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Monday 17 December 2018

Rathdrum claim first win

Metro League Division 4: Rathdrum RFC 20 Stillorgan RFC 10

Rathdrum attack the Stillorgan line at the Ivy Leaf
Rathdrum attack the Stillorgan line at the Ivy Leaf

Metro League Division 4

After a disappointing start to their 2018/19 league campaign, Rathdrum registered their first win of the season by beating Stillorgan at the Ivy Leaf.

With three last minute defeats to UCD, Malahide and St. Marys sandwiched with a resounding loss to a strong Old Wesley side, this was a much needed win and one that the Rathdrum men hope to kick start their season.

It was Stillorgan who started stronger and scored the first points of the day from a well struck penalty from their out-half inside 10 minutes but Rathdrum were back on level terms within 5 minutes with Conor Parsons successful with his first kick of the day.

In a very stop start game, it was the Rathdrum pack that laid the foundation for this win. A strong set-piece helped Rathdrum gain field position and from a line-out in the opposition 22 that Rathdrum scored their opening try. Rathdrum got clean ball from the line-out to set up a maul 10 metres out and it was the openside flanker Ryan Carter who went over near the corner to score Rathdrum first try and his fifth of the season. Parsons converted to leave the score 10-3 in Rathdrum's favour.

Rathdrum will be disappointed they didn't add to their try tally in the first half after a period of sustained pressure but they did register another Parsons penalty.

With the score at 13-3 with 10 minutes to half-time, Stillorgan scored the try of the day with their outside centre running a lovely line off their out-half and he rounded a couple of Rathdrum defenders to score unopposed under the posts. The try was converted to leave the score 13-10 to the home side.

No further scores were added before halftime.

Rathdrum started the second half higher energy and were straight on the attack. With Ronan Smith now on the pitch after an unfortunate injury to Noel Cross, the forwards carried well with strong runs from Smith, Steven Fennell and man of the match Danny Tuke with back rows Danny Dowling, Pat O'Neill and Carter also to the fore.

Rathdrum's second try came from a constant pressure from the Rathdrum forwards who got themselves deep in to the scoring territory with second row partners Burch and Binnions getting through a large amount of work. Parsons picked from a ruck close to the line and found a gap and was tackled short of the line but Steven Dowling was on hand to take the offload and score close to the posts. Parsons converted and the home side led 20-10.

This gave the Wicklow men some breathing room and the remaining 25 minutes of the game were dominated with penalties and defence and neither team registered a further score. Rathdrum's try line was never really threatened with the centre partnership of Ciaran Phelan and Denis Heffernan improving with every game and veteran Ian Snell a safe pair of hands at full back.

Rathdrum now look forward to their final 2 games of 2018 at home to Naas and UCD. With some squad members returning from injury, they will hope to build on their win and look to a successful 2019.

Rathdrum: Danny Tuke, Noel Cross, Steven Fennell, Matt Binnions (c), Shane Burch, Pat O'Neill, Ryan Carter, Danny Dowling, Steven Dowling, Conor Parsons, Brian Hanlon, Ciaran Phelan, Denis Heffernan, Liam De Hora, Ian Snell Subs: Ronan Smith, Mark Drought, Kevin Sheehan, Brian Burke, Shane Byrne, Keith Merry.

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