Wednesday 26 June 2019

Malahide hold on for a crucial victory

Rugby: Ulster Bank AIL - Malahide 24 Thomond 22

Paul Byrne

Malahide held out for a crucial victory as they picked up their first win of the season at the fourth time of asking. It's been a tough start to the season for Brendan Guilfoyle's side with defeats to Bangor, Omagh and Ballina leaving them winless going into the fourth series of matches.

A home game against struggling Thomond seemed like the perfect opportunity to get their season up and running and the men from Fingal got off to a flying start at a cold but bright Estuary Road with a try inside five minutes. Malahide began the game on the front foot and after a spell of pressure they won their own lineout before forming a maul which rolled all the way over the Thomond try-line.

An excellent start for Malahide and they weren't finished yet with a second try arriving just three minutes later with Marcus McAllister turning on the afterburners to leave the Thomond defence for dead. A solid midfield scrum resulted in the ball arriving to Eoin Crowley and after some quick hands and good lines the ball arrived to McAllister who showed great speed to go over for Malahide's second try in quick succession. The conversion was pushed just wide which meant the scoreboard read 12-0 in favour of the hosts.

Thomond enjoyed the best spell of the match after that second try but despite putting some fierce pressure on the hosts they failed to break down a resolute Malahide defence. Thomond would rue their failure to pick up any points during that spell of pressure as the hosts broke away to score a third try after twenty five minutes. A quick tap from Simon Kinsella caught Thomond napping and he proceeded to throw the ball out wide to Dave Mongan who showed a clean pair of heels to his marker before going in under the posts to make it 19-0. A dream start for Malahide who were now firmly in control of this game.

Thomond refused to give up however and with ten minutes of the first half remaining they give themselves a lifeline with an excellent try. The move began in Thomond's own ten and ended up with Evan Cusack finding a gap in the Malahide defence to make it 19-5. Just before half time Thomond grabbed a second to really get Malahide's attention as Korey Brown dived over in the corner to make it 19-10. That gave Malahide something to think about at the break as a game they had been fully in control of was now up for grabs.

Malahide began the second half with renewed vigour and ten minutes after the restart they grabbed a crucial fourth try to open up a gap once again between the sides. Although the conversion was missed the scoreboard still looked good from a Malahide point of view at 24-10.

A couple of late tries from Evan Cusack and Richie Ryan ensured a nervy finish for the home side but a red card for the visitors gave Malahide breathing space and they saw out the game to record a crucial victory in Division 2C.

Fingal Independent