U14 can't match Rainey OB
By Louis Fields
City of Derry RFC U14 Match Report
City of Derry RFC U14 Match Result
(vs Rainey OB, 27/10/18)
City of Derry U14s 17 – 41 Rainey OB U14s.
Derry hoped to continue their string of victories at home on Saturday, but knew that the Mid-Ulster travelling team would be their toughest test yet. With three vital players unavailable for selection through injuries and other reasons, they had to dig deep and step up to the task.
Two evenly balanced squads met on what began as a sunny, but damp and cold day at Judge’s Road. Right from kick-off, there were rucks and breakdowns where both sides offered strong fight, and any runs were met with an immobilsing tackle. Early on, possession in the ruck always appeared to be on Derry’s side. Unfortunately, any break or pass to break the opposition gainline was amiss. First blood came from Rainey within the first five minutes who, from midfield after some weak defence from the home team, did finally break through to cross the try-line unscathed, followed with a conversion from right in front of the sticks, 0-7.
Derry took this in their stride and started dishing out some try-saving tackles as Rainey often round our boys, with Niall Quigley, Marc Craig, Chris McCann and Cormac Kelly all showing strong commitment to catch and bring down opposition. Fechin Kelly’s pressure from the line was note at the breakdowns, often disrupting opposition play. While Derry seemed to have most possession in the following portions, the gain line was rarely breached, and most importantly the try-line failed to be reached. This seemed to become a recurring theme for the boys in green and black - lots of possession, but no cigar.
A quality rip and drive from Craig, and a cruncher of a tackle from Quigley, were noted. While defensive endeavours were much improved, and an attempt at holding the ball up by McCann, it wasn’t enough to stop Rainey from scoring following a lineout in the corner, but solace provided as they missed the conversion. 0-12 to the visitors.
Further pressure at the breakdowns continued to see Derry win the ball more, however a reprisal of the theme saw them unable to break or ultimately meet the try area. While Derry were too concentrated around the ball at times they should have been marking opposition, a ready and spread Rainey backline ran rings around Derry’s unprepared defence who, while committed in running from the other side of the pitch, could not catch up with the blistering pace. 0-17.
After a hard slog, improved and reinvigorated playing saw Derry win turnover ball and some possession, which led to a try by Conor Cassidy who pushed hard through a holding-tackle, earning enough space to reach out toward the line with pressure on the ball, closing the gap by 5-17.
The first half drew to a close with mounting pressure on Derry, but yet another score from Rainey, and conversion, widened the gap again further to 5-24. Played stopped for an extended length as McCann was unfortunately injured with a precarious tackle, knocking heads with his tackler and was removed as a precautionary measure, replaced by Daelan Kelly, making his under-14s debut at the death of the first half.
The second half greeted players and specators with the arrival of sleet and rain, a sudden drop in temperature, proving to be pathetic fallacy for what would follow for the home side. A number of high tackles from both sides were challenged which resulted in a slight delay in play, but normal service resumed after fair warning from the referee.
Andrew Clarke was introduced for Joel Doherty, as further usage of the bench was considered. A swift move from halfway saw Rainey score a try and conversion before Derry knew what was going past them. Niall Mooney soon replaced Brian Mulli to replenish the front row. A see-saw of power and possession took place in the following minutes, but a high tackle by Craig resulted in a yellow card and ten minutes in the sin bin. Rainey tried to take optimal advantage of the extra man, scoring three consecutive tries within minutes, and a conversion, due to the numerical imbalance. 5-41
The reduced numbers didn’t always play against Derry’s favour, as a breakdown with Rainey possession was topple, the ball passed to Zach Deans, who made a detemined run, beating three defenders, and set course for the corner of the pitch; an incredibly ambitious and well-struct conversion kick from the left wing by Donnchadh Roarty fell just short, leaving the scores 10-41.
As Craig’s 10 minute penance timed-out, he entered back into the fray – determined to make up for his wrongs, catches the ball from a returning kick at his own 10-m line, and with rested legs makes a lightning-fast pace forward, beating numerous defenders and scoring a great try by swinging round and touching down under the posts - certainly a contender for the try of the game. The resulting conversion brought Derry closer to their rivals, at 17-41.
At this point, Derry were clearly tired and aware of their impending loss but showed great character as they fought back against an equally tired Rainey. A great game, where the Mid-Ulster boys took their chances when presented. However, and more positively, the result was much better than the drubbing taken last year (especially considering the players absent on the day). Many positives came out the day, and pinpointed what will be worked on. Many thanks all round to the club and Rainey for a great game.
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