Up In The Air: Matthew Linehan Claims A Crucial Lineout
Suttonians drew 29 all with Ashbourne on Saturday but it will feel like one that they let slip having led 21-3 at half-time and 29-10 midway through the second half only for a determined final quarter from the visitors saw them reined in.
The home side got off to the best possible start with Brian Digan following on from his brace last week with an early try after great interplay, Jack Ussher reliable as ever off the tee adding the conversion. Unfortunately Digan was to depart shortly after with a dead leg and his influence was missed. Despite the Suttonians scrum enjoying such dominance last week in Kilkenny the young referee seemed to find fault with everything the vastly experienced Gar Connolly did this week and the constant penalties allowed Ashbourne gain territory along the line but ultimately all they could show for it was a penalty.
Suttonians then roared into life though and the second quarter saw them score 14 unanswered points before the break. The returning Conor Jennings was a constant threat in midfield as Ussher excellently pulled the strings from 10. Darragh Henry as ever was an elusive threat from 15 and the backs combined brilliantly to send Fergus Flood over in the corner, the touchline conversion beautifully struck for a 7 pointer. There was more to come before the break, the inspirational captain Rory Litchfield setting the tone with some excellent carries before dynamic prop Jack Walters crashed over close to the posts to leave the Sutton men apparently cruising.
Ashboune did cross early in the second half to close the gap but the game looked all but over when the evergreen Connolly scored the bonus point try to leave the hosts 26-10 ahead. From there on though the home side struggled. Litchfield departed with a knee injury and his absence was acutely felt as Ashboune came more into the game and sniffed an upset. Ussher did manage to tag on a penalty but as the game headed into injury time and the lead reduced to 29-22, the visitors were camped on the Suttonians’ line and with a man in the bin for Sutton and some cute scrummaging techniques that deceived the referee eventually the pressure told and Ashboune got over, the conversion more or less a formality before the final whistle.
Having led by so much it felt like a loss for the home side but the 3 points gained sees them remain in 4th place in the league. It’s a big day on Station Road this Saturday with 3 games, as the men host Seapoint at 230, the seconds preceding that game at 1pm. Seapoint looked dead and buried at Christmas but inexplicably they’ve managed to hammer Ashbourne and comfortably beat Monkstown since then and despite winning in Kilbogget back in November Suttonians certainly won’t be taking this one for granted.
To close off the day, the women are back in action when they host the reigning champions Blackrock at 5pm. The girls were disappointed with their pre-Christmas results and will be looking to make a statement of intent as the second half of the season gets under way. It promises to be a busy and entertaining day so feel free to pop along, all support welcome.