independent

Saturday 21 April 2018

Skerries, Malahide both eye revenge

Ulster Bank AIL

Paul Byrne

Skerries face a tough task away to Navan this Friday evening as they look to arrest a run of five successive defeats which has seen them slip down to seventh in Division 2B of the AIL.

The Goats enjoyed an excellent start to their campaign, with four wins in their opening five games, but it's been a tough slog since November, with those five defeats ending any hopes of promotion.

There were signs of improvement last time out against high-flying Barnhall where, despite losing 54-29, Skerries put in a good display which was notable for some excellent attacking play. Full back Conor Lennox in particular looks to be in fine form, having scored a wonderful try in that match.

The clash with Navan under lights on Friday will give Skerries a chance to gain revenge for what was a tough 27-0 loss on their own patch back in November. Navan were in complete control that afternoon as they capitalised on a number of mistakes from the home side in a game which was played in terrible conditions.

Meanwhile, in Division 2C, Malahide will also be out for revenge as they host Cork outfit Midleton at Estuary Road on Saturday afternoon. Malahide suffered a 21-17 loss in a game they felt they left behind back in November. For an hour that day Malahide were the better side and looking good for their first away victory of the season, but from 17-8 up they conceded a late try and two penalties to somehow lose the game.

That victory for Midleton was one of just two they have enjoyed this season and the Munster men currently lie second bottom of the division. It's been a good debut season for Rick Evans' side, with five wins and five defeats leaving them in a credible fifth place so far.

However, they ended 2017 with a sour taste in their mouth, losing their first home game of the season with a 19-12 defeat to Omagh. The victory was tough to take for Malahide, given that they had travelled to Omagh a week previously and put in their best AIL performance of the season in a 27-5 win.

Evans' men have continued to use their attacking prowess to great effect in Division 2C and despite lying in mid-table they have scored the most points of any side in the division. Marcus McAllister and Dave Mongan have been in fine form this season so far and have given defences a real handful with their pace on the wings.

Conal Keane will be hoping to continue his excellent recent performances as well as Malahide look for a victory which could potentially see them move up to third in the table if other results go their way.

Fingal Independent

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