Derry win in awful conditions
By Louis Fields
65-0 despite the weather
City of Derry RFC U16 Match Report
(vs South Donegal, 13/10/18)
South Donegal U16’s 0 – 65 City of Derry U16’s
City of Derry U16’s arrived on the beach front location of Donegal Town's ground, buoyant after a dominant display the week before. However, the wet soggy conditions were definitely not beach weather, but there may have been a need for water wings! The newly combined youth team of South Donegal, comprising of Donegal Town and Ballyshannon Rugby Club's youth teams is still in the process of building up player numbers. It was no surprise that they only had a team of 13 available for this game.
After some quick negotiations, it was agreed that the game would proceed. Derry would match the hosts numbers, play 6 forwards in the pack and have uncontested scrums. South Donegal kicked off and Derry returned the ball with intent, the forwards worked well and combined with the backs. The willingness to try and play the offload game had to take a backseat in these conditions, but the lads found that out the hard way, making several handling errors and turning the ball over repeatedly. The Derry defence stood tall with good line speed and front up tackling, helping to pin back any notion of attack from South Donegal.
Once the Derry lads started to play a more controlled game, they made ground on nearly every carry. With forwards and backs working well together, it was not long before the scores came. TJay Magee was first, with a planned pick and go from the base of the scrum, he was unstoppable from 8m out. Conversion from Alex Thompson
was good. 0-7. On the next attack, Shane O’Kane
picked up a knock to his knee/leg and it was decided to take him off as a precaution. He was replaced by Aaron Haslett
on the left wing. It was Aaron next on the score sheet as the ball was moved from right to left, through the entire back line and out to Aaron who was wide open on the wing, making a spectacular Swan dive (“Ash Splash” style) to dot down in the corner, maybe not the best idea given the conditions, but he made it count. Conversion was short as Alex slipped on the long grass and wet surface. 0 -12.
Derry’s strong defence and whole team attack set the scene for the rest of the game. Further first half tries from Callum Mullin
, Alex Thompson
and Sean Bates
all in the back line proved that the work done in training was paying off. With the half time score 0 – 34, Derry where in total control.
The 2nd half had Derry empty out the bench and make several position changes to try and improve strength and depth in the squad. It was the forwards who benefited most from the changes, and it was their turn to turn possession and territory into points. With TJay and Dylan Donnell both getting 2 tries each and Jacob Cole
1. Adam Coyle
rounded off a man of the match performance, with his typical strong straight running, good footwork and despite the conditions, a near perfect line-out throwing job. He was cruelly denied a try of his own, but the penalty try awarded for the desperate high tackle would have been sweet enough.
Final score South Donegal U16’s 0 – 65 City of Derry U16’s
We would like to thank the combined South Donegal team for the game and to their credit, they never gave up trying right to the final whistle. We would also like to thank them for the excellent hospitality after the game, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many ham sandwiches! We will look forward to the return fixture in a few months. Hopefully it won’t be as wet.
The lads started off slowly, but once they adapted to the conditions, they played well and executed the game plan. The defence was good today and gave the opposition no time on the ball. The tackling was also good with the first up tackle count being very high. These two elements show that work in training is paying off. Today in attack we saw a different aspect to the game, with a more controlled and thoughtful attack which did well to identify the space and exploit it. We still have several things we would like to see improve but that’s why we train, to make our game better. Constantly self-criticising and working together to improve our overall game.
Good to see plenty of singing on the bus on the way home, as both Shane O’Kane
and Jamie Doherty
follow in the footsteps of those before them, by signing a solo on the home journey. Not the worst team initiation you could have. That coupled with some joint renditions, or should I say “squawking” of some popular “mountain” music, with both U16’s and U14’s joining in. It can only get better!