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Jenkinson Cup Final Preview: Can Ardee gain revenge?

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The Ardee RFC team that lost to Balbriggan in the 2016 Jenkinson Cup final. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

This Saturday, Ardee Rugby Club travel to Shamrock Lodge in Drogheda – home of Boyne RFC – for the Jenkinson Cup final against familiar foes Balbriggan RFC. Can Ardee go one further than last year and avenge their final loss from 12 months ago? We’ll be there to find out – but first, check out our preview.

Can Ardee gain revenge for last year’s final defeat?

This year’s final has more than a sense of déjà vu about it and Saturday’s showpiece takes on extra significance on the back of last year’s final clash. Then, Ardee and Balbriggan were again the two teams left to compete for the Jenkinson Cup, again at Shamrock Lodge in Drogheda, but the men from Fingal ran out narrow victors 19-15. That day, Ardee had a strong second half show to thank for keeping Balbriggan honest. Going in 0-14 down at the break, they impressed to only lose by four points in the end.

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To hammer home quite how close Ardee had come, they were doing all the pushing when the final whistle blew. The last play of the game was an Ardee lineout five metres from the line. It wasn’t to be that day – despite two tries from James McSwiney and Kevin McKeever and a penalty and conversion from Ben O’Brien. Can they go one better this time around?

The two teams meet again

Any regular followers of Ardee Rugby Club will know that Balbriggan RFC are familiar foes for the Townparks side. Already in 2016/17, the sides have met four times already this campaign – across the Provincial Towns Cup, McGee Cup and the Leinster League Division 2B.

So far, it’s two wins each but the game on Sunday will decide which club holds the end-of-season bragging rights. Across the four games this term, Balbriggan lead with an aggregate score of 119-98. Ronan O’Brien Jnr’s side won’t mind if they still trail on that front by 8pm on Saturday evening. Any kind of victory will be sweet – and enough to bring the Jenkinson Cup back to Ardee.

Ardee RFC vs Balbriggan RFC – Head to Head in 2016/17

  • Leinster League Div 2B – Balbriggan 15 Ardee RFC 30
  • McGee Cup – Ardee RFC 22 Balbriggan 12
  • Leinster League Div 2B – Balrbiggan 65 Ardee RFC 24
  • Provicial Towns Seconds Cup SF – Ardee RFC 22 Balbriggan 27

The Road To The Final

How Ardee Got There

Group 1

Ardee RFC 40 Swords 10 (Townparks)

Ardee eased into the campaign on home soil as they played out a comfortable 30 point win over Swords, smoothing their passage into the latter stages of the cup competition.

Ardee RFC 29 Ratoath 15 (Townparks)

A late flurry of scoring handed Ardee the win in a tough battle under the Friday night lights. This was the win that ensured Ardee progress to the semi final stage of the Jenkinson Cup.

Semi-Final

Ardee RFC 22 Dundalk 17 (Townparks)

Just last Friday, the Townparks men secured their place in a second successive Jenkinson Cup final against Balbriggan by seeing off Dundalk 2nds in a local derby. A brace of tries from Cathal Bradley, one from Conor Hennessy and the boot of Ben O’Brien edged the Dundalk men out of contention.

How Balbriggan Got There

Balbriggan reached Saturday’s final courtesy of North Meath (25-6) and Navan (39-10) in Group 3, before they beat Athboy RFC 27-17 in the semi-final.

In Pictures –  Ardee RFC vs Balbriggan RFC

Cathal Bradey is challenged as Ardee tackled Balbriggan in the Provincial Towns Seconds Cup earlier this month.
Barry Finnegan was a try scorer that day – but Ardee fell to defeat.
In January, Ardee RFC earned a McGee Cup over Balbriggan.

Ardee RFC’s James McSwiney looks to ride a Balbriggan challenge.

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