Balbriggan go top of their Group with a 3 point win over Rataoth in Balbriggan on Friday night. Both teams started the game evenly matched with the game to-ing and fr-oing in midfield. Early pressure from Rataoth was relieved by scrum half Kyle Healy with a good relieving kick. From the ensuing line out Balbriggan stole the line out and the ball was run across the backs with Paul Quinn, more familiar in the 6 jersey, punching up through the middle. Balbriggan continued the pressure but a hurried pass gave a scrum to Ratoath to relieve the pressure. The match continued in this vein with Balbriggan gaining good ground but for the final pass not going to hand. On the 25 minute mark No 8 O’Toole made a good break from the halfway line and with Malone on his shoulder they took it up to within 5 metres of the Ratoath line. The pressure resulted in a Balbriggan penalty but Healy’s kick was just short. Ratoath attacked from the drop out and instead of keeping the ball in hand kicked ahead, out half Phelan returned the kick with interest and after a bit of aerial ping pong the fast running Balbriggan backs put the Ratoath full back under pressure. Quinn ran hard at the backs and split the line for the opening try.
Balbriggan lost Healy to a yellow card for what was determined an illegal tackle though a similar tackle against Phelan in the same play went unpunished. Ratoath went to the corner rather than trying for goal, Balbriggan won the ensuing line out and veteran prop Paddy Joyce set up a ruck, a kick and chase by Balbriggan and some good interplay between Tom Hagan, Quinn and Bateman, which saw Quinn get over for his second try. 10- 0 to Balbriggan at the break.
At the start of the second half Balbriggan were put under pressure but Ratoath were unable to convert. Balbriggan had a good deal of possession but are going to have to work on handling. A good run by O’Toole should have put the winger McKenna away but he was tackled into touch. Billy Phelan kept Ratoath pinned back with good kicking until he had to go off injured. In the last 10 minutes Ratoath had a lot of possession but their players kept running into the Balbriggan defence which held fast until the 7th minute of injury time, when a missed tackle in the centre let Ratoath in under the posts for a consolation try that was converted. Final score 10-7
Overall a strong display by a young Balbriggan team still gaining experience.
Smyth, McKenna, O’Sullivan, Quinn, Bateman, Phelan, Healy, Joyce, Davis, Louden, Whelan, Kopca, (Geragthy), Malone, Hagan, O’Toole