There was heartbreak for Donegal Town U-13 RFC team as they went down in the final of the Ulster Plate competition to a late try from Rainey RFC.
Donegal Town RFC 7
Rainey Old Boys RFC 12
Played at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown, conditions were perfect for rugby with just a slight breeze coming from the Cookstown end of the field. Towy Neale was the organising Ulster official on the day and should be commended on the excellent venue and organisation on the day.
Donegal played with the breeze in the first half and used this to advantage with some fine kicking from Thomas Mc Gowan pinning Rainey back in their own half. Rainey defended well and made some good advances into Donegal’s half and put their defence under pressure, which they handled well. Prop Matthew Mc Clay had to come off with a blood injury and was replaced by Rossa Doherty coming in at scrum half with John Relihan moving to hooker and Cian Mc Grath moving to prop Donegal were first to get on the scoreboard with a well worked try under the posts from out-half Kevin Woods after almost twenty minutes. Thomas Mc Gowan duly converted to give Donegal a 7 points to nil advantage, which they held at half time.
Rainey started the second half better and had a handle on the Donegal danger men. The wind now had picked up and was favouring the Rainey side making it difficult for Donegal to get much relief from their kicking. Both Kevin and David Woods, Dan Meehan, Gareth Lypsett and Tom O’Grady were not given the space they enjoyed in the first half. Blood sub Matthew Mc Clay went back on the field replacing Cian Mc Grath.
After fifteen minutes of sustained pressure the Rainey out-half scored a superb try after out foxing the Donegal backs with some fine evasive running. The Rainey hooker failed to convert this try. Now with the score 7 points to 5 points it was game on. Donegal had a couple of chances to penetrate the Rainey defence but some basic handling errors let them down. Rainey on the other hand did not panic and kept the pressure on the Donegal defence and were rewarded on the last minute of play when their number 8 got in for a try, which was duly converted. The referee blew full time at the restart. Heartbreak for the Donegal lads.
Donegal had good performances from prop Patrick Forde, second row Karl Finnerty and flanker Conal Timoney who succeeded in making life difficult for the Rainey pack with their constant tackling and harassing.
Wingers Oisin Reid and Jack Murray were always available to carry the ball. Full back Freddy Cullen also worked hard as the last line of defence. Liam Smith and Dermott Mc Glynn should also be commended for their contribution.
The squad should be commended for their commitment they showed this year playing in 19 competitive games and training on 22 occasions. Their record of 16 wins, one draw and two losses is also to be commended. Well done lads on a fine season.
Donegal U13 Team: Conal Timoney, David Woods, John Relihan, Jack Murray, Oisin Reid, Freddy Cullen, Gareth Lypsett, Liam Smith, Karl Finnerty, Dan Meehan, Kevin Woods (Captain), Patrick Forde, Cian Mc Grath, Dermott Mc Glynn, Rossa Doherty, Thomas Mc Gowan, Tom O’Grady, Matthew Mc Clay.