Arklow Clane up and go top of the table

Arklow travelled north for the third consecutive week, this time to take on joint leaders Clane, in a must win game for both sides. A victory for Clane would see them pull clear of Arklow at the top but a win for Arklow would see them go top with a vital game in hand. Arklow kicked off into a strong headwind and it was immediately clear that this was going to be a tight contest as Clane looked to take the ball into contact and try to batter their way through Arklow at the rucks.

This was probably not the best of tactics as time and again Clane were smashed backwards by the visiting pack with man of the match Tom Scarfe turning ball over several times. It was from one of these turnovers that Arklow spread the ball to the backs and worked upfield where from the breakdown the ball was moved back infield and Willy Dillon came in off the wing to crash a short ball over from the back of a ruck. Dean Mccormac converted to give Arklow the lead 7-0.

This proved to be the only score of the first half as Arklow again had to switch to defensive mode and hold out Clanes attacks. The second half was a similar story with Clane throwing everything they could at the visiting team. A relieving penalty kick from Paddy Phelan was followed up by Richard Murphy and when Clane failed to clear their lines properly Mark Hynes, in his fist game back after a long injury, was the quickest to react and dived on the loose ball to score the try.

Phelan converted to make it 14-0. Clane now dug deep and after a number of phases and determined attacking managed to work their way over the line for a converted try to make it 14-7. The home side now knew they were they were only one score away from a vital result. Arklow however, were not going to concede lightly and spent the final ten minutes camped on their own try-line defending scrum and ruck with such tenacity that Clane simply could not cross for that elusive try.

This was heroic defending from Arklow and when the final whistle was blown the relief was palpable. This result all but ended Clanes title hopes while Arklow now know that a victory next week at home to Ardee will see them become firm favourites for the league.


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