Action from Donegal Town v City of Derry Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Donegal Town 2XV continued their good run with a home victory over table toppers City of Derry. Derry came into the match unbeaten. However, second place Donegal Town also have the league title in their sights and they welcomed the challenge and the opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table.
Donegal Town 2XV 18
City of Derry 3XV 17
Played in breezy conditions Donegal Town dominated possession in the early exchanges with the pack dominant in the scrum and making good ground keeping ball close. Derry opened the scoring in the 10th minute, against the run of play. Following a spell in the opposition 22 the Derry full back intercepted a loose pass and scored a breakaway try under the posts, which was unconverted.
Donegal dusted themselves off and again began to use big ball carriers to dominate possession and camp within the Derry 22. Donegal crossed the whitewash on two occasions with Derry managing to hold the ball up. With pressure mounting Derry began to give away penalties, desperate to slow Donegal’s ball. From a quick tap penalty scrum half Morrow found a willing runner to crash over for the equaliser on the 30th minute, also unconverted.
Donegal had the wind advantage in the second half and once again dominated possession in the early exchanges. Once again Morrow opted to use big ball carriers, captain Ciaran ‘Future’ Harley making some good ground. Following repeated infringements inside the 5m line the referee awarded Donegal a penalty try, 12-5. Derry showed why they are top of the table and slowly began to come into the game - their lineout causing Donegal some problems.
Following some pressure Derry scored in the corner on the 60th minute unconverted. Donegal once again began to play good territory keeping ball in hand and away from a lethal Derry back 3. With pressure mounting Derry’s discipline once again let them down and Donegal converted a penalty on the 71st minute, 15-10.
Derry once again showed their class and put Donegal under serious pressure. Following some sustained pressure Derry managed to steal a Donegal lineout and score under the posts on the 78th minute, converted 15-17. A disappointed Donegal out on their feet had to show some real character to win a penalty on the halfway line following another Derry infringement.
With the last play of the game and Derry’s lineout dominating, Donegal opted to run the ball. Phase by phase yard by yard Donegal slowly marched up the field; Morrow using every available body, both backs and forwards to carry. Derry also out on their feet gave away penalty after penalty and once Donegal got in kicking range they opted for the posts and converted the penalty to take the win in the most dramatic fashion.
A fine team performance from a Donegal side which continue to improve through the season.
Training continues on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with plenty of rugby left to play this season.
SEE THURSDAY'S DONEGAL DEMOCRAT FOR FULL COVERAGE