New Ross in pole position for 2017
With the Christmas break approaching in the Leinster League, New Ross hosted Ardee on Saturday in order to facilitate both clubs' commencement of seasonal festivities.
New Ross RFC 45 Ardee RFC 5
The home side continued the pattern of roaring starts by waiting a mere three minutes to get the scoreboard clicking. The early points came from a trademark Bartek carry, gaining eight metres over the gain line, rapid rucking and recycling, with David Crowdle burning his opposite number for pace to touch down and giving Delaney his first conversion.
On 22 minutes, Tim Coughlin forced a huge turnover on halfway, allowing Eanna Burke to execute a deft kick in behind the Ardee defence. The ball popped up beautifully into the arms of the onrushing David Crowdle to touch down just left of the posts.
The next score came on 25 minutes as a result of solid forward work characterised by a Brian Harte carry followed by a switch move in the centre, another well-executed kick through and a finish from Matt Crowdle on this occasion. Paddy Delaney again added the extras and so the situation remained until half-time.
On 44 minutes, following increasing scrum dominance from the Ross lads and quick handling across the back line, Eanna Burke secured the bonus point when crossing far out on the left wing to give Delaney a challenging conversion attempt which he gleefully accepted.
After 50 minutes, David Crowdle completed his hat-trick with clever footwork splitting the defence. Eanna Burke put himself into contention for a hat-trick when he again crossed in the left corner after 57 minutes.
There was plenty of time for the try of the match yet though, and this was scored on 72 minutes when a bullocking carry by Ryan, off-load to Dunbar and another off-load to Delaney ended up with Delaney's hand-off on an Ardee forward which was Furlongesque in its effectiveness to clear space for the scrum-half to dot down before converting his own well-deserved try.
Ardee had the final word in this well-attended fixture by scoring a forward-driven try after 77 minutes to leave the final score 45-5. The result ensures that Ross enter the new year in pole position in the league.
With so many contenders for man of the match on this occasion with outstanding performances coming from Kevin Browne, James Ryan, David Crowdle and Gordon Doyle, this commentator finally plumped for Paddy Delaney whose link work, quick hands and excellent kicking secured a personal tally of 15 points.
Meanwhile, New Ross R.F.C. senior players have gone pink-haired to raise funds for a much-loved national charity. The initiative, spearheaded by club captain Steve Roche, involved 34 players dying their hair and beards a luminous pink before playing their last Leinster League game of 2016.
All of the funds raised were donated to the Irish Cancer Society who were represented at the presentation in Allianz Park on Saturday by local cancer nurse, Catherine O'Connor, who thanked the club and players for their selfless efforts.
In response, Steve Roche referred to the prevalence of cancer in the community and the fact that most of the players will have had friends or family who will have been affected by the disease. He expressed his gratitude to Niall Bennett, and the team at H20 Creative Hair, for generously sponsoring the dyeing process, the players who had participated, and all who had contributed, before handing over the proceeds of €5,478 collected to date. With contributions still coming in, it's anticipated to exceed €6,000.
Club President, Michael Bailey, stressed the importance of the Cancer Society as a community support and expressed his pride on behalf of the club to be associated with this fundraiser.