnover as they moved the ball wide again and their centre sprinted away to beat the Boyne defence - 10 points on the board with as many minutes played.

However, Boyne's response was admirable and they forced a scrum in the DLSP 22' from which they were awarded a penalty. They spurned the kick for goal and instead took a tapped penalty and outwitted the home defence, with good quick hands finding winger Brian Howell who crossed for a try in the corner.

Karl Keogh put the icing on the cake with a magnificent conversion from out wide and Boyne now trailed by just three points.

The Drogheda men had now settled down and they managed to match their opponents for the next 20 minutes, before the home side struck again for their third try. After a series of pick and drives they went blindside, with their centre once again popping up as the receiver to cross for his second try. Once again they missed the conversion to bring the score to 15-7.

This was proving to be an enthralling encounter and Boyne's confidence was steadily growing as play progressed. Both sides were playing expansive football and another fine passing movement by the Boyne backs saw three wide passes reach Kevin McCleery. He showed dazzling footwork to make room for a great scoring pass to the supporting Keogh who came up on his inside to cross for an excellently worked try.

Keogh added the extras himself to leave Boyne going into the half-time break with an improbable 17-15 lead.

The second period also saw Boyne open brightly with more good open football, and from a lineout on the DLSP 22' they won clean ball which was moved wide, with out half Tom Francis setting up his outside backs. Full back Eoghan Duffy joined the line and sent McCleery over in the corner for Boyne's third try. Keogh didn't land the difficult conversion, but Boyne had increased their advantage to 22-15.

DLSP applied serious pressure following this score and had Boyne defending frantically. They managed to close the score with a penalty when Boyne were penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown.

Boyne responded with a 40-metre Keogh penalty in front of the posts, but their defensive heroics led to Tom Francis taking a yellow card in the 70th minute for a team offence which saw them reduced to 14 at a crucial stage.

The home side really went for the jugular during the last 10 minutes and used their kicking opportunities to go for lineouts. Whilst these yielded territorial advantage, they decided to take a tapped penalty under the posts and following multiple phases they were eventually rewarded with a try out wide on the left which they converted to take a 28-25 lead.

To their great credit Boyne refused to buckle and with the game entering injury time and out half Francis back on the field they threw caution to the wind with their final play.

Number 8 Keogh made a great break from inside his own 22' and carried the ball into midfield. Out half Francis carried on the offensive, with full back Duffy once again offering support to bring play deep into the DLSP half before the move was stopped. Boyne managed a quick recycle and they moved the ball wide to their Kiwi wing forward Twentyman who managed a superb hand-off from a would-be tackle to cross for a try.

Keogh completed an excellent performance from boot and play with the conversion and Boyne won the drop out and retained possession until the final whistle for a memorable and confidence-boosting win.

They resume league activity on Saturday week against Wicklow at Shamrock Lodge (2.30pm).

Boyne: Eoghan Duffy; Brian Howell, Kevin McCleery, Joe Sweeney, Alex Gregory; Tom Francis, Alex Cox; Patrick Shuttleworth, Pat Mongey, Hugh Carolan; Conor Walsh, Declan Moore; Rory Hennessy, Wilson Twentyman, Karl Keogh. Replacements: Luke Callaghan, Jerry Onianwa, Leo Nulty, Kevin Prendergast, Michael Briscoe.

Drogheda Independent