Monday 14 October 2019

Corker of a win keeps Mals in promotion mix

Rugby: Ulster Bank all-Ireland league division 2B/2C - Malahide 19 Midleton 14

Paul Byrne

Malahide completed the double over Midleton in the All-Ireland League Division 2C with a hard-fought win at a wet and windy Estuary Road last Saturday afternoon.

This was a huge win for Malahide, who remain very much in the hunt for promotion with just four games remaining.

The crucial game in the run in looks likely to be a home date with Omagh, who currently sit one place ahead of Malahide in fourth spot.

Malahide are probably the form team in the league at the moment, having won nine of their last 11 games, a run which has seen them roar back into contention for a play-off spot in Division 2C.

It's been a remarkable turnaround considering that they were struggling for form at the beginning of the season when they lost their opening three games.

Malahide knew that Midleton would be tough opponents, with the Cork side on a run of five wins from their previous six games, including an excellent victory at table-toppers Ballina.

The game began as the rain poured down, which made for a scrappy opening to proceedings as both sides struggled to retain possession.

Malahide gradually began to find their rhythm and after a spell of sustained pressure they scored the game's opening try after 16 minutes.

The move began in Malahide's own '22, with the home side showing some excellent defence before going through the phases to reach half-way. David Quirke spotted a gap in the Midleton defence before turning on the afterburners and streaking clear to go in under the posts.

Adam Kennedy made no mistake with the conversion to make it 7-0 to Malahide.

Midleton responded well to that setback and were soon inside the Malahide '22 following a rolling maul which pushed the hosts back.

The proceeding scrum saw Midleton cleverly create space before squeezing over the line for a try. The conversion was duly sent over to draw Midleton level, with the scoreboard reading 7-7.

Despite playing into a strong breeze, Malahide were on the front foot as they powered their way into enemy territory.

Some fine handling by the hosts saw them spread the play wide to Adam Kennedy who finished off a fine move by going over in the corner.

That was the last real action of the opening half and Malahide would have been happy going in with a 12-7 lead, given they had the strong wind behind them in the second half.

The home side couldn't have hoped for a better start to the second period as John Shine barrelled his way over to give Malahide a comfortable cushion.

The try came about following a sustained spell of pressure, with some strong carries from Rory Kavanagh and Marcus McAllister. The ball was eventually picked up by Shine who used his strength to get over the try line and put Malahide 17-7 up.

Kennedy added the extras to make it 19-7 as the hosts took control.

Malahide spent the majority of the second half in defensive mode after that and they nullified their opponents for long periods as the visitors began to get increasingly frustrated.

With time running out Midleton finally got over the try line for a bonus point, but it proved a case of too little too late as the final whistle sounded shortly afterwards to confirm a 19-14 victory for Malahide.

Fingal Independent