City of Derry RFC U14s vs Omagh Accies Match Report
By Louis Fields
Omagh prove too strong for a changed Derry side
Omagh U14s 39 – 17 City of Derry U14s
On Saturday 22nd September, City of Derry U14s made the early trip to Omagh Rugby Club for a 10.45am kickoff. Several changes were made from last week’s team-sheet, allowing some players to display their versatility and abilities in new positions.
Damp conditions offered Derry no favours from the beginning, as the ball caught from the opening kick became dislodged forward from Derry hands, and thus Omagh were awarded a penalty. Though missed, this provided no respite for Derry, as the following minutes saw a strong break come from Omagh’s backline through a gap in a porous defence. While centre Niall Quigly was able to catch the player just short of the line, and the ball seemed to tumble forward, a try was awarded to bring Omagh to an early lead. Tempers flared from the sidelines, causing the referee to stop play for a short time, yet players from both sides showed their maturity in the situation by keeping their composure. Omagh 5 – 0 Derry.
From here, Omagh exposed weaknesses in the breakdown, and a few turnover balls in dangerous areas lead to another try soon following the last, along with the conversion points bringing them to a 12-point advance on Derry. Mistakes plagued play for the boys in green and black in the early sections, losing possession in the lineout, resulting in another try from some unopposed wide channels. Omagh 17 - Derry 0. Derry were slow to react to this as they allowed another two tries to materialise within the next few minutes, 32-0 and still in the first half of the game.
Derry heads stayed cool in the face of such a turbulent challenge, which paid off as they fought for possession and ground. The ever-consistent Ben Biernat
took matters in to his own hands as he broke through the defence for a strong run to score his side’s first points. Rejuvenated, a fightback looked imminent.
Before too long, eager to improve matters in the closing minutes of the first half, Number 8 Marc Craig
performed a bulldozing run from the breakdown which a multitude of players swarming to him couldn’t deny. With a successful conversion by try-scorer Biernat, Derry ended the half with a 20-point deficit they looked keen to close. Omagh 32 – 12 Derry.
The second half was much more closely contested, as Derry rallied in on their faults to deny Omagh much ground or possession. Derry’s scrum was as dominant as last week, even with positions changed from he first half. Lochlainn Jennings
moved from the flanks to full-back, putting in a performance which prompted opposition fans to audibly commend. Confidence in tackling in the team had spread too, with prop Joel Doherty
causing problems for players of all sizes coming against him, and winger Jamie Palmer
denying several runs in the wide channels. The mounting attack from Derry lead to Quigly making an uncatchable run to gain an extra 5 points; Omagh 32 – Derry 17.
The tables were soon turned, however, when Omagh matched a few minutes later with 7 points of their own. Derry were denied a try as Fionn Melarkey
was held up, but got retribution as Oisin Sweeny
caught his opposite number down the wing with his fingertips to deny the try, and saw the end of the match; Omagh 39 – Derry 17
Another fiercely contested match, in which Derry were able to exhibit that they are learning from many of the mistakes made last week. However, it is showing that a few recurring issues can become exploited by opposition, resulting in a score which doesn’t reflect what occurred on the pitch.
Captain – Cormac Kelly
Man of the Match – joint Jamie Palmer
and Ben Biernat