Defeat for Seapoint Ist XV to Monkstown
Our involvement in the battle for league honours came to an end as we fell the wrong side of a 12-22 defeat to a formidable Monkstown side. The title will now be decided on the weekend of 26th February when either Bective Rangers (who are in the box seat) or Monkstown will go on to represent Leinster in the All Ireland League Promotion Play-Offs.
On a bright and windy day (unusually for Kilbogget Park a cross wind prevailing) the early exchanges were even enough with neither side threatening the 22s but on 10 minutes Monkstown did manage to gain entry into the Seapoint “red zone” and took full advantage, with some quick hands through their backline securing a try out wide, the conversion proving too difficult. The next 15 minutes saw the game return to the earlier pattern but we unfortunately lost the talismanic Cian Cunningham to injury. Shortly after a Monkstown penalty from the halfway looked to have gone dead in the corner but the referee overruled the touch judge with the subsequent lineout maul seeing Monkstown get their second try, taking the extras on this occasion to take a 0-12 lead.
While neither side could be said to be dominating we were certainly finding it more challenging to put Monkstown under serious defensive stress. We did manage to get an opportunity in their 22 as halftime approached but a collapsed scrum resulted in an injury to Harry Byrne that saw the game delayed for some time. While Harry did have to go to hospital for further examination I’m happy to report that he was given the all clear, a huge relief to us all.
When the game did resume, having moved to the back pitch, we did manage to put Monkstown under some serious pressure, our Captain, Brian Lyons, crashing over following some great continuity between backs and forwards. Darragh Mullins slotted the conversion with the half being brought to a close shortly after and their was a sense among our supporters that this game was there for the taking.
From the restart that optimism was substantiated as we dominated territory and possession for most of the third quarter, however the visitors defence was stoic and we were denied a couple of scores due to some fine last ditch defence. On 60 minutes Monkstown made a rare foray into our half with a Marty Kerr tackle being deemed illegal and seeing us reduced to 14 men. The Monkstown 10 (as he did on our visit to Sydney Parade) made no mistake from 40m to stretch the lead to 7-15.
This score reenergised the visibly tiring visitors and despite our best efforts we conceded what was the killer blow on 70 minutes, a try built by their marauding pack that was converted for the deficit to increase to 7-22. Despite this setback our heads didn’t drop with our continuing pressure eventually leading to a yellow card for the Monkstown replacement prop, the reduced numbers enabling us to take advantage for Dave O’Reilly to grab the final score of the game.
While the result is a disappointing one the 20 players involved showed great pride and resilience in the face of formidable opposition. We are on the road to Gorey next weekend to pick up the fixture that was postponed in January – while we aren’t in the race for the title we are intent on closing out the season on a positive footing with the centenary Metropolitan Cup campaign still to come