Coolmine’s 2nd XV secured their third league title in four years with a bonus point win away to Dundalk on Saturday afternoon…

With three games left the seconds had a comfortable cushion travelling up and knew that four points would secure the title. Having beaten Dundalk 50-3 earlier this season most punters would have thought Coolmine were a sure bet but it took the champions elect a good fifty minutes to break down a determined home side.

Despite a poor start from the kick off Coolmine did apply the initial pressure and looked like they were in for an early try but for a handling error. The pressure was awarded after six minutes with a converted penalty from Eoin Carbury but Dundalk replied with a well worked try to move two points ahead.

The rest of the half was an even enough affair with neither side threatening to score. Ball failed to go to hand on the few chances the visitors had. Was the pressure of the title bid getting to the players? With the last few seconds ticking away Coolmine pushed on not wanting to go into the break trailing by two points. A well earned penalty deep inside Dundalk 22 was taken quickly and number 8 Liam McGrath barged over catching the Dundalk defence asleep. Half time score Dundalk 5-8 Coolmine.

Coolmine pushed on from the restart anxious to extend their precarious lead, the ball was swung right from the back of a Coolmine maul but when John McCall received the ball he had little support and it looked like Coolmine had taken the wrong option. However McCall had other ideas and a lateral run brought him round the opposition and into the right corner.

Two minutes later and Captain Tom Sharkey was taken down just short of the line. Coolmine kept the pressure up and 24 minutes into the half Dundalk tried to clear their lines from behind a pressured scrum but flanker Tadgh McCarthy was quick to break off and blocked the clearance kick down and was first to pounce on the loose ball resulting in Coolmine’s third try.

At 5-18 it was a long road back for Dundalk but Coolmine never slackened off and managed to put two more trys past the home side before the final whistle. First up Mick Kilduff’s show and go left the Dundalk defence wrong footed and shortly after Morgan Smith sold another dummy for their fifth and final try of the game.

Three league titles in four years; this is a great achievement for Tom Sharkey and the lads. To have secured their league title with two games to go is magnificent. They will now press on to retain their Byrne Cup title (they face Monkstown in a semi final clash) and hopefully secure a well deserved double. Well done to Declan, Paul and the rest of the squad.