Dundalk 2nds 39 v 12 Suttonians 2nds

Leinster League J2

Dundalk 2nds beat Suttonians 2nds 39-12 in the Leinster League on Saturday last.  After a wobble in some of the pre Christmas games this comprehensive performance should put Dundalk’s title hopes back on track.  In a much changed Suttonians side from the previous encounter, Dundalk met a side with greater experience.  Dundalk too had a number of changes in personnel with Stephen McGee at full back, Robert Williams at 10 and Gerard Scully in the centre. Opening well Suttonians had early control of the ball but some unforced errors and organised play from Dundalk gave an early indication that this Suttonians side could be gotten to.  Dundalk had trained well over the Christmas break and looked keener and leaner than the opposition.  In the early exchanges Chris O’Hanlon stamped his mark on the line out and left Suttonians in no doubt that both he and his second row partner Robin McGee would have to be contended with.  Round the park both second rows, along with Ciaran Lennon and Tiernan Gonnelly were tackling with great effect.  The Dundalk backs too were firing on all cylinders, with a strong line up it was clear the opportunities would come from Dundalk.  Robert Williams was excellent while the experience of Stephen McGee at full back gave confidence throughout the team.  Chris McGeady and Gerard Scully in the centre insured the defensive line and Robbie Shields and Rory O’Hagan on the wing finished off an impressive back line, and it wasn’t long before they had an opportunity.  The forwards secured good clean ball from a ruck and Simon Byrne at scrum half fed Robert Williams who made a break from the 10 position with great support.  Dundalk got the ball to Rory O’Hagan who gained almost 20 metres before offloading the ball with a magnificent inside pass to put Gerard Scully through for Dundalk’s first try.  Suttonians looked like they were keen on the game but really looked like a side that would not be capable of, or fit enough, to contain an eager Dundalk side.  An attack from Ciaran Lennon saw him almost over the line.  The ball was retained and passed to Robbie Williams who found Robbie Shields on his shoulder who almost crossed over again. However, Suttonians had strayed offside and a penalty was awarded to Dundalk.  Suttonians did reply to the Dundalk try and after 29 minutes their centre broke through and scored for the home side.  By now John McGahon and Tiernan Gonnelly were having a strong influence on the game and were getting round the park with good effect. Stephen McGee’s abilities shone at this level and he looked very comfortable with the ball in hand while having the additional assurance of Rory O’Hagan on his outside.  At 36 minutes beautifully taken ball by the pack was passed by Simon Byrne to Robert Williams, Williams found Rory O’Hagan bursting through at pace to open up the Suttonians defences.  With Stephen McGee and Robert Shields running in support O’Hagan unselfishly popped the ball to Stephen McGee who cruised over the line for a try with Robbie Shields on his shoulder in support.  Score 13-7. The forwards were soon to get on the score sheet when Stephen Martin rucked a ball loose and went over to score a good individual try.  Prop Kieran McCabe was starting to punch holes in the Suttonians defence and gained good ground to set up several attacking positions.  Chris O’Hanlon too was making his presence felt, and along with the other forwards they mauled their way over for another try, Sean Arrowsmith being credited with grounding the ball.  In an unexpected break, and against the run of play, a misunderstanding in the Dundalk centres allowed a gap for Suttonians to get through and score.  Dundalk were now exploring opportunities from every angle, a chip through from Robbie Williams was judged to have been knocked on over the line by Dan O’Connell and Aaron Kernan’s grounding of the ball was judged to be from a forward pass. It wasn’t long however before Kernan was on the scoreboard with a well taken try.  In the dying moments a bone crunching tackle from Chris O’Hanlon caused the Suttonians to spill the ball. O’Hanlon was quick to seize the ball, popped it off to Simon Byrne to cross the line.  The game finished up 39-12 to Dundalk;  a good solid performance and with the personnel now available to the seconds they should continue to perform and provide some very entertaining rugby.

Team: 1 Sean Arrowsmith, 2 Laurence Steen, 3 Kieran McCabe, 4 Robin McGee, 5 Chris O’Hanlon, 6 John McGahon, 7 Ciaran Lennon, 8 Tiernan Gonnelly, 9 Simon Byrne, 10 Robert Williams, 11 Rory O’Hagan, 12 Chris McGeady, 13 Gerard Scully, 14 Robert Shields, 15 Stephen McGee.

Replacements: Aaron Kernan, Matt Raftis, Stephen Martin, Dan O’Connell.

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