Our 1st XV continued their impressive start to the season with a pulsating last-minute 33-28 bonus-point win over Bective Rangers @ Kilbogget Park on Saturday.
On a beautiful sunny day the big crowd were treated to a humdinger of a game that saw the lead change hands several times before the game came to an epic crescendo at the death.
The early exchanges saw Bective dominate even though they faced into a wind playing into the clubhouse. Their very physical forwards were proving hard to contain and within 10 minutes we conceded the first score as a cross-kick from a penalty advantage saw Bective dot down in the corner, the conversion attempt proving too difficult.
Not for the first time this season we were slow to come out of the blocks but from the restart we did build some pressure which presented an offside penalty opportunity that Darragh Mullins duly slotted to cut the deficit to 3-5.
Straight away Bective were on the front foot with Seapoint conceding a breakdown penalty on the 22 which the Bective 10 made no mistake with for a 3-8 lead on 15 mins.
Bective maintained dominance for the next 15 mins with Seapoint being further disrupted with the early departures of Cian Tallon (No. 9) & Mark McCoy (No. 5), Gareth Hughes & Liam Forster seeing earlier action than they would have expected. Despite this the defence remained resilient and secured turnovers and penalties at critical moments. As we entered the final minutes of the half Seapoint gained field position deep in the opposition half, securing a lineout and driving Bective backwards with an efficient maul. When the ball did emerge some slick hands from the back line saw wing James Farrell finish in the right corner, unfortunately the difficult conversion effort came off the post to see the sides go level with a couple of minutes to the break.
The Bective support were getting uneasy as their dominance wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard. The players sensed this and from the restart Bective upped the ante, winning the kick-off and effecting some powerful carries that had Seapoint scrambling to contain them. Ultimately the pressure was too much and Bective deservedly re-took the lead with a try under the posts that was converted with ease as the halftime whistle went.
The 8-15 deficit was going to be difficult to recover as Seapoint would face into a healthy wind in the second half, but this group have continually demonstrated their resolve over the past few weeks.
Seapoint got off to a solid start on the resumption but despite plenty of territory & possession there was no joy until the 50th minute when a lineout turnover saw Cian Cunningham charge toward the Bective 22 before a high tackle took him down. Mullins accepted the penalty chance and the lead was reduced 11-15. Seapoint started to play with more freedom from this point, raising the pace of the game which didn’t seem to suit the visitors. On 55 mins some scintillating inter-play from Forster & Eoghan O’Reilly had Bective reeling, with Cunningham being the beneficiary of some speedy recycling to charge over to see us take a narrow (16-15) lead for the first time.
We didn’t hold that advantage for long as the Bective forwards got the upper hand from the restart. As they punched holes around the fringes space became available out wide which they duly exploited for their 3rd try. A fantastic touch line conversion saw them nose back 16-22 in front. Seapoint weren’t in the mood for capitulating and following the Water Break established themselves deep in the Bective 22. A line-out maul did the initial damage before a number of big carries opened the door for Zac Jungmann to pounce, a try that on this occasion was successfully converted by Mullins for a 23-22 lead.
Again the lead was short lived as Seapoint almost immediately conceded a questionable penalty that the Bective 10 duly landed for a 23-25 lead with 15 mins left to play. The tension around Kilbogget Park was palpable as Seapoint yet again started to stretch the Bective rearguard. On 70 mins a high tackle by the Bective 10 saw him sent to the bin with Mullins making no mistake from the ensuing penalty to see us back in the box seat yet again at 26-25.
The final minutes of the game will live long in the memory as despite an heroic defensive effort from Seapoint a 30m penalty was conceded at the breakdown which the returned Bective 10 cooly slotted for what seemed to be the winning score. With the referee indicating there was less than 2 minutes left Seapoint kicked-off knowing that they had to win back possession immediately, and they duly did. Patiently we retained the ball hoping that Bective indiscipline would present us with with one more opportunity. And so it transpired as a high tackle gave Darragh Mullins the chance to win the game from 30m to the left of the posts. The conditions & the pressure of the situation made this no easy task with his strike initially looking that it would sneak past the left-hand post. Unfortunately the wind had different ideas as the ball ricocheted off the post to the gasps of the crowd, just as we thought that was curtains for Seapoint the ball bounced over the heads of the Bective defenders and the on-rushing Eoghan O’Reilly gathered it and showed great strength to burst over the line to the elation of the Seapoint support. Kilbogget Park was hopping as Mullins added the extras to see us grab an unlikely 33-28 try bonus point win and continue our unbeaten run in Season 21/22.
This was an absolute epic and credit goes to both sides for serving up such a treat. We now enjoy a well deserved break before our next game in Ashbourne on Saturday, 9th October???
15 E. Weaver 14 J. Farrell 13 C. Buckley 12 M. McKenna 11 E. O’Reilly 10 D. Mullins 9 C. Tallon 8 Z. Jungmann (Capt.) 7 D. Montayne 6 S. Grannell 5 A. Macaulay 4. M. McCoy 3 E. Dalton 2 C. Cunningham 1 B. Lyons
Reps: 16 H. Byrne 17 D. Draper 18 L. Forster 19 G. Hughes 20 C. Hurley