Ross maintain big gap at top
Four-try bonus point victory
The new year saw a renewed drive to continue the good form of 2016 when New Ross hosted Balbriggan in a match which promised tension given the result the last time the sides met when the Dublin natives were victorious.
The occasion also provided the backdrop for the unveiling of the new club jerseys, once again sporting the Allianz logo and provided through local supplier, Lawlor's in conjunction with Banda Sports.
Early pressure from the home side with Balbriggan trapped in their own half resulted in the first try finished off in spectacular style by David Crowdle after he had taken a reverse line and a sharp pass from Jared Dunbar after seven minutes.
Paddy Delaney added the conversion and then went on to score from two penalties in the next 15 minutes as Balbriggan's indiscretions cost them dearly.
On 37 minutes, Balbriggan crossed the whitewash following a scintillating break from their centre partnership who looked dangerous throughout.
Four minutes into the second period, David Crowdle again crossed under the posts with Paddy Delaney adding the conversion.
However, the Balbriggan centres again ensured the gap was narrowed following another line break which resulted in a penalty on the Ross five-metre line which was forced over close in.
This seemed to signal a move to another gear in the Ross forwards as they used their absolute dominance in the scrum to squeeze sequential penalties from the Balbriggan front row and drive them closer to their own line.
After electing to scrum six penalties in succession, the home eight got their reward when a penalty try was awarded after Balbriggan could not resist the urge to go offside once again.
With Delaney again adding the conversion, it seemed just a matter of time before the fourth try would come, and so it transpired with Eanna Burke making a try-saving tackle before ending up slicing through the defence to secure the bonus point win after the ball had been re-cycled quickly by the better-organised Barrowsiders.
This ensures that Ross maintain a significant gap at the head of the league before going away to Birr next weekend. Big performances were evident all across the pitch, with Kevin Browne, Chris Dimond and Tim Coughlan in the forwards, and Gordon Doyle and Jared Dunbar in the backs, being particularly effective, but the C.J. Stander award goes to James Bryan who made life an absolute misery for his opposite prop.
In other results at the weekend, the New Ross seconds overcame Enniscorthy, with further wins being gained by the Under-18 girls versus Kilkenny, the Under-15 girls versus Portlaoise, and the Under-17 boys away to Dundalk.