Donegal Town RFC off to great start with big win in Forster Cup over Lisburn

Hugh Morrow


Hugh Morrow

Donegal Town RFC off to great start with big win in Forster Cup over Lisburn

Donegal Town RFC

Donegal Town powered past a traveling Lisburn side in a highly entertaining game at the Holmes in the Forster Cup.

Donegal Town 29

Lisburn 14

Played in poor handling conditions, Donegal dominated from start to finish. Management team of Jimmy Brogan and Lance Feaver were grinning like Cheshire cats by the end of the game as they saw the hard work in pre-season starting to show on the pitch.

From the start Lisburn received a warm Donegal welcome, with the Donegal pack carrying well in the loose and pinning the shell shocked opposition into their 22. Strong carries from Robert Hannifan, and Patrick Forde left the pack on the opposition line allowing scrum half Gareth McMurray to snipe to the line for 5 points - unconverted.

Donegal kept the pressure on with plenty of ball carriers up front, this time Shane McNulty going at the opposition like he would a well blocked drain and Ciaran ‘the future’ Harley tossing would be tacklers to the side like he would a wheelie bin. These penetrating runs created plenty of holes in the opposition defence. The energetic Alex Boyd exploited this by taking a good line and receiving the ball at pace to cross the line on the 12th minute for five points, again unconverted.

Lisburn soon adjusted to the furious pace of the game and played some territory of their own, using their wind advantage to kick to the corners. Donegal defended stoutly with some great tackling in midfield from Victor Mitchell and Gareth Marais and any loose ball was tidied up by back 3 David Giblin, Ernan Cassidy and Hugh Morrow.

However, after some indiscipline at the ruck, Donegal gave away a penalty on their 5m line on the 25th minute. From the penalty Donegal were caught cold and allowed the opposition to cross under the posts for a converted try, 10-7.

Donegal again began to turn the screw up front and worked their way into the opposition 22 by keeping ball in hand. Following some quick recycling at the breakdown flanker Dan Meehan picked at the base of the ruck and crossed the whitewash on the 35th minute, again unconverted. Half-time score 15-7.

Donegal started the second half with the same game plan, playing to the conditions, using strong runners, taking direct lines and wearing the opposition down. Donegal dominated the scrums while lineout thrower Keith Anderson made light work of the poor weather conditions. Following some good hard yards up front the Donegal pack sucked the opposition in allowing quick ball to be spread wide for Alex Boyd to cross for his second try on the 60th minute with outhalf Victor Mitchell adding the conversion.

Donegal introduced veteran David O’Neill for the final quarter and he was another willing runner, making yards with every carry. The game now began to open up with Donegal’s backs getting into it. Gareth Marias made some great ground at centre and provided an offload under pressure to Alex Boyd who, with the balance of a ballerina, acrobatically held onto the ball and beat a number of defenders to touch down under the posts for his third and Donegal’s fifth on the 75th minute, capping off a fine individual performance. Victor Mitchell with the conversion. Score 29-7

With the game over as a contest it became more open and Donegal allowed Lisburn back into it with a converted try in the final minutes.

The victory has come as no surprise from within this group as momentum has been building steadily in the previous weeks with team captain Ernan Cassidy expecting more of the same in the coming weeks.

Team: Rob Hannifan, Keith Anderson, Ciaran Harley, Shane McNulty, Cormac Gallagher, David Rea Corrigan, Dan Meehan, Patrick Forde, Gareth McMurray, Victor Mitchell, David Giblin, Gareth Marias, Alex Boyd, Hugh Morrow, Ernan Cassidy, David O’Neill.

Players are reminded that training continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays with some fantastic work from fitness coach Danny Hughes. New players, and old players, are more than welcome to join.

The club would like to extend sympathy to the O’Callaghan family on their recent bereavement.

The club would also like to extend congratulations to club player Campbell Classon on his inclusion on the Ulster A squad and wish him well for the upcoming season.