Declan Mahon Trophy: Sunday 05.03.23
North Meath 44-17 Tallaght
North Meath claimed a league and cup double after overcoming Tallaght in the final of the inaugural Declan Mahon Trophy on Sunday.
North Meath may have finished above Tallaght in winning Leinster League 3 this season, but it was clear that the Dublin team were confident of turning the tables in the search for silverware.
And sure enough, it was Tallaght that opened the scoring, crossing the line after a series of carries by the pack.
Tallaght then doubled their lead soon after. A clearance kick was left to bounce by the hesitant North Meath backline, allowing Tallaght’s winger to collect the loose ball and race away to score in the corner.
North Meath were soon back on the attack but an uncharacteristic knock-on from the backs put paid to any chance of an opening score and led some to think it just might not be the Meath men’s day.
Fortunately for North Meath they were soon back in the game when Graham Boland powered over to make it 10-5. The try sparked North Meath into the life, although there was an element of luck in the next score.
The flying winger Jordan Herring was sent free on the right from a quickly taken tap penalty. His attempted chip ahead then bounced off a Tallaght defender straight into Herring’s arms and he was able to saunter through under the posts, drawing the teams level.
By now, North Meath had thrown off the early game lethargy and were starting to dominate with some free running rugby. Full back Joe Carry was next to score, finishing off with a show and go. And then hooker Killian Flanagan squeezed over in the corner on the stroke of half-time for a crucial score and a 12 point lead at 22-10.
But if anyone thought that Tallaght were out of the game, the beginning of the second half dispelled the notion. A lovely bit of interplay from a tap penalty gave Tallaght the first try of the second half and the touchline conversion made it a five point game.
Fortunately for North Meath, they were able to go straight up the other end and score. The try from Eoin Briody was then followed by a fine score from scrum-half Louis Finnegan and a quickly taken tap penalty from Kevin Dowds to make it 37-17.
The final try of the game from a well-executed cross-field kick and with four North Meath players queuing up to receive the ball, it was Hugh Briody that claimed the score.
The win means that North Meath have a Leinster league and cup double and the possibility of more honours with the Seconds Towns, Anderson and McGee cups to come.
Team: Joe Carry, Jordan Herring, Cian Doogan, Eanna Finn, Ruben Mostert, Conor Grey, Louis Finnegan, Padraic McGurl, Killian Flanagan, Jack Yore, Graeme Boland, Ciaran Cullen, Curtis Hunter, Ben Shine, Senan McDermott
Replacements: Sam Bashford, Conor Rennicks, Kevin Dowds, Paul Butler, John Lyon, Nathan Kiernan, Andrew Monaghan, Eoin Briody, Hugh Briody, Patrick Farnan, Eoghan Cosgrave
Tries: Boland, Herring, McDermott, Flanagan, E Briody, Finnegan, Dowds, H Briody
Cons: Grey (2)
Pics courtesy of Aisling McDermott