Ardee Community went down to defeat against visitors St Marys of Drogheda at Townparks today, losing 12-5 in round two of the Junior League Division 2A.
Despite Jamie Ward’s try on the half time whistle getting Ardee back into what was an even enough encounter, a late St Marys try condemned the home side to defeat. After last week’s bumper win over Kells, this result brings Andy Robb’s juniors back down to earth ahead of next week’s visit of Dundalk Grammar School.
On a damp and dreary morning for rugby, there wasn’t much to separate the two sides in the first half. Luke Birch broke through before meeting strong resistance near the line while at the other end, Ardee required some strong tackling of their own.
When Ardee CS did get the ball, they were struggling to get it moving quick enough – too often electing to run infield when searching for the wingers appeared a more likely route forward. Sean Horan scored the game’s opening try after 15 minutes, before a routine conversion from Oscar King.
Shane Carpenter – fresh from three tries and a man-of-the-match performance against Kells eight days ago – was integral to much of Ardee’s thrust and drive going forward but they were dealt a blow in the first half when centre Michael Szostakawski was forced off the field after taking a knock to the head. Referee Mick Lennon insisted he had to leave the field.
The home side’s sole score of the game arrived just prior to half time. Excellent work from Jamie Durnin started the move and after Jack Matthews was held back, the ball was worked left and then right to Ward who showed some nifty footwork before going over.
The second was a non-event for the most part but there’s little doubt Ardee’s youngsters will be told not to give too much respect to their next opponents. Too often, they stood off St Marys, lacking the requisite aggression required at times. With half an hour played, King added to his conversion with a try, racing through and over in the right corner. It wasn’t converted and that was that.
A couple of big scrums came Ardee’s way in the dying moments as they chased at most a draw game, but they couldn’t take advantage. A learning curve for the young team.
ARDEE CS: Jamie Ward, Evan McSwiney, Shane Carpenter, Michael Szostakawski, Sean Reynolds, Conor McNally, Jamie Durnin, Conall McCague, Shaun Quinn, Josh Clarke Durnin, Luke Birch, Shane Halpenny, Edward Hoey, AJ Finlay, Jack Matthews.
Replacement: Kyle Whelan for Michael Szostakawski
REFEREE: Mick Lennon
Photo Credit: Liam Mullane