Ratoath 3 Balbriggan 19
Balbriggan travelled with a little trepidation as they have not garnered much success in recent times against their Meath neighbours. Having traded early penalties, Balbriggan thought they had the first try but Ratoath managed to hold them up over the line and survive the subsequent scrum. While Balbriggan were getting the better of the forward encounters, Ratoath managed to slow down the ball but trying it once too often they were caught blocking off and Kyle Healy slotted over the penalty.
Babriggan went in at half time 6-3 ahead.
From the kick off out half Murphy put a long kick into the corner, Ratoath were penalised for a high tackle but Balbriggan went to the corner instead of the easier option of three points. Ratoath survived the line out and ran the ball out only to go off their feet at the ruck leaving Healy with an easy three points.
Balbriggan attacked again from the kick off and set up a 20 metre rolling mall, with prop Paul cullen leading the way. Eventually Rataoth brought it down for Healy to add another three points and put Balbriggan more than a score ahead.
Twice the Balbriggan pack drove over the line and both Whelan and Davis thought they had the touchdown but in both instances the ref decided he hadn’t enough evidence of the grounding and Ratoath survived the subsequent scrums. Overall Balbriggan were getting on top and some good running by the backs probably should have yielded more. Tommy O’Toole in the centre made some good breaks and was well supported by Glen Healy.
Eventually Balbriggan got the try they were searching for. From a line out 5 metres out, Balbriggan mauled the ball in and No8 Glenn Malone popped the ball to younger brother “Elmo”, who had just come off the bench, and he dived over the bodies for the score in the corner. Healy converted the difficult conversion from the sideline.
Ratoath tried in the remaining minutes to get a score but resolute defence particularly from Murphy and skipper Hagan ensured that the line wasn’t breached.
A good win and also an opportunity for Balbriggan to blood some of their younger players. Andrew Miller did well in the centre, while Dylan Staunton and Anto Sweetman showed their speed when they came off the bench onto the wings. James Brady Byrne stepped into the back row for the last ten minutes. Great to see four new faces for the future.
S Mullen, D McGee, (D Staunton), G Healy, A Miller, S Keegan (A Sweetman), I Murphy, K Healy, P Cullen (J Brady Byrne), J Davis, C Brightwell, A Whelan, G Dennis, M Geraghty (S Malone), T Hagan, K Malone.