Cill Dara Rugby Club’s remarkable home form in Leinster League Division 1A continued this weekend when they posted a 15-9 win over second-placed Dundalk.
The Kildare club are now unbeaten at home this season and their club grounds may soon be christened fortress Beech Park.
Leinster League Division 1A
Cill Dara: 15
It was an impressive and crucial league win by Cill Dara against a Dundalk team which many junior rugby observers view as favourites to win the Provincial Towns Cup this year
Playing against the wind in the opening half, Cill Dara took a while to settle. Early Dundalk pressure yielded a penalty chance and the visitors took full advantage, converting the kick to lead 3-0 after 5 minutes.
Cill Dara responded quickly and a successful Jack Ryan penalty kick drew the teams level at 3-3 before a second Dundalk penalty kick regained their 3 point advantage.
With the play see-sawing between the try-lines during this first quarter, both teams struggled to gain some momentum.
The breakthrough that the home supporters sought came in the 26th minute when Cill Dara upset a Dundalk put-in at their scrum, turning over possession. With Dundalk disorganised, some fancy footwork by Cill Dara’s rampaging centre, Jake Holland, created the space he needed to score close to the touchline. Ryan missed the conversion but Cill Dara now led 8-6.
Dundalk kicked their third penalty just on the 40th minute to give them a one point lead at the break but they must have been mindful that they now had to play against the inclement elements and reinvigorated Cill Dara.
The second half was disjointed at times which is not surprising as the pressure on both teams was huge. A win or loss would have a defining influence on their seasons.
For Dundalk, a win was required to keep up some slim hope of catching the run-away league leaders, Wanderers, whereas every point gained by Cill Dara could stave off a relegation battle later in the season. And it was Holland who struck again to ease those worries.
In the 61st minute, Cill Dara were awarded a scrum on the Dundalk 22m line. Some neat interplay by the backs gave Holland the opportunity to score his second try which Ryan this time superbly converted. Cill Dara led 15-9 with under 20 minutes left to play.
A converted try would still have given the Louth club a win but they were clearly rattled by a Cill Dara team playing with plenty of confidence.
The late sin-binning of a Dundalk player sealed his team’s fate, and probably their league-winning aspirations, as Cill Dara recorded their fifth win of the league campaign, moving up the table into third place as a result.
Match winning hero Jake Holland aside, it is difficult to pick one outstanding player from what was a brilliant collective performance by Dara.
Cill Dara now travel to Coolmine next Saturday, who are on the same points (21) and have the same score difference as Cill Dara.
Another massive game for Cill Dara. All support welcome.
CILL DARA: 1. Jimmy Murphy, 2. Ger Moore, 3. Conor McCormack, 4. Billy O’Shea, 5. Shane McNamara, 6. Darragh Kennedy, 7. Cormac Corcoran, 8. Damian Broughall, 9. Barry Waters, 10. Jack Ryan, 11. Paudie Wall, 12. Jake Holland, 13. Miles Medlicott, 14. Tom Cleary, 15. Paddy Ryan.