All Ireland League Division 2A
Bective Rangers V City of Derry RFC
Saturday 2nd November 2013 @ Donnybrook, Dublin. Kick-off; 2.30pm
By; Moss Dineen
City of Derry Rugby Club travel to play Bective in Dublin on Saturday at Donnybrook in their fourth All Ireland League Division 2A Fixture of the season with a 2.30pm Kick-off. Both teams won their respective fixtures in the AIL last Saturday with Derry winning their third game of the campaign to remain unbeaten and scoring a four try bonus point win over Naas by 30pts to 13pts. Bective recorded their first win of the season away to Bruff by 10pts to 9pts having gone under by the narrowest of margin at home to Seapoint and away to UCC by 13pts to 3pts in their previous AIL games.
City of Derry and Bective have been well matched over the years and have played all their games against one another in AIL Division 2 and 3. They have played each other nine times with six wins for the men from the North West. The first time they played one another was in the inaugural AIL Season 1993-1994 in Division 3 at Judges Road with Derry winning by 13pts to 9pts. The feature of the game was Derry were leading by 6pts to 5pts as injury time approached and the Bective winger Ben Kealy dropped a goal from 40m that fell under the bar but was awarded by the referee. Derry replied from the kick off with Neil Stewart eventually scoring a converted try in injury time for a famous Derry win.
The other outstanding game against Bective from a Derry perspective was in their first encounter in AIL 2 at Donnybrook in the season 1996-1997. Derry won that game by 11pts to 8pts thanks to a Liam McGettigan special moment of magic. Bective kicked off with time ebbing away after Derry had clawed themselves back into the game at 8pts to 6 pts down. Gavin Killeen caught the ball inside his own 22 metre line and passed to big Liam McGettigan who went on a mazy run fending off many tacklers with power and pace that saw him run over 100 metres and score an extraordinary try for another famous Derry win.
The last time Derry played Bective at Donnybrook was the season before last which they won by 36pts to 31pts with the Judges Road men always in front. Derry scored five try’s with Stephen Ferguson giving a Man of the Match performance, the try scorers for the North West men were Richard Baird, Chris Shields, Simon Logue, Chris Barber and Peter Henderson. Derry recorded a convincing five try win again over the Dubliners last season at Judges Road by 37pts to 10pts.
One of Bective’s famous players with a Derry connection was Cliff Morgan who died last August. The great Welsh Rugby player and Broadcaster got a job in Dublin in 1955 and walked into the Bective Clubhouse and asked for a game after being first capped in 1951 against Ireland and got playing opposite his own hero Irelands Jack Kyle. Morgan was an integral part of the successful 1955 British Lions tour to South Africa. During that tour, in which the Test series was drawn 2–2, Morgan distinguished himself for his marshalling of a talented Lions backline that included Jeff Butterfield and Arthur Smith in the centre, with Irelands Cecil Pedlow and Tony O’Reilly on the wings. Morgan’s try in the first Test at Ellis Park, in front of a then world-record crowd of 100,000, helped secure a sensational 23–22 victory at the end of a match that some still consider the most exciting ever played. Morgan was guest speaker at City of Derry Rugby Club’s Centenary Dinner in 1981 when Harry Curtis was President, Brain Mooney Coach and Ian Crowe Captain.
Derry will travel to Dublin on Saturday on the back of a seven game unbeaten run in all competitions but they will have to be at their very best to beat a team who are capable of defeating anyone at home. Bective have a big abrasive pack who proved their worth against Bruff down in Limerick last Saturday. That victory will have given them confidence as they now have their season up and running after an unlucky loss at home in their last AIL fixture. Derry Coaches Mark Nicholl and Ashley Blair will be well aware that that victory in Dublin will not come easily and unless the team’s physicality and intensity at the breakdown is right Bective will captalise on any weakness. The Judges Road men have been playing well while working hard at defence and with personnel in the team who are game changers, this gives them the ability to beat anyone in AIL Division 2A.
City of Derry RFC Team V Bective: Neil Burns, Simon Logue, David Funston, Chris Barber, Josh Lewis, Richard McCarter, Andy Semple, Chris Shields, David Ferguson, Sam Duffy, Chris Cooper, Stephen Corr, Adam Bratton, Richard Baird, Stephen Ferguson. Replacements; Sam McAuley, Paul McFeely, Jonny Lyons, Ryan Campbell, Adam Parke.