City of Derry RFC 1st XV vs Dungannon 1st XV Match Report
By Louis Fields
Derry struggle to bounce back from their cup defeat
City of Derry RFC 5 - 22 Dungannon RFC
Buoyed by the fine performance last week against Ballynahinch, Derry welcomed the visitors Dungannon who recently put over 40 points on Omagh, so they should be a good test of how well Derry have progressed to date. Rugby is a physical and bruising game and as with all contact sports, injuries will occur. Derry has a growing injury list, which positively provides opportunities for players to step up and their are valiant efforts going on behind the scenes at Derry to ensure players are ready to step up. The developing of local talent is essential to the future success on the pitch, the links with the community and with all rugby playing schools is central to the strategy at City of Derry RFC.
Dungannon will be happy with the win as they prepare for the visit of Skerries RFC next week but Derry need to take what they can from this game, players rotating and positional changes for others can have an unsettling impact and may account for some of the unforced errors which are costly at this level. Cheap turnovers are severely punished by good sides. Dugannon took full advantage of Derry’s errors and make the most of the opening exchanges to march closer to the Derry try line.
Dungannon used the scum to great effect in the opening exchanges. The front row of Jimmy Hamilton, Stephen Duffy, Ben Polin, back row of Teirnan Thornton, Craig Huey
and Stephen Corr
with Jack Townley
and Adam Bratton
in the second row were under pressure from a solid Dungannon unit early on.
The first try was worked down the wing and as Derry attempted to press high up the pitch, Dungannon broke the line and turned Derry. The winger Jordan McIIwaine finished in the corner. Visitors lead 5-0. The Derry line out was not functioning either and by not having a solid base from which to defend or attack, Derry was hurting. Scrum penalties allowed Dungannon to kick to the corner and score from the resulting lineout from number 8 Johna Mau’u. Converted by John Buckley, the visitors were leading 12-0 after 10 minutes.
To make matters worse, winger Collie Campbell had to be replaced by Davy Graham when he picked up a knee injury on the 15 minute mark. More reshuffling had to occur with Ian Bratton
moving onto the wing, leaving Posternack and Cole in the centre. This centre partnership worked extremely hard all day. Posternack demonstrated in attack and defence what a good signing he is and with his link play with Cole, this could be the beginning of a good partnership.
As Dugannon tried to press home their advantage, they were awarded a penalty right in front of the posts as full back Davy Graham was adjudged to be holding the ball on the ground. Buckley slotted it again to lead 15 – 0.Sam Duffy
replaced Ben Pollin
as Derry tried to get into the game. As the half hour mark approached, Derry were finally getting into the game, pressurising the visitors and gaining ground. A line out ten metres out presented the best chance of the game to get on the score board. However, a calamity of errors allowed Johna Mau’u to gather a loose ball and run 90 meters to score in the corner. Buckley converts and brings the score to 22-0.
Despite this, Derry were looking a much better side but were still conceding penalties near the posts, inviting trouble and luckily for Derry, Buckley hit it left to leave it at 22-0 at half-time.
Derry won the second half 5-0 due to the much improved set piece. The lineout was functioning; the scrums had been sorted out and Derry were finally getting that much needed momentum. Davy Graham was once again the shining light in attack, getting his score following a solid scrum and good crisp passing, letting Davy collect the ball on the half way line at full pace. Davy in full flight is worth the admission fee. Conversion missed. 5-22.
As Derry were beginning to get a foothold in the game, Tiernan Thornton
was sent to the sin bin as a result of one penalty to many on the 50th minute. This disrupted Derry’s flow and with both teams ringing changes, the game suffered as a consequence. However, Dungannon played their part in preventing Derry getting an advantage through a high tackle, reducing Dungannon to 14 men as well at 55 minutes.
So with Stephen Walker
and Chris Lamberton emptying the bench, Derry continued to work hard and shut Dungannon out. The Derry defence continues to be well organised and solid right to the final whistle. Winning the second half and not conceding in 40 minutes shows that Derry can compete at this level. However, it is going to take concentration from the very first whistle to the last, as any lapses or hesitation will be punished in the All Ireland League. The set piece improved as the game went on but gifting teams a head start needs addressing.
You cannot give good teams easy points and be the architects of your own demise. Derry need to eradicate the mistakes, keep the ball and concentrate for 80 minutes and the rewards will come.
Final Score: CDRFC 5- 22 Dungannon
Tullamore RFC visit Derry next Saturday 29th September. Kick off is 2.30pm. It's the beginning of the All Ireland Leave so come and support, see some fine rugby and sample the atmosphere.