Skerries kick off season in style
Skerries RFC’s first XV were cheered on to the field for their first league of the season against Tullamore on Saturday by a strong crowd still grinning from the Irish heroics of the morning.
The team was led onto the field by newly appointed captain Joe Glennon, the third generation of the Glennon family to have gained the honour of club captain.
The early stages of the game were all about the physical battle, with Skerries’ indiscipline affording their visitors an early shot at goal that drifted wide.
Skerries first real attacking opportunity came on ten minutes and produced the opening try. It started with an 8-9 pick at the base of the scrum and, after a great burst from Scott Robbins down the wing, finished with David Lee feeding to his back-row mate Chris Wilkinson to touch down for a 5-0 lead.
Skerries immediately saw that lead cut however, when poor discipline let them down again and this time the Tullamore kicker found his range.
Thankfully for the home crowd, the hosts responded in kind. This time it was all about the backs as out-half Dave Hewitt placed a delicate chip through for ever-green centre Ed Caraher to slide in for the score, which was converted by Conal Keane.
The bright start for Skerries looked to have been hampered by the opening of the heavens towards the end of the first quarter but as it happened, there was no let up for the visitors.
A chip kick from scrum-half Chris Keane resulted in a five-metre attacking scrum for Skerries and with the young front-row of Mick Campbell, Chris Tonge and Mark Nally holding strong against a much-vaunted opposition to create a steady platform, Hewitt exploited a gap in the defence to dance through under the posts for the third try and afford Conal Keane the easiest of conversion opportunities.
The wet conditions did eventually lead to a series of handling errors and infringements and it was left to the kickers to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Two penalties from Conal Keane to one from Tullamore bringing the half-time score to 25-6.
Despite finding themselves down to 14 men for the start of the second half, the Offaly men began strongly and forced the opening penalty. After opting to run the ball however, another dropped ball called a halt to the move and instead young Skerries winger Kevin McGrath hacked the ball clear from the halfway line before winning the race to the try line. With the bonus point now secured, Conal Keane added the touchline conversion to further improve the tally.
The home side perhaps took their foot off the pedal to a certain extent thereafter, as Tullamore came more and more into the game.
With Tullamore in the ascendancy and Skerries down to 14 for twenty minutes of the second half, due to the sin-binning of both Campbell and Eoghan Dempsey, the hosts spent much of that period on the back foot. Positively though, the defence held firm and, with the entire bench getting valuable game time, this will hold Skerries in good stead.
And so Skerries played their part in what transpired to be a magnificent weekend for sport in the town. There’s a long way to campaign in this Leinster League campaign but they couldn’t have asked for much more from their first outing.