Virginia RFC U16s March On Towards Ulster South Success
Virginia RFC U16s welcomed Donegal Town RFC to The Deerpark last Saturday. The visitors were in a rich vein of form, including notching up a recent victory v title rivals Enniskillen RFC so a close encounter was expected, especially with the hosts shorn of three 1st XV regulars.
Virginia where up against a physically imposing pack so knew they would have the most success out wide. Captain Evan Charters, Jamie Osbourne, and Aaron Hawthorne once again anchored a solid scrummaging performance giving Jason Henderson the opportunity to get the backs on the front foot. A blistering start saw two early trys from Mark Gilsenan and Aaron Mannion, both converted by Martin O’Connell to open up a 14-0 lead. Donegal however had come to play and used their strong running forwards to gain territory before exploiting some poor defence to narrow the gap with a try of their own. The visitors continued to press, but great tackling from Aaron Kierans, Michael McKeon-Boyle, and the excellent Callum Finane stemmed the tide, and aggressive work at the breakdown from Robert Lochaden and Cai Walker saw Virginia push their way into Donegal territory. The constant pressure told on Donegal as the half wore on, with Adrian Lynch touching down, and Paddy Gordon scoring a 1st half hatrick. Three further conversions from Martin giving Virginia a 40-5 lead at the break.
The second half began as a close affair, with a valiant Donegal determined to give a good account of themselves despite the scoreline. Virginia held firm though, with Ibykan Ajetummobi giving a good account of himself in the second row, and after some great running lines from Niall Carolan again worked their way into the opposition half. Aaron Mannion added a second try, before an excellent sniping break from the newly introduced Adam Sherriff took the game away from the visitors, Martin again adding the extras from both trys. Virginia rolled out further substitutions, and the disruption gave Donegal a chance to claw their way back onto the scoresheet, the players showing great character and deservedly adding two converted trys of their own. Credit too though to the rest of the Virginia bench, David Gibney, Connor Kennison, Callum Caswell, and the debut making Gearoid Fitzpatrick, who reorganised and had the last word. Adam Charters once again showed great footwork to split the Donegal defence to score under the posts, the final conversion this time came from the foot of Aaron Mannion making the full time score 61-19.
That’s now 12 wins from 12 games for Virginia, who visit 2nd Place Enniskillen next week looking to cement their place at the top of the Ulster League South Section.
Virginia RFC U14s Keep Up Winning Run
Virginia U14s welcomed Donegal Town RFC for round 12 of Ulster Carpets South League. With many Changes to the starting line up it was a test of depth of the squad, and it has to be said they all stepped up and passed with flying colours.
The game started off with both sets of forwards battling it out to gain the upper hand. With intense rucking from Nathan Tobin, Cathal O’Reilly, and Kieran Duffy, and some bruising runs from Darren Kavanagh and Luke Morris, Thomas Sheridan was over the line twice in the first 10 Minutes. With the Backs were also getting involved in the action, holding Donegal at bay with big tackles from Cormac Monaghan, Ciaran Levi-Valensi, and Alfie Jackson, Virginia were always in control. Quick ball off the ruck from Oscar Erickson put debutante Jack Carroll into space for his first try. Our other Debutante Ryan Maloney was introduced to the second row and immediately made his presences felt doing some great work at the breakdown,resulting in Mark Gibney getting over for the last try in the first half giving the home side a 24-0 lead.
The second Half was just as intense with end to end action, Virginia again striking first through a Diarmuid O’Reilly try closely followed by Donal Maguire crashing over for another. Donegal were next to strike with a blistering run from their familiar looking no 13 to score in the corner. Virginia weren’t going to let the visitors get a foothold in the game though, with more big tackles coming in from Ben Curran, Nathan Finane, and Malachy Walker closing them down in the back line. Soon Jack was able to get his second try, and Thomas capped it off by completing his hattrick, two conversions making the full time score to 41-5.
12 wins from 12 matches means they currently lead the Ulster League U14s South Section with a trip next Saturday to Enniskillen RFC.