Letterkenny Rugby Club 1sts let a half-time lead slip against Belfast High School Former Pupils at the weekend.
Letterkenny 1st XV 22
Belfast HSFP 1st XV 28
Report by Jeremy Worth
Letterkenny started poorly and conceded an early try with some loose defensive play. They then recovered and started to apply huge pressure to BHSFP and scored two tries through excellent driving play and hard running through the centres. Michael Foy scored a brace of tries and Letterkenny went in at the interval leading 17 - 10.
Unfortunately, despite the intention to raise the tempo of the game further, the Belfast team hit back and scored a try under the posts through some excellent back play to level the game at 17 - 17 and the pressure was on. Letterkenny’s scrum started to crack and we were suddenly losing our own scrum ball leading to several turn overs and more attacks form BHSFP. Another try resulted this time from a break through the centres which was unconverted putting the score at 17 - 22 and then soon followed up with a penalty and the game was starting to slip away.
Letterkenny did rally with a superb try from Liam McGlynn (unconverted) to bring the margin back to 3 point but another penalty took BHSFP clear by 6 points and they held on until the end. This was a hard fought game between the two best teams in the league and on balance the Belfast team deserved their win for their ability to play for 80 minutes and come from behind in the second half. Letterkenny did respond and even to the last second could have stolen it. However it was not to be.
Letterkenny: 1. C Digimas (C) 2. M Foy 3. R Clarke 4. C Dunleavy 5. C Long 6. G Canning 7. L McGlynn 8. C Clarke 9. S Devine 10. B Robinson 11. M Gibson 12. C McNichol 13. JA McFadden 14. E Friel 15. C Curran.
2nd XV show determination in tough encounter
Letterkenny 2nd XV 26
Limavady 3rd XV 22
Report by Conor Lawless
Letterkenny 2nds made the difficult trip away to face Limavady 3rds in what is always one of the most difficult encounters of the season. With five of the ‘Kenny players making their rugby debuts it was always going to be tough against the experience of the Limavady team.
From kick off ‘Kenny put on the pressure with the pack driving up the middle gaining ground with each try. The pressure paid off after 10 minutes, when ‘Kenny got the ball to the backs and centre Ladi Yuno handed off 3 defenders to break through for a try.
From that point though ‘Kenny were on the defensive for the rest of the half with Limavady using their strong back line to break through and gain yards. They succeeded in getting 3 tries one of which was converted before the half time whistle was blown. Half time score Limavady 17- Letterkenny 5.The Letterkenny men came back out in the 2nd half determined not to let this game slip away. They took up where they started by continually crashing through the Vady defence dragging in defenders before getting the ball to one of the new recruits on the wing Paul McLoughlin who ran in a try underneath the posts.
A conversion from out half Stephen Robinson gave ‘Kenny a major lift and they knew they were back in the game. Another superb break shortly after this saw prop Morris run 3 quarters of the pitch fending off 4 Limavady players along the way before been taken down 5 metres from the try line. This pressure continued for ‘Kenny before up stepped Liam ‘the Beast’ McLoughlin for 2 tries in succession beneath the posts beating multiple defenders along the way. Both of these were converted by Robinson. But Limavady weren’t about to give up.
They kept ‘Kenny on the defensive for the final 10 minutes and with 4 minutes to go were awarded with a try on the wing. A missed conversion left it with 4 points between the teams and 3 minutes to go.
From the restart Limavady again drove up the middle. The ‘Kenny defence was superb and held the line before a penalty was awarded on the 5 metre line with 30 seconds on the clock. Limavady took a quick penalty giving the ball to a big 2nd row who powered over the line, but was held up by tackler Lawless, so he was unable to ground the ball. Time was up after that play and there was some relief and a lot of battered bodies after a great display from ‘Kenny.
Letterkenny: 1. S Morris 2. J McElmeel 3. D McElmeel 4. L McLoughlin 5. K McElmeel 6. C Lawless (C) 7. D Ogunyoye 8. S McDowell 9. D Gallagher 10. S Robinson 11. P McLoughlin 12. L 13. C Peterson 14. E Mulrennan 15. M Doherty.
Next week see’s the 1st XV return to Cup action as they travel to Derry YMCA for a local derby.
The 2nd XV have no game.