Dundalk RFC's Laurence Steen. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Leinster League Division 1A
Monkstown 7 Dundalk 24
Dundalk RFC maintained their 100% away record with a comprehensive 24-7 victory over Monkstown on Saturday afternoon.
Having dominated the set-piece, Mike Walls' men were always in control of affairs. But it took them until the second-half to put Monkstown out of sight.
They were level, 7-7, at half-time, though considering they held much of the play, it was an unfair reflection of Dundalk's first-half efforts.
However, they were much more clinical in the second-half with Owen McNally's introduction and a backline reshuffle ensuring they crossed the tryline twice to secure victory, with out-half Gearóid McDonald his reliable self off the kicking tee.
The only downsight to their triumph was the failure to score a fourth try, something which would have handed them a bonus point victory against the Division's strugglers.
Dundalk started well and some nice back play off a line-out in the Monkstown '22 allowed Derek Williams to find space on the right wing and cross for the game's opening try. McDonald added the extras to make it 7-0.
It was an advantage they really ought to have extended following repeated attacks, however, by not adding more to their total, they allowed Monkstown an avenue back into the game and to the hosts' credit, they took it, crossing and converting to level the match at the interval.
With the words of Walls still in their minds, Dundalk started the second-half on the front foot with Daragh Conroy and Williams involved in an attack which forced a kickable penalty - one which McDonald knocked over to make it 10-7.
Upon his introduction, McNally's strong-running caused the home side problems. He was integral to a move which led to Dundalk pushing clear, along with McDonald and Williams who forced Monkstown into conceding a penalty. From which McDonald kicked deep into the '22.
The resultant line-out led to Dundalk mauling forward and when the chance presented itself, Walls moved ahead to touch down. McDonald converted once more to make it 17-7.
And the scoreline was rounded off with a thrilling move which saw Dundalk go the length of the pitch within the space 60 seconds.
David Whatley threw possession to McNally inside his own '22 and from there the winger sprang forward. He was eventually shackled, though the ball was moved to Laurence Steen with his run leading to the ruck from which Seán Arrowsmith got across for Dundalk's third try of the afternoon.
Next up for Dundalk is next Saturday's rearranged game with Wicklow at the Mill Road. Kick-off is 2:30pm.
Dundalk RFC: Jonathan Gray, Seán Arrowsmith, Robert Farrell; Enda Murphy (c), Hamish Walker; James McConnon, Alistair McCormack, Tiernan Gonnelly; Mike Walls, Gearóid McDonald; Peter O'Neill, Laurence Steen; Robert Williams, Daragh Conroy, Derek Williams
Replacements: Ciarán Lennon, Ciarán Brannigan, David Whatley, Niall Smullen, Owen McNally