Balbriggan 15 New Ross 41
Balbriggan ran out of gas on Sunday in their league play off against New Ross. The final score flatters the winners but Balbriggan giving themselves a handicap of 26 points in the first half left themselves with a very tall mountain to climb. Just as well the video camera wasn’t there as the Monday video session on the first half would have left a lot of embarrassed faces including the coach. New Ross were gifted scores when the Balbriggan team made some very basic errors either in not clearing the ball or letting passes be intercepted. The first half was probably best forgotten and while New Ross deserved their lead it was certainly not by that number of points! New Ross had a very strong core to their team form 7&8 in the pack through 9, 10 & 12 in the backs. Balbriggan had to re-jig the line out with Connor Burke dropping out to the centre with Mark Browne taking on the open side role.
The Balbriggan team however were not down and out and came out determined to do better. Skipper Malone led from the front and took every opportunity to run forward. J Mullen in the centre also made good ground. A good kick by Coach Casey set Balbriggan up on the New ross line. A good line out steal and a dummy by Casey to the open side saw him put Sean Malone over in the corner for the first points. However New Ross opened the gap again when a clearance was tidied up and again Balbriggan were skinned on the outside. Balbriggan freshened up their line introducing O’Toole and Whelan. O’toole in particular took it up to New Ross at every opportunity. Again Balbriggan came pack and good up front tackling by Murphy and Mullen saw Connor Burke steal the ball and win the race to the line. New Ross were starting to tire and had lost a couple of their key players. From a five metre line out veteran prop Paddy Joyce smuggled over the line to get Balbriggan to 15. Balbriggan looked as if they were over for another score when Mullen broke through but he didn’t think he would get to the line and from the following ruck Balbriggan put the ball wide only to see a pass intercepted and New Ross winger to go the length of the pitch to open up the gap again. As the clock ran down Balbriggan peppered the New Ross line only to be held up over the line and then see New Ross get another break away try.
They certainly gave it their all none more that prop O’Reilly who quite literally crawled off the field and for such effort was the Balbriggan man of the match. The Malone brothers also had given everything. The team still have the Cup and the Jenkinson final to look forward and know that they have still a little more in the tank.
T Murphy Rooney, C Louden (M Browne), D Healy, J Mullen, T O’Toole, I Murphy, C Casey, P Joyce, J Davis, G O’Reilly (A Whelan), M Geraghty (L O’Toole) G Dennis, S Malone, C Burke, C Malone