Another big weekend for Skerries RFC
UBL Div 2A
Rainey Old Boys 18
If there was a weekend to illustrate just how far Skerries RFC has come in only a few years, this was it.
Two seasons ago, in their first season back in the All-Ireland League, Skerries visited Rainey Old Boys and were roundly beaten by hosts who would go on to promotion. On Saturday, Skerries returned with promotion now their aim and turned the tables on Rainey with a bonus point win.
Meanwhile, the Skerries Seconds took on Newbridge in the 2nd round of the Towns Cup, just three seasons after the senior team was beaten by them in the Leinster League. A comfortable Skerries victory this time around (albeit in a fractious match) again showed just how much the club has travelled in those short few years.
First up, was the Senior team’s trip to Magherafelt, complete with the usual gang of loyal supporters. This was always liable to be a tricky match, as Rainey – despite being in the lower half of Div 2A – have grabbed a few losing bonus points over the season, and have a habit of coming strong in the last quarter of games.
Skerries had to face them without several injured players, and then picked up injuries to Mikey Sherlock and Mark Boylan during the match. Nevertheless, they left with four tries and the full five points after excellent team tries and expert finishing gave them a decent lead – even if they ultimately let Rainey come back at them a couple of times.
Centre Sherlock was first to round off fine teamwork, his good footwork seeing him run in under the posts. Conal Keane converted. Rainey struck back with a penalty, but full-back David Quirke continued a hot streak which saw him score a double hat-trick for the J1s against Blackrock last week. He glided in off Keane’s shoulder to touch down after patient controlled play from the Skerries.
Hooker Chris Tonge scored off a strong line-out drive in the second half, only for Rainey – despite being down to 14 men – to hit back almost immediately to make the score 19-8. However, Skerries sniffed the bonus point and it came midway through the second half when winger Derek Keane touched down in the corner.
Rainey did press after this and earned a try off a line-out maul. It was followed by a touchline conversion that made it 24-15. Desperate for the bonus point, they finished strongly and a last minute penalty grabbed that point for the hosts. But Skerries would leave with five points that keeps them in a strong third, a point behind second place Blackrock.
Some of those same players – including prop John Condren, centre Paul Devitt, and David Quirke at out-half this time – would feature in the Towns Cup match at a mucky Holmpatrick 24 hours later. It was a game that featured scraps, a red card, dominant packs and terrible conditions, but also a fine Skerries performance in the first half especially.
Tries from Darach Ronayne, Kieran Leonard and Ross Halligan gave the home side an 18-0 half-time lead despite having played into a biting gale. As the match became very scrappy the teams traded tries in the second half (Condren getting over for Skerries) and traded a few punches too. It wasn’t pretty, but Skerries have reached the quarter final of the Towns Cup, where they’ll face last year’s beaten finalists Kilkenny away.
All round, then, another big weekend for Skerries RFC – with the promise of more to come.
Skerries team v Rainey
1. David Reilly
2. Chris Tonge
3. John Condren
4. AJ Sherlock
5. Joe Glennon
6. Evan Sherlock
7. Tomas O’Hare
8. Ross McAuley
9. Eoghan Carron
10. Conal Keane
11. Derek Keane
12. Mikey Sherlock
13. Kevin McGrath
14. Eddie O’Mahony
15. David Quirke
16. Conor Ronayne
17. Mark Boylan
18. Eoin Matthews
19. Robbie Jenkinson
20. Paul Devitt