Ardee Rugby Club returned to the summit of the Leinster League Division 3 on Sunday afternoon as they comfortably saw off Swords Rugby Club 26-5 at Townparks in Ardee, on a freezing cold afternoon on home ground.
The Ardee side had four different try scorers on the day – Ronan O’Brien Jnr, Kevin McKeever, Shane Lennon and Leigh Ross – while three out of four wasn’t bad for Ben O’Brien converted most of those scores to put the gloss on a bonus point win.
The task for O’Brien and his players was to bounce back from defeat in Westmanstown seven days earlier. Having led from the front all campaign, Ardee were left stunned by a 14-0 defeat against Garda RFC, a loss which saw the Townparks team leapfrogged at the top of the division.
On Sunday, they welcomed back a host of players who had missed last time out and in their last league outing for a month, they ensured their return to the summit. Remarkably, the match was the only game played in Leinster on Sunday with the weather putting paid to all but this game.
Expected snow didn’t materialise in Louth and Ardee – apart from the bracing coldness felt in the air – escaped unscathed. The ground held up and the game went on after an early morning pitch inspection.
Player-coach O’Brien showed his pace and power to go over for the opening try in the first half. After a spell of pressure, with Jason Monaghan getting a chance to run at the backs, Kevin McKeever powered through. Lennon burst through for the third try in the second half.
The fourth and final try was arguably the best of the bunch. McKeever found Ross with the pass and the flanker skipped past a number of Swords challenges before finding the line.
The win does not guarantee that Ardee will finish 2017 at the top of the third tier. Should Garda beat Athboy this Sunday, the Lucan-based team will climb above Ardee once again. But in a season where losses have been rare, the positive here was that Ardee showed their bounceback-ability against tricky opponents.