Two and three tries in each half helped Ardee Rugby Club to a comfortable 29-3 win over Clane RFC on Sunday afternoon – in a result that leaves the Townspark team four points clear at the top of Leinster League Division 3 with just four rounds played.
The win sees Ardee RFC maintain their 100% record in league competition so far this year with a fourth win. The last two Sundays have seen Ardee welcome winless Athboy and Clane to town and neither side ever looked like putting their first points of the season on the board against a strong looking home outfit.
First half tries from Kevin McKeever and Jason Monaghan set Ardee on their way, coming after Clane took an early lead via a penalty. In the second half, Monaghan went over again and Stephen Harmon and Keith Halpenny also scored tries while Ben O’Brien kicked four points after the break also.
Clane lead for just three minutes after a bright start in which they enjoyed good territory. 17 minutes were in the clock when McKeever got over the line after Ronan O’Brien and Aaron Keely went close. Ben O’Brien’s clever ball over the top set up the initial chance. The scrum half couldn’t convert his conversion opportunity however.
With half an hour played, Ardee extended their lead with a superb move from right to left. After a good scrum in the corner, O’Brien found Keith Halpenny who passed to Conor Reilly. To his left was flying winger Monaghan who checked past the last defender and reached the line. Again however, O’Brien couldn’t add to the score with his kick.
The visitors were reduced to 13 men on the field by the break as the referee brandished two yellow cards to their inside centre and flanker. The home side were boosted as Ronan O’Brien, who looked to have suffered a serious looking knee injury in the first half, managed to play out the full 80 minutes.
After the break, Monaghan, Harmon and Keith Halpenny added tries as the Ardee turned their dominance into scores. Ben O’Brien converted two of the three second half efforts.
Next up for Ardee RFC is a trip to Dardistown to face RCSI in two weeks time. The Surgeons have had a mixed start to life in Division 3 this year, beating Clane before losing out to Swords on Matchday Two.
ARDEE RFC: Cillian O’Neill, Ciaran McCormack, Derek Martin, James Daly, Stephen Harmon, Kevin McKeever, Leigh Ross, James Conlon, Ben O’Brien, Keith Halpenny, Jason Monaghan, Ronan O’Brien, Conor Reilly, Cathal Bradley, Aaron Keeley.