The Dundalk U9 squad headed cross country to Virginia on a cool but sunny Sunday morning. Communion masses ravaged the Dundalk numbers but they still had a healthy quota of sixteen lads who made the journey.
This resulted in Dundalk having two teams along with two from the hosts and two from North Meath. Both sides were teams that Dundalk had not encountered all season so it was a good chance to test themselves against new opposition.
The Black Sharks’ first match was against one of the Virginia sides. The lads began the match slowly and were a couple of tries down early on. They finally got into their stride aided by some brilliant powerful runs by Cian McGuiness. The game was in the balance right up until the final whistle when great work by Euan McArdle opened the door for Eamon Donnelly to nab the equalising try.
The lads continued their form into their second game against the other Virginia team. Ryan Martin was at his destructive best as his fearsome tackles kept the home team out all during the match. Donal Lavery provided the creative spark with two delectable tries to seal the game.
The final match pitted the Sharks against North Meath and unfortunately for the Royals, the lads from the Mill Road were in full throttle mode at the stage. The match was epitomised by a brilliant team try which involved super support play by Keelan Carroll, a barnstorming run by Ewan Kelly and a magnificent sprinting finish by Oisin McBride.
Black Sharks: Ryan Martin, Cian McGuiness, Oisin McBride, Euan McArdle, Ewan Kelly, Donal Lavery, Keelan Caroll, Eamon Donnelly.
The White Sharks were straight in their groove right from the off in their first match against North Meath. Conor Whyte performed some fantastic runs with Thomas McCourt ably supporting him with superb rucking.
The second North Meath were up next for the Dundalk lads but the result was the same. Eoin Purton and Max Valentine orchestrated the moves in this match with some fine interplay and passing. Luke O Connell provided the finishing touches as he rounded off a brilliant hat trick of tries.
The final match was the toughest of the day against a physical Virginia side. The lads were well under the cosh in the first half but a rousing second half performance brought them back in the game.
One particular phase of play saw Jake Kenny pick the ball up on his own line and with a dazzling surging run took the play well down the field. A scintillating clean out at the ruck by Michael Carroll enabled the lads to move the ball to DD Reilly who finished the move off with a jinking run and a dive in the corner.
White Sharks: Jake Kenny, Eoin Purton, DD Reilly, Conor Whyte, Max Valentine, Thomas McCourt, Michael Carroll, Luke O Connell.