Ballyshannon and Letterkenny rugby clubs had big wins at the weekend with Ballyshannon defeating Clogher Valley at home while Letterkenny defeated Tir Chonaill RFC.
Big home win for ‘Shannon
Clogher Valley 12
Ballyshannon rugby club secured another two valuable league points on the road when they travelled to Fivemiletown to take on Clogher Valley in the league. The team was bolstered by the return of out half and player/coach Ray Gallagher , No.8 Daragh Tyrell and veteran John McIntyre at scrum half.
Gallagher opened the scoring when he slotted over a penalty to go 3-0 ahead, this was swiftly followed by a great try after great hands through the back line saw Dom Gillespie go over in the corner, the conversion was missed but the Shannon lads were full of confidence at 8-0.
The enigmatic Mark Rooney scored the first of his two tries when he broke from the halfway line to score a great individual try, Gallagher added the conversion to put his side into comfortable 15-0 lead , however Clogher Valley responded well and crossed for a try of their one but missed the conversion.
Full-back Dara Keown who had an outstanding game added another great score after his pack recycled great possession and with another conversion by Gallagher went into the half time break at 22-5.
After the break it was back to business and it was the powerful running of Rooney at first centre that resulted in his sides fourth try which Gallagher again converted, Clogher Valley again responded well with another converted try but the game was put beyond reach when No. 8 Darragh Tyrell who has been a revelation this year scored a great try after he picked from a ruck and drove over which again Gallagher who could no wrong with the boot and sealed the win with a scoreline of 36-12. With four wins from four in the league “Shannon” will be hoping to continue their good form at home to Armagh at the Lakeside centre with a 2.30pm kick off. All local support would be greatly appreciated.
Saturday’s team was: John Gallagher, Alan Predergast, Paul Casidy (C), Darren Gillespie, Brian Killalea, Joe Gallagher, Richard Gallagher, Darragh Tyrell, John Mc Intyre, Ray Gallagher, Kealan Mc Nulty, Mark Rooney, Tom Rooney, Tom Dillon, Dominic Gillespie and Dara Keown. Subs used David Hoey, Shane O Donnell and Dermot Connolly.
Man of the match: Dara Keown
Tir Conaill RFC 0
Letterkenny RFC 2nd XV 52
The scoreline suggests that this was a very one sided game, but in fact it was an even game played in excellent sunny conditions, but with Letterkenny showing their rugby experience when it mattered, i.e. near the try line.
The match started with one of the quickest tries of the season, or any other season. So quick that half of the Letterkenny players didn’t know about it never mind myself, suffice to say that Gordon Grier used his pace to score a try in the corner, which Tony McBride failed to convert.
With this great start the home team were knocked back but they began to drive forward in both rucks and mauls and showed why they have won their last two games. With both Baska and Doogan having driven forward in a series of mauls, pressure was on the Letterkenny men, but with a break by McRory, followed up by Deery, Grier again flew in over the line for an excellent try, converted by McBride.
Further tries were scored by Daly, McNicholl and McBride before half time, all being converted by McBride
Tir Conaill started the second half as if they were going to sweep Letterkenny into the nearby Atlantic, when good runs by Doogan Doherty and Curran took the play deep into the visitors half, but from a brilliant breakout by Gallagher, who has to be on the verge of 1st XV rugby, play once again came towards the Tir Conaill line, from the resultant ruck, No8 Karl Egan forced his way over for a well taken try, conversion failed by McBride.
McBride was not to be beaten, and from a good break by Maxwell & Foy, Maxwell won the resultant lineout and McBride stepped his way over.
A great breakout, headed by Ward & Reynolds resulted once again with pressure on the letterkenny line, but inexperience let the home team down and the chance was lost. With time running out, a great run by Doherty followed up by Liam Fogarty led to McBride clinching his hat trick.
All in all, a good win for Letterkenny, but Tir Conaill should not be disappointed, as with a bit more playing experience, a lot of those tries would be prevented, remembering most of the Letterkenny team have been playing for 6-8 years
Letterkenny: J. McNicholl, G. Grier, S. Deery, C, Lawless, B. McRory, T. McBride, P. Daly, S.Patton D,Doherty, C. Runayne, B, Maxwell, R, O’Donnell(Capt), T. Gallagher, M. Foy, K. Egan. Subs P. Cassidy & J. Fogarty
Tir Conaill: A. O’Collg, G, Gallagher, J.P. Baska, F, Sweeney, J. Doogan, K. Curran, M. Doherty, S. Doogan, D. McGee, C. O’Dea, C. Shovelin, D. Reynolds, P. Gallagher, R. Ward, J. Greene, E. Doogan, H. Boyle, C. Noyle.