Donegal Town U-13s had a few anxious final minutes as they held on to reach the Ulster final of the U-13 Plate competition.
Donegal reach Ulster final
DONEGAL T RFC U-13s 21
NEWRY RFC u-13s 14
The Donegal boys were worthy winners as they led 21-0 with five minutes left, but then conceded two late tries to the visitors.
The start was delayed for referee Paul Martin to make the short journey from Donegal Town to the Holmes, but once it began the Donegal boys began to dominate. Indeed from the kick-off prop Patrick Ford set off for the Newry line and was held up just short.
They were camped in the Newry half but there was 15 minutes on the clock before they got the breakthrough. From a penalty Tom O’Grady set up and when he was held up short, flanker Dan Meehan was on his shoulder to pick up and drive over for the first try and Thomas McGowan added the extra points for a 7-0 lead.
It was obvious from the beginning that the Newry threat was from their Polish centre and captain, Casper, but each time he set up, the Donegal boys were lining up to bring him to ground with Gareth Lipsett and David Woods leading by example.
Despite having most of the pressure, Newry limited the Donegal boys to just one try in the opening half. The Donegal boys were just over anxious at times and gave away numerous penalties for hands in the ruck.
But ten minutes into the second half, the second try arrived and it was a score to match any occasion. Again it was from a penalty with Tom O’Grady who started the move but then outhalf Kevin Woods set off on a mazy run which took him through the Newry cover and he touched down under the posts to make the conversion a formality for Thomas McGowan.
Five minutes later and Donegal looked assured of a final place when Tom O’Grady broke clear through the cover on a great run and again touched down close to the posts for McGowan to add the points and a 21-0 lead.
But the Donegal Town boys were also handed a lesson in the final minutes as they let their performance level drop and Newry got in for two quick tries, Ryan McPartland scoring both.
Donegal Town were worthy winners and in No. 8 Tom O’Grady, they had the outstanding player on view. His defensive tackling was copybook and he was also at the fulcrum of all of Donegal Town’s attacking.
He was ably assisted by an impressive front row while Kevin Woods also impressed at outhalf.
Donegal Town will now meet Rainey in the Ulster final on Saturday week, 21st April at a neutral venue yet to be decided.
Donegal Town: Matthew McClay, Cian McGrath, Patrick Ford, Thomas McGowan, Karl Finnerty, Conal Timoney, Dan Meehanm, Tom O’Grady, John Relihan, Kevin Woods, Liam Smith, Gareth Lipsett, David Woods, Geoff Murray, Freddie Cullen. Substitutes, Oisin Reid for Finnerty; Dermot McGlynn for Smith; Rossa Doherty.
Referee: Paul Martin (Donegal Town)