Classy Kerbey puts boot into Tullamore as Boyne retain provincial title
A POWERFUL second-half display saw Boyne retain the Provincial Towns Cup with a repeat of last year's final win over a brave Tullamore side at an exemplary, very well-prepared Naas venue yesterday.
Boyne were forced to pull out all the stops to win by 32-25 but a superb defensive performance in the second half was enough for them to claim the spoils of victory.
Tullamore were marginally the better side in the first half and they made a dream start as they stormed into a 10-0 lead with Niall Geraghty kicking a penalty and converting Cathal Feighery's try.
After this, Boyne came more into it and a push-over try from Paddy Cooney after intensive pressure halved the deficit. Outstanding full-back Niall Kerbey was wide with the difficult conversion.
After this both kickers encountered problems with both Niall Geraghty and Kerbey wide with kickable penalties. Kerbey found the range with a 21st-minute kick before Ivor Scully crashed over for a try after poor Boyne defence. Geraghty was again wide with the conversion.
Boyne became more prominent as the half wore on and a try by Adam Sherrard converted by Kerbey, made it 15-15 with time ticking away in the half. Tullamore regained the advantage four minutes from the interval with the try of the game when Aaron Deverall -- just back on the field after being sin binned -- crashed over. Unfortunately for them, Geraghty's kick was wide and this meant that they went in at the break holding a 20-15 lead.
If the first half was a wide open affair, the rugby increased in intensity in the second half. Two tries in the opening seven minutes from Niall Kerbey and scrum half, Craig McGrath saw Boyne capture the initiative.
After this the exchanges were never less than furious and two poorly struck penalties by Boyne kept them in Tullamore's sights.
With Boyne defending magnificently, Tullamore struggled to threaten their line and the match was effectively wrapped up six minutes from time when Bevan Duffy intercepted a wayward pass and ran half the pitch to cross under the posts. Kerbey didn't miss the conversion to put Boyne 32-20 ahead.
Ferocious forward pressure saw Cathal Feighery then get over for Tullamore in injury time.
BOYNE -- N Kerbey; C McGann, B Duffy, H Kennedy, B Howell (A Sherrard 28); B Collins, C McGrath; E Collins, I O'Reilly, N Vorster, P Muldowney, C Walsh, P Cooney (J McKevitt 59), B Muldowney, C Duffy (J Kinsella 59).
TULLAMORE -- N Geraghty; R Deverall, K Scally, I Scully, M Whelan (I Dunne 18); A Deverall, R Hughes; A Hanley, R Connor, D Milne (C Finnerty 24), D Hanlon, I Deverall, A Bracken (R Scally 50), C Feighery, E Brady.
Ref -- B McNeice.