Malahide open their campaign with a whimper against Bangor
Rugby, Ulster Bank All-Ireland League: Malahide 19 Bangor 44
Malahide suffered a heavy defeat against Bangor as they opened up their All-Ireland League Division 2C campaign with a whimper.
Bangor were better all over the park throughout the game and were fully deserving of their 44-19 win.
Malahide were looking to start off the season by making a statement, having come so close to automatic promotion last season, and they must have felt confident coming up against a Bangor side they beat 29-7 last October.
The men from County Down started the match on the front foot, though, and some early pressure resulted in a penalty which was converted to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Malahide responded almost immediately, with captain Eoin Crowley finding a gap in the Bangor defence before offloading to Richie Leyden who went in at the corner to make it 5-3 to the hosts.
Bangor regained the lead ten minutes later as they recycled through multiple phases before crossing over the try line to give themselves a 10-5 lead.
The away side were really getting on top now and they pushed home that advantage with a third try to open up a 17-5 lead. A brilliant kick by Oscar Yandall put Malahide under pressure in their own 22 and from the following lineout James Henly crashed over the line to make it 17-5.
That proved to be the final action of a poor first half for the hosts as Bangor went in at the break 12 points clear.
As the second half started the hosts knew they were in a bit of trouble, with their opponents dominating all over the pitch and seemingly scoring each time they went on the attack.
In fact, it got worse for Rick Evans' side as Bangor scored a fourth try just two minutes after the restart after some excellent build-up play from Liam Preston.
Man of the match James Henly put another nail in the Malahide coffin seven minutes later as he finished off a flowing move which began in his own side's 22'.
That score confirmed the bonus point for a rampant Bangor side, but they were hungry for more scores and a sixth try soon arrived as Nathan Graham finished well after some good work from Yandall out wide.
Malahide looked well and truly beaten at this stage and must have been wondering what had hit them as their razor-sharp opponents were now 34-5 ahead.
That soon became 39-5 as Malahide's defence was breached yet again against a rampant Bangor side. The home side finally gave the home supporters something to cheer about with 15 minutes to go as they powered their way over the try line in the corner.
A successful conversion made it 39-12 and just a minute later Malahide were in again, with Dan Hayes going over for Malahide's third try.
It was a case of to little too late, however, and it was Bangor who closed out the game in style with one final try to put the gloss on a well deserved 44-19 victory.