Ashbourne head coach Scott Broughton says he is pleased with the 'controlled' performance that ensured his side will compete for a hat-trick of All-Ireland Junior Cup titles. They overcame the challenge of Clonmel, winning today's semi-final 25-5 at Milltown.
Ashbourne head coach Scott Broughton says he is pleased with the ‘controlled’ performance that ensured his side will compete for a hat-trick of All-Ireland Junior Cup titles. They overcame the challenge of Clonmel, winning today’s semi-final 25-5 at Milltown.
Enniscorthy and Wicklow’s all-Leinster semi-final showdown fell foul of Storm Deirdre, while defending champions Ashbourne beat Munster kingpins Clonmel by 20 points in difficult conditions at their Archerstown Road home ground.
“That was one of our goals – to make the final and have a crack at three-in-row so we’re there now, which we’re delighted with,” admitted Ashbourne head coach Scott Broughton, speaking to Irish Rugby TV afterwards.
The Meath men opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Ciaran Roche scrambled over after a series of drives from a lineout. Casey Dunne then converted a close-range 12th-minute finish from Mark Rooney and stretched the lead out to 15-0 with a 39th minute penalty.
Clonmel’s only try came in the last play of the first half when Ian Cunningham scampered over on the back of three minutes of pressure from the Tipperary men. However, the well-drilled hosts took control of the scoreboard with two second half tries.
A clever pass from replacement scrum half Colm Craigie allowed Jake Wall to crash over, and Matt Connolly sprinted to the corner to complete the scoring in the final quarter. It was an ambitious game-plan from Ashbourne with plenty of offloads and support play, which delighted the home fans that had braved the elements.
Broughton added: “We have the skill and the ability in the pack and in the back-line to play any type of game. Sometimes we’ve had to rein them in but most of what we did today came off with the offloads. That shows that the boys are learning.
“We enjoy cup rugby. We enjoy the cut and thrust of it and it seems to suit us. We had a sluggish start to the season performance-wise but now we seem to be hitting our straps. We’re into another final and whoever it is in the next round, be it Wicklow or Enniscorthy, it’’l be extremely tough.”