Balbriggan 68 Arklow 20
Arklow had only travelled with 16 men and unfortunately by half time they had lost three due to injury and had to play the majority of the game with only 13 men and by the end had lost a further man.
Babriggan had won the away leg by the narrowest of margins when Sean Malone had scored at the end of the game so a close encounter was expected. Balbriggan made a good start and with coach O’Sullivan making his seasonal debut he was in fine running form. Early on he made a good break and was held illegally on the ground but scrum half McGrogan missed the penalty. Soon after O’Sullivan was away again when skipper Malone fielded a penalty kick and O’Sullivan took the ball up the field where he put Tommy O’Toole away on the wing and he got in under the posts. McGrogan added the conversion. It was O’Sullivan himself who got the next try after he followed up a good break by full back Mullen and was on hand to finish off the movement.
Next up was Mcgrogan when he picked from the base of the scrum and went on the blind side and he got in in the corner. At this stage Balbriggan appeared to be cruising but Arklow dug in and a good break by their full back created the space for their winger to get into the corner. Minutes later their outhalf added a drop goal. They then gave Balbriggan back the three points with a penalty for going off their feet.
Mullen again made a break he dummied an inside pass to Verdon but then sent O’Toole away for his second try which McGrogan converted.
At the start of the second half despite being so far behind and down to 13 Arklow battled bravely and kept Balbriggan out for a long period however the pressure was too much and a penalty under the post saw skipper Malone take a quick tip and slip a short pass to outhalf Healy who scored.
O’Toole then got his hat trick when O’Sullivan set him away down the wing. It wasn’t Balbriggan who could score on the wing and the Arklow full back left the defence in ribbons when he ran outside them twice to score two tries and put some gloss on a brave fight by the Arklow men.
There were further tries by Verdon and Staunton.
Whilst it was a good win the score did not reflect the effort that Arklow put in and all praise to them for competing to the end in the true spirit of the game.