The saying: ‘a year is a long time’ couldn’t have been more apt as Dundalk RFC picked up their second Leinster League Division 1A win of the season on Saturday.
Having allowed a 20 point lead to slip against Ashbourne RFC 12 months ago, Dundalk turned the tables at Mill Road, keeping the Meath side scoreless for the entire second half in coming from 14 in arrears to win 36-24.
Full-back Darragh Conroy was to the fore in the victory, collecting every point on offer from the kicking tee, including five penalties.
The win is Dundalk’s second consecutively and while it doesn’t make up for losing their two openers, they can at least make Saturday’s trek to Donnybrook for a tussle with top-half Bective in good spirits.
They got off to a poor start last weekend, though, conceding a converted try in the early stages before Conroy got them on the board with a three-pointer.
Then came the hosts’ opening try when Patrick Reilly profited from German Javier Herrera Luhrs’ fine piece of play to register his third try in two outings. The lead was three when Conroy booted the extras.
However, Ashbourne found their forward power as the opening half petered to its close - Seán Arrowsmith’s sin-binning played a role, too - finding the try-line twice on the back of effective maul phases, converting both to lead 24-10 at the interval.
Dundalk returned like a different team, intent on turing it around, and with Walls finding pockets with neat chips behind the visiting backline, they built consistent spells of pressure. John Smith burrowed over from five metres and when Conroy bagged the next eight points - the conversion and two penalties - the gap had been whittled to just one.
A try from Conroy put Dundalk ahead in dramatic fashion and when he pointed the additional pair the gap was seven. He supplemented that further with two penalties, bringing his personal points tally to an extremely impressive 26.
Dundalk RFC: John Smith; Seán Arrowsmith, Conor Williams; Ben Mortimer, Enda Murphy; James McConnon, Laurence Steen, Tiernan Gonnelly; Mike Walls, Jack Connolly; Sam Weber, German Javier Herrera Luhrs; Patrick Reilly, Robert Williams, Darragh Conroy
Replacements: Ciarán Brannigan, Greg Whately, Ciarán Lennon, Alistair McCormack, Conor Hennessey
Source: Dundalk Democrat