Boyne finished off their league in great style on Sunday last at a very cold but, resplendent Shamrock Lodge…

The club went all out to celebrate their rise in rugby status by naming the occasion “Elevation Day”. And, what an occasion it turned out to be. Every aspect of the club was on show with the mini’s starting off proceedings at one o’clock with several exhibition games climaxing with the Des Smyth Foundation team of St. Pauls taking the field just before the big game, taking on a club selected side.

With plenty of entertainment for the children by way of slides and sideshows, there was also food and beverage in abundance provided by club members, John Hennessy and Terry Lockyear and the Grounds Development Committee didn’t let the day go by without displaying their progress to date and accepted any donations and pledges that was given for the cause.

To the blare of fanfare music and the great enthusiasm of announcer on the day, Eamon Duffy, both teams were introduced onto the field in a blaze of colour and excitement. There was a guard of honour led by Boyne’s under 19’s Leinster Champions and younger members of the club who clapped their League winning side onto the pitch.

There were contrasting feelings from both teams entering the game. Boyne had secured their senior status with two games to go and were already champions elect. On the other hand, their opponents, Cill Dara, were fighting for their Div 1A status and were in a must win situation to if they were to have any chance of avoiding the dreaded drop. The Kildare men had an indifferent season and it is only three years ago that they themselves were champions of this league. That they find themselves relegated to Div 1B is testament to the high standard of rugby that this league is producing year on year. Having said that, Cill Dara are still a good side and perhaps had some results and other matters not intervened, their season would not have ended as it did. One feels, that their stay in Div 1B will not last too long until they are back in this division

Nevertheless, Cill Dara certainly looked as if they were going to spoil the home sides celebrations when they seized opportunities to score two great tries and at one stage held a commanding 11pts lead over the home side. Boyne started in whirlwind fashion and had their first score, a try, within a minute. It was a sweeping move that saw the ball swung wide and the brilliant full back Kerbey joined the line and crashed through for his teams opening score. He landed the conversion to put Boyne 7pts ahead after just a minutes play. With celebratory music blaring and an obviously partisan match announcer greeting the score, the men from Kildare refused to be intimidated. They settled down to curb Boyne’s expansive game with excellent defence and as stated, seized the opportunity to score to bring themselves right back into the game. Their winger, Conway, was in excellent form and he bagged two tries during the game and kicker, Pa Behan, was also having a good day with the boot. Coming up to half time, Cill Dara, took control and with it, the advantage on the scoreboard by landing two penalties to leave the half time score 13pts to 7pts in their favour.

A shock was certainly on the cards when five minutes into the second half winger Conway finished off a great Cill Dara move by scoring his second try in the corner. Behan failed with the conversion but,the visitors now had a commanding lead after 55 minutes play. The game was turning into an exciting affair and Boyne took the opportunity of kicking a penalty to reduce the deficit before great play from their outstanding No. 8, Eoin Collins, brought them right back into the match with a superb try. Croke took over kicking duties and landed the conversion to leave just one point between the sides. Boyne suffered a setback when their talisman centre, Bevan Duffy, saw yellow for a minor disagreement with the referee. Cill Dara, once again, took the opportunity to capitalise on Boyne,s numerical disadvantage and the crossed for their third try of the game. Behan landed an excellent conversion to bring his team to 25pts. It was now looking increasingly likely that Cill Dara would take the maximum five league points from this game and leave things difficult for Carlow in the other relegation tie against Newbridge. Frantic phone calls were being exchanged between the two venue’s.

Cill Dara’s dreams were shattered by a scintillating final 20 minutes by the Shamrock Lodge outfit. Fulll Back, Kerbey was on fire and he scored two more tries for his hat trick and man of the match nomination. Not far behind was out half, Bryan Croke, who brought his side right back into the game with a brilliant individual try of his own on the 62nd minute. Centre, Conor Casey also scored a try and the try scoring feast was completed by Prop, Paddy Cooney.

This Boyne side has the look of a very co-ordinated and settled team. Their understanding of each other belief in themselves is something that has not been seen in teams in past years and has been the hall mark of their coach, Kiwi, Craig McGrath. The unprecedented success, over the past three years has been due to the professional approach that the New Zealander has brought to the club. He is affable off the field and is a very popular individual but, his abilty to switch modes and put his team into the right frame of mind for each game is laudable.

Another feaure of the team this season has been the signing of out half and Portlaoise native, Bryan Croke. The young lad is at college with several of the Boyne players and good fortune directed him to throw his lot in with the club this year. It was always going to be a huge challenge to replace the brilliant, Brian Collins, who went overseas to study but, Bryan Croke has filled the role superbly. He has been a wonderful acquisition for the club and he and his family are warmly accepted into the Boyne fraternity. The return of Conor Casey to the club where he played his youth rugby has been another great success. The Balbriggan lad has really been firing on all cylinders as the season progressed and is now a top class midfield partner for Bevan Duffy.

There was a great turnout of Leinster Branch Officials, led by President, Kevin Fitzpatrick, for the presentation of The Eddie Egan cup to Boyne Captain, nominated to receive the trophy, Brendan Muldowney. Rapturous applause and cheering greeted the presentation accompanied by a cacophony of music and fanfare by announcer Eamon Duffy, who introduced each Boyne player individually, to receive their medals. The players were joined on the stage by two of the clubs most illustrious players in Shane Horgan and Niall Ronan who made a special effort to be present on the day. Both lads received a tumultuous welcome from the huge crowd.

Those who received medals were: Cillian Duffy, Paddy Cooney, Brendan Muldowney, James McKevitt, John Kinsella, Dan Kinsella, Ian O’Reilly, Conor Walsh, Ciaran Smith, Nico Vorster, Eoin Collins, Leo Nulty, Craig McGrath, Bryan Croke, Con Casey, Bevan Duffy, Niall Kerbey, Richard Jenkinson, Graham McQuillan, Brian Howell and Adam Sherrard.

Celebrations continued well into the evening and night with Boyne player, Caiman Hall along with his friends providing the music for the ecstatic club members and supporters.