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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Magic Meath hit new high

North Meath Rugby Club, which was founded as recently as 2007, won its first ever Leinster Branch trophy when beating Naas 3rd XV in the Anderson Cup Final at Edenderry RFC on Sunday last.

Formed to cater for the sport in the expanding town of Kells, the club commenced playing in the McGee Cup, a competition that caters for J3 rugby in North East Area.

After winning this at the second attempt, the developing club took the initiative to play in the Leinster League this season and finished runners-up to Balbriggan in Section "B" of Division 3.

A campaign that involved victories against Portlaoise, Birr and Tullamore brought them to Sunday's Anderson Cup decider where they prevailed on a 26-7 scoreline.

Despite trailing to an early Naas try scored by No8 Paddy Bough, which out-half Stephen McGrath converted, North Meath rebounded to lead 12-7 at the interval with outstanding centre Simon Deevey and winger Stephen McManus bagging tries.

Centre Conal Finn kicked a conversion and also added the extra points to No8 Aiden McEntee's try soon after the resumption before Deevey rounded off the scoring with his second five-pointer, with McManus this time tapping over the conversion.

Coached by Victor Grey and Jack Kenny, the ambitious club will now be setting their sights on higher achievements as they set about moving up the divisions within the Leinster League and progressing on to compete shortly in the Towns Cup.

The Anderson Cup final formed part of an extremely successful double header in Edenderry with Tullamore edging out Portarlington by a single point, 14-13, in the Provincial Towns Seconds Cup Final.

This completes a memorable, if somewhat sad season for the County Offaly team as they've now completed the league and cup double but their coach, the popular and well-known Ronnie Walsh, passed away in February. The contribution of "The Keg" was acknowledged by captain Donal Milne in his acceptance speech.

A gripping encounter was decided by veteran Tullamore out-half Eric Conway's penalty midway through the second half that was some consolation for the club's defeat a fortnight earlier by Boyne in arguably the best ever Towns Cup Final.

There was also a double header in Donnybrook on Sunday when the under-21 cup finals were down for decision; Blackrock College survived a late rally as they defeated Clontarf 22-19 to win the McCorry Cup, a game that was preceded by UCD's 27-5 success over St Mary's College in the Purcell Cup decider.

Old Belvedere won the Guilfoyle-James Cup, the revived Cup at J6 level, when they beat Wanderers 29-0 on Thursday of last week and Coolmine added to their trophy haul when they beat Barnhall 21-5 on Tuesday in the J4 equivalent, the Winters Cup Final.

The final game of a long, weather-interrupted season was on Wednesday when Clondalkin beat North Kildare 23-19 to win the Provincial Towns Plate for the first time in the club's history.

Maybe there's a lesson for other teams in their unusual match preparation -- they arrived back from Toulouse 48 hours ahead of the final after spending four days bonding in the name of Leinster!

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