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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Greystones shackled by slow starts

Ulster Bank League: Nenagh Ormond 28 Greystones 19

Nenagh win their line-out against Greystones
Nenagh win their line-out against Greystones

There is a developing trend in the three Greystones performances in the Ulster Bank League this season of conceding early, allowing the opposition build up a commanding lead and mounting a spirited fight back only to come up short.

They allowed Armagh in the first game a 17-point head start after 15 minutes, conceded two soft tries to Corinthians at home last week and did the same on Saturday away to Nenagh Ormond who were 21 points clear without reply after 20 minutes before running out eventual winners by 28 points to 19.

Greystones started brightly enough and had much of the early pressure and territory showing none of the signs of conceding soft tries that had blighted their previous performances.

That all changed after just ten minutes when centre Jason Curran, a scrum half by trade pressed into playing the unfamiliar position of first centre due to Greystones chronic injury crisis, tried to bring wing Jack Keating into the game with a speculative looping pass that was easily picked off by the Nenagh defence for an intercept that would result in the ball touching down under the posts for seven points.

This stroke of good fortune emboldened Nenagh to lift the intensity of their attacking play and probe for gaps in the Greystones line and as has happened in the previous two games they penetrated twice in quick succession to secure two more converted tries building up a lead of 21 points after 20 minutes of play.

Facing an uphill battle Greystones dug in and took the game back to Nenagh.

Andy Roberts grabbed a try from close range following sustained forward pressure but in a day when little went the way of the visitors Andrew Kealy uncharacteristically skewed his conversion attempt wide.

As half-time approached Greystones piled on the pressure putting Nenagh on the back foot and almost manufactured a second score on the stroke of half time.

In a trademark move outhalf Killian Marmion place a cross field ball into the path of the on-running Padraig Geoghegan who would usually make light of such opportunities but was playing with a heavily strapped hand while recovering from a broken bone sustained playing GAA and was unable to control the ball and the chance was lost.

The fight back continued from the off at the start of the second half when quick feet form wing Matt O'Brien created space for a mini break from the half way line and he belied his youth to bring Marmion and Kealy into play for an interchange that saw Kealy score a wonderful try this time making no mistake with the conversion.

The momentum was broken against the run of play when Nenagh found space on the right wing to pick up a try bonus with their fourth of the afternoon before Bobby Clancy once again closed the gap when he burst through in typical fashion to bring the scores to 28-19.

Greystones laid siege on the Nenagh try line for a full fifteen minute spell at the end of the second half and looked sure to at least come away with a couple of bonus points by grabbing a fourth try and at least a losing bonus but on a day when little went their way it was not to be.

Twice they crossed the line only for the referee to adjudge the ball held up when first Oisin Lennon forced his way over and then Jack Keating crossed with two Nenagh defenders hanging off him.

Other chances were to go a begging with final ball knocked on and possibly the best chance, a long pass to the unopposed Geoghegan would have yielded a score on any other day had the normally prolific winger been fully fit and able to control the ball.

With three defeats from three Ulster Bank League fixtures there is little consolation to Greystones in knowing they have been a match for the opposition apart from the concession of those early scores and having to mount a fight back every week.

Coach Kevin Lewis has a big challenge ahead in maintaining the belief amongst the squad that the elusive first win is just one game away and will no doubt be looking toward the treatment room for some good news ahead of his team selection for the visit of Highfield this Saturday.

Greystones: Andrew Kealy (Capt), Jack Keating, Michael Kirk, Jason Curran, Padraig Geoghegan, Killian Marmion, Andy Roberts, Michael Doyle, Cormac O'Donoghue, Eoin Marmion, John Campbell, Oisin Lennon, Conor Pearse, Ben Tou, Bobby Clancy.Replacements: Robin O'Sullivan, Shane Mulvany, Michael Douglas, Matt O'Brien, David Baker

Scorers: Kealy (Try and two conversions), Clancy (try), Roberts (try).

Wicklow People

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