Clon revive for vital home win

by Gazette Reporter

Clondalkin took the spoils in their hard-fought Leinster League 1A fixture against Ashbourne in Gordon Park last weekend.

Chris Jebb put the first points on the board for Clondalkin with a long-range penalty after nine minutes.

Having dominated at scrum time against Enniscorthy last weekend, Clondalkin’s set piece was exposed as a weak point against Ashbourne and it was from a scrum attack that the away team responded with their busy number 9 scoring a converted try.

Clondalkin responded with another successful penalty kick after a ruck infringement before Ashbourne landed two of their own penalty kicks to lead 6-13 after 26 minutes.

The home side attempted to use the pace in their back line and, from a chip ahead, Karl Jebb was unlucky to be beaten to the touchdown.

However, there was little respite for Ashbourne as moments later, Karl Jebb made good use of some quick hands to break the cover defence and score in the right-hand corner for Clondalkin’s first try, but the conversion drifted wide.

Some intelligent running by Barry Mulloy and Niall Nolan threatened the Ashbourne defence and the visitors were temporarily reduced to 14 men just before half-time after a dangerous tackle. Chris Jebb landed the ensuing penalty and a further three-pointer before half-time to go into the break 17-13 ahead.

The half-time team talk brought fresh impetus to Clondalkin and they started much the brigher of the two sides in the second half. Chris Jebb was adjudged to have been held up over the line before Niall Nolan used his speed to win a foot race after a kick-through to score in the left corner.

This converted try put some daylight between the sides but Ashbourne scored from a quick-tap penalty from their first foray into the Clondalkin half to close the gap to six points.

Clondalkin were guilty of sitting back and further Ashbourne pressure saw Clondalkin captain Simon King yellow carded. This blow was compounded when Ashbourne scored another try off a dominant scrum to take a one-point lead.

The prospect of losing their first league home game refocused Clondalkin’s minds and Nolan once again crossed the whitewash in the 28th minute to score a try which went unconverted.

Having a lead of just four points, Clondalkin went into defence mode and some resolute tackling kept Ashbourne at bay.

With just four minutes left on the clock, Karl Jebb took man and ball in midfield before offloading to his brother David who had a 50-yard run for the line, only to be denied the bonus point try by a last-ditch cover tackle. The game closed out with an important win for Clondalkin 29 points to 25.

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