Dundalk beat Clondalkin 34-17 in their third league game of the season and continue their victorious start to the campaign.
Having beaten newly promoted Ashbourne and relegated Suttonians, Clondalkin it could be argued were to be Dundalk’s hardest test to date.
MJ McKevitt the team captain, returned to the centre after a shoulder injury which kept him out of last weeks action. McKevitt’s return saw Ultan Murphy move to the wing and last week’s wing sensation Rory O’Hagan dropped to the bench.
In the pack a leg injury sustained during training forced Ene Fa’atau to miss the game giving Tiernan Gonnelly his first start in the number eight position with the first team.
It wasn’t long before the pack settled into the game and imposed themselves on the opposition forcing Clondalkin to try and move the ball in their backs.
Again the partnership of McKevitt and Chris Scully in the centres tackled everything coming their way with the support of the back row of Gonnelly, James McConnon and Stephen Martin.
After a good Dundalk drive forward from which Clondalkin failed to find touch, Owen McNally gathered and scored Dundalk’s first try of the game after 14 minutes. A well worked backs move after sustained pressure from the forwards allowed the winger to slice through the defence and Murphy converted.
Some six minutes later, McGee found himself with ball in hand and some open space in which to operate. A powerful burst from McConnon and wonderful offload before he hit the deck enabled the fullback to score Dundalk’s second and after 20 minutes they looked relatively comfortable..
Just before half time, Jonathan Williams released Scully with a perfect pass, who turned up the pace and bypassed the Clondalkin defence to score.
Again Murphys’ accuracy with the boot picked up the extra two points and going into half time Dundalk were comfortably ahead.
Coming out for the second half Clondalkin were determined to get back into the game and set about right from the off which saw them rewarded with a converted try five minutes into the second half.
Dundalk continued to exercise control of the game but a persistent Clondalkin pressed and at 14 minutes into the second half were rewarded with another try from their centres which was converted.
All of a sudden the visitors could see hope but tackling from David Whatley, who had replaced Stephen Martin at half time, held the Clondalkin pack while Williams and Scully were resolute in defence.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Dundalk upped their game with McNally, Grey and Bentley combined down the right touchline. Campbell moved the ball quickly from the ensuing ruck and meegan offloaded to Robbie Farrell five metres from the line.
Unstoppable from that distance, Farrell crashed over the line in the 62nd minute to score a well earned try. Converted by Murphy, Dundalk were back in a comfortable lead. A penalty in the last minute of the game had no bearing on the final result, 31-17 to Dundalk.
That makes it three wins out of three and picking up a four try bonus point, Dundalk are beginning to establish a pattern of play that opposition will find hard to deal with. Next week the league leaders play Monkstown away.
DUNDALK RFC: Stephen McGee, Owen McNally, Chris Scully, MJ McKevitt, Ultan Murphy, Jonathan Williams, Thomas Campbell, Tiernan Gonnelly, Stephen Martin, James McConnon, Mike Bentley, Paul Meegan, Robbie Farrell, Lotu Nuku, Johnny Grey. Subs: David Whately, Rory O’Hagan, Enda Murphy, Will Lauaki, Paddy Reilly.