Super Greystones RFC say definitely not 2B as they secure promotion to AIL Division 2A
Danny Kenny’s defeated Galway Corinthians at a packed Dr. Hickey Park
Greystones are deserved AIL 2B champions after a narrow 24-19 win over their nearest challengers, Galway Corinthians, in front of a large crowd at Dr Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Wicklow club have won 15 out of 16 league games this season, and have secured the title and promotion to 2A with two games to spare.
It was a cagey affair to start with, both sides taking their time to get going in the match. It was thirteen minutes in before Ferdia Kenny opened the scoring for the hosts. David Baker took the ball out of a ruck and gave it to Danny Kenny.
The second row set Kenny up with a nice pass before the winger found a gap in the defence and broke through to go over under the posts. Killian Marmion was left with a simple conversion, making no mistake in adding the extras.
’Stones scored another try three minutes later. Rob Byrne went short with his line-out five metres out from the line. Kenny received it and gave it straight back to Byrne, who dived over in the corner, earning a big reaction from the home crowd. Marmion made it 14-0 with a brilliant kick, and the home side were flying.
Marmion further extended his team’s advantage in the 25th minute. His side were awarded a penalty out wide. The out-half opted to kick for goal, and he did well to put his team an impressive 17 points up and threatening to get out of sight.
Greystones had a third try 10 minutes before the break. Marmion played a short pass to Con Callan, who in turn gave it on to Kenny.
The player-coach beat two defenders and was able to jog over the line before putting the ball down in the corner.
Marmion was left with a hard conversion, but he split the posts with his kick and his team led by 24 points, with one hand now seemingly on the league trophy.
However, in the six minutes leading up to half-time, the visitors came back into it. Max Holmes threw a line-out in from inside the 22. Corinthians attempted to maul over, but were making very little ground, hastening Holmes into taking the decision to bring the ball out of the maul and make his way through a gap to the try line. Logan Allen could not add the extra two points on offer, putting his kick wide of the post.
Things were to get more anxious for Greystones just before the break.
With the clock in the red, Corinthians scored another try. Evan Kenny passed to Michael O’Reilly high up the pitch.
The winger played it on to Harry Rogers, who got past the last defender and went over under the posts.
Allen scored his conversion this time, sending the teams into half-time with Greystones 24-12 up, but Galway had all the momentum going into the second half and the destiny of the league title was still very much up for grabs.
The game turned cagey again in the second 40 minutes, with the hosts slowing down the game where possible. Chances were at a premium for the first 20 minutes of the half in particular, neither side really looking like scoring in that time.
With 17 minutes left in the game, ’Stones almost scored a try, which would have been huge in the context of where the league title was headed in two weeks’ time.
Callan and Matt O’Brien made their way from their own half to the 22, passing the ball to each other as they went up the pitch. Callan gave a pass to Kenny in a dangerous position, but the winger was tackled, and the chance fizzled out.
In the last play of the match, the visitors secured the losing bonus point with a consolation try.
O’Reilly received the ball in an attacking position. He found a gap and went for it, diving over in the corner to ensure his team did not go home empty-handed. Allen added the extras from a difficult position before the final whistle was blown - meaning Greystones would run out winners by a scoreline of 24-19 and cue the celebrations!
The win puts Greystones 12 points clear of Galway with two games to go, crowning the Wicklow club AIL 2B champions.
Corinthians are still in with a chance of winning promotion through the play-offs, which they have now qualified for and will play in no matter what happens in the remainder of the season.
“Job done, essentially,” said Greystones player/coach Danny Kenny after the match.
“We knew the task at hand. We’ve been on a loss two weeks ago, and then bouncing back from that was huge. We went with a team that was going to be physically imposing and the lads stepped up and did their job.
“First half was really good. Second half we let them back into the game a small bit, gave them some easy points but good resilience, good pride in the shirt,” he added.
Greystones are back in action on Saturday as they play Dungannon away from home. Kick off at Stevenson Park is at 2:30. Galway return to the pitch on Friday as they host fellow Galway club Galwegians. Kick-off at Corinthian Park is at 7.30pm.
The Hungry Monk Man of the Match was Conor McAleer.
Greystones RFC: 15. Ross Nicoll,14. Ferdia Kenny, 13. Con Callan, 12. Rob Connolly, 11. Andrew Lynch, 10. Killian Marmion, 9. David Baker, 1. Iva Takatai, 2. Rob Byrne, 3. Conor Pearse, 4. Jack Dooley, 5. Danny Kenny, 6. Ken Murphy, 7. Conor McAleer, 8. Michael Doyle. Replacements: 16. Michael Douglas, 17. Ben Diaper, 18. Ronan Mannion, 19. Adam Benson, 20. Matt O’Brien.
Galway Corinthians: 15. Harry Rogers, 14. Michael O’Reilly, 13. Adam Madden, 12. Tom Waters, 11. Finn McNulty, 10. Logan Allen 9. Evan Kenny, 1. Patrick Fahey, 2. Max Holmes, 3. Raymond Dufficy, 4. Gareth Kilkelly, 5. John Forde, 6. Joe Gannon, 7. John Claffey, 8. Mark Boyle. Replacements: 16. Jack Noone, 17. Caolan Fitz-Henry, 18. Grellan Murray, 19. Malachy Joe Gavin, 20. Peter Rainsford.
Referee: Shane Touhy