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Skerries 12 -13 Ashbourne – McGowan Cup Match Report. Friday 18th Sept

21 September 2020

A one point defeat is never easy but well done to Ashbourne RFC, a strong performance saw them come out on top to make it a final score of Skerries 12 Ashbourne 13.

Friday night lights rugby made a welcome return to Skerries with the Second round of the North East McGowan Cup. Visitors were Ashbourne, who have been a prominent force in the Leinster league, All Ireland Junior Cup and Towns Cup. Similar to last week, due to #HSE restrictions, only players and management were allowed to attend but #skerriesrfc arranged to stream the match live to its members, which had a take up of over 1500 viewers from around the globe! Skerries made a number of changes from the previous week to allow squad players get a game under their belts. The game did have that local derby intensity from the off with both teams fiercely contesting the tackle line and rucks.Skerries playing into the breeze for the first half were first out of the blocks. Having got a penalty, they kicked to inside the Ashbourne 22. From the resulting lineout, Skerries forwards made good yards,. The ball was recycled a number of times with good work from Michael Turvey and Tom Mulvany before being released to the backs. Crips passing saw Mikey Sherlock cross in the corner, with the difficult conversion missed, left Skerries leading 5-0.After the water break, there was no let up in the intensity of the game. Ashbourne began to apply more pressure and after a period of forward playing, taking route one, they were stopped just short of the line. The resulting pass out the backline resulted in a well worked try from the Ashbourne center. Conversion was good to leave Ashbourne leading 7-5.Billy Mulcahy and Evan Sherlock retired with injuries and were replaced by Mark McAuley and Ross McAuley.Both teams did play some good rugby in the breezy conditions and with two minutes before half time, Ashbourne were awarded a penalty which they duly converted to leave the half time score 10-5.The second-half continued with the same intensity with both teams making some crunching tackles and good defence line speeds which stifled any really continuity. Skerries coughed up too many penalties at the breakdown which didn’t help their cause. Mikey Sherlock was replaced by David Goodman and John Sherwin was replaced by Kieran Leonard.Just before the water break, Skerries won a lineout and made good inroads towards the Ashbourne try line.Good work by Jenkinson, McAuley and Conn Marrey allowed Ruiari Woods to sneak over the try line to make the score 10-10. Young Mark Mulcahy another in the line of the Mulcahy family converted to leave Skerries 12-10 ahead with twenty mins to play.Both teams made changes which fragmented the last quarter. Paddy Finn, John Healy, Sam Deering joined the game for much needed game time.Soft penalties against Skerries allowed Ashbourne a foothold in the Skerries 22.Some great defence work by Colin Doyle and Oisin McKey thwarted Ashbourne. With five mins remaining, Ashbourne were awarded another penalty which their scrum half duly converted to make the score 13-12 for Ashbourne.Skerries needed to regain the ball from the kickoff to have any chance of taking the win but Ashbourne saw out the last few minutes to retain their one point advantage to secure a deserved victory.Similar to the previous week against Navan, Skerries were guilty of giving too many soft penalties however there were periods when they played some good phases, lineout worked very well and the return of Mikey Sherlock was a welcome boost.Prominent for Skerries were Colin Doyle who make some great tackles while also contributing to their attack, Ruiari Woods kept things solid at scrum half, while Michael Turvey, Ben Jenkinson, Ross McAuley, Conn Marrey and John Sherwin took the game to Ashbourne.Overall the two McGowan cup matches have been a positive for Skerries with new combinations and much needed game time for players.Skerries are due to play Navan next Saturday in the new Energia league, but with the new health restrictions, the outcome remains uncertain as to immediate plans for these games, we wait and see.Team. McKey, Devitt, Sherlock, Doyle, Lennox, B Mulcahy, Woods, Scuffli, Marrey, Sherwin, Tom Mulvany, James Mulvany, Turvey, Jenkinson, Sherlock, Subs – Leonard, McAuley, Finn, Deering, Healy, M Mulcahy & Goodman.Huge thanks to Nicky McDonough for the match report and photos courtesy of Ashbourne RFC.