AGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!! City Of Derry RFC I XV 27 v Greystones RFC I XV 24 – Judges Road Buzzes With A Bonus Point Spectacular! Report & 56 Action Shots

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City of Derry Rugby Club produced one of the most dramatic finishes ever seen at Judges Road on Saturday last to defeat Greystones in their All Ireland League Division 2A fixture. Derry were behind by 24pts to 20pts with just over five minutes into injury time already played. Derry won possession inside the Greystones half and so started the last play of the game that had the home supporters taken to levels of excitement and anticipation never witnessed before on that field. The play moved slowly forward from one side of the field to the other and twenty phases of play later with exhausted bodies on the deck all over the place Man of the Match Chris Barber produced once more. He spotted a gap in midfield then half stumbled but had enough gas in the tank to get up and sprint in from 20 meters to touch down between the posts to wild scenes of adulation from his fellow team mates and high fives all round from an ecstatic home crowd.
Click Here for 56 Action Shots Courtesy of Bernard Doherty Digital Photography
The conditions at Judges Road as the game started were poor with driving wind and rain but Derry had the advantage of the elements. Greystones started brightly but were rocked back on 6 minutes when Richard McCarter intercepted a loose pass along their backline to stroll in from 20 meters to touch down for a try between the posts, he converted himself to give Derry a 7pts to nil lead.

Greystones played themselves back into the game with some sparkling rugby that saw powerful play from their forwards and great movement from their backs. Derry’s tackling all over the pitch at this time left a lot to be desired but especially close to the breakdown as Greystones continually get in behind the Derry defense. The Wicklow men had a purple patch for 12 minutes that almost blew Derry away and it looked like the game was going to be put to bed there and then.

Firstly on 14 minutes the Greystones out half Ross Spillane found their exciting winger Ronan Carroll virtually on the touchline in their own half and two miss tackles later and Carroll had touched down in the corner and with full back Andrew Kealy converting the sides were level at 7pts all. Ten minutes later a miss tackle close to a ruck in the Greystones half allowed Spillane to make a fantastic break and when he drew the last man Kealy was on his shoulder to score an unconverted try out wide on the left and Greystone lead by 12pts to 7pts. Derry received a further blow when they lost star man Peter Henderson with a finger injury for the remainder of the game.

Twenty six minutes were gone and another miss tackle in midfield allowed Kealy to make the breakthrough and that man Carroll was on hand once again to touch down in the right corner for an unconverted try and a 17pts to 7pts lead for Greystones. Derry eventually pulled themselves together and some decent possession restored confidence and with Chris Shields, Captain Sam McAuley and Sam Duffy dominating at scrum time the backs were being brought more into the game. The possession was all Derry’s as half time approached and strong driving from David Houston, Brian Prue, Stephen Corr and his fellow back row players Stephen Duffy and Richard Baird had Greystones trying to slow down the play. It was no surprise when their second row Billy Norman was sin binned and Richard McCarter kicked the resultant penalty and Derry were behind by 10pts to 17pts at the break.

Derry needed half time for Coaches Bevan Lynch and Mark Nicholl to sort out their defensive frailties and once done the Judges Road men dominated possession throughout the second half. Derry were right back in the game with just 6 minutes gone when Richard Peoples won possession and Mark Walker who was having a great game on his return to the team made a decisive break. Greystones were on the back foot and scrum half Andrew Semple picked quick ball from the breakdown and using winger Simon Logue as decoy he skipped in for a lovely unconverted try out near the left touchline, Derry were just down by 15pts to 17pts.
Greystones came right back at Derry but great defensive play from Ryan Campbell, Adam Bratton, Chris Barber, Cathal Cregan and Gareth Beattie did not allow them through on a number of occasions. The Greystones out half Spillane produced a bit of magic on 14 minutes when there was no way through the Derry defense

on the ground and he went the aerial route and chipped the defense for Andrew Kealy to field and touch down for their bonus point try which he converted himself and Greystones lead was 24pts to 15pts.

It was all Derry for the last 25 minutes of the game as the wind and rain stopped. They piled the pressure on Greystones and two series of scrums on their line saw prop Neil O’Brien sent to the bin after 23 minutes with the crowd baying for a penalty try on both occasions following repeated collapses and penalties awarded. Greystones stay of execution was only temporary as Derry pushed on for more, a few great lineout takes against the throw by Brian Prue assured quality possession for the home team. Twenty seven minutes had gone and McCarter was centre to everything positive from Derry, he made a break and when he found Ryan Campbell in support a massive hand off later and an offload by Campbell to Josh Lewis on the wing the result was an unconverted and Derry were behind by 20pts to 24pts.

Derry were throwing everything at Greystones as time was running out and the tackle count from the Wicklow men was reaching very high numbers. Derry were pinged by the referee for holding onto the ball in the tackle on three occasions when a try looked on following multiple phases each time. The intensity of Derry’s play had the crowd right behind them as time ticked close to the end of normal time. McCarter once again set Chris Barber through 40 meters out with Stephen Corr in support and a try looked nailed on but from nowhere Carroll produced a cover tackle to stop the play with a knock on from Derry.

Greystones won the scrum and tried to play pick and drive rugby to kill the game but Derry isolated the ball carrier eventually and a hurried kick relieved the pressure. This Derry team doesn’t know when they are beaten and will not accept defeat. They have confidence in their own and one another’s ability and their fitness is a credit to their coaches. When there is trust in one another to perform the impossible is always possible for this group and once again they pulled the game out of the fire following a loose kick out of defense by Greystones that initiated the last play of the game and a memorable bonus point victory for Derry by 27pts to 24pts.

City of Derry RFC Team V Greystones: Chris Shields, Sam McAuley, Sam Duffy, David Houston, Brian Prue, Stephen Corr, Stephen Duffy, Richard Baird, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, Simon Logue, Ryan Campbell, Chris Barbour, Adam Bratton, Peter Henderson. Replacements: Cathal Cregan, Gareth Beatty, Mark Walker, Richard Peoples, Josh Lewis.

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