Ardee Rugby Club fell to their first defeat of the Leinster League Division 3 season on Sunday as the Townspark outfit suffered a 0-14 loss to Garda RFC in Westmanstown.
Two converted second half tries condemned Ardee a first loss in six matches, ending their 100% record for the campaign in the process. Having lead the division from the start of the season, the Gardai’s win sees them leapfrog Ronan O’Brien Jnr’s side into first place in the six-team league.
Missing a number of key players including Keith Halpenny, Cathal Bradley and Shane Lennon, Ardee struggled to replicate their fine form thus far in 2017/18. They must now host Swords this coming Sunday in what will be a tricky last fixture before the Christmas break. Bouncing back immediately will be the objective.
In what was always likely to be a tight affair, the defences were on top in a scoreless first half. It took full back Darragh Hughes to break through shortly after the second half restart. Fly half Dan McGoggin converted.
Rather than having an endure an Ardee push for the line however, it was Garda that hammered the Ardee line looking to put the game beyond doubt. Their efforts were rewarded when captain Lorcan Murphy went over after an Ardee scrum on their own five metre line. The hosts pushed back and Murphy picked up from the tail, before advancing and going over.
As he did earlier in the half, McGoggin converted and Alfie Acheson’s side were home and dry. Ardee RFC won the first game of the season between the sides back in September, a 26-19 victory at Townspark. A strong first half display helped Ardee pick up the win with Conor Reilly (2), James Conlon and Stephen Harmon scoring the tries on the day.