City Of Derry RFC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VICCTTTOOOORRRYYYYYYYY I XV 25 v Old Wesley 24 REPORT LIVE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! INCLUDES MASSIVE CLUB SUPPORT

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Old Wesley 24pts, City of Derry RFC 25pts
Match Report by; Moss Dineen
City of Derry Rugby Club got back to winning ways in Dublin last Saturday when they defeated Old Wesley by the narrowest of margins in their All Ireland League Fixture. There was an early 6.30am pitch inspection at Donnybrook on Saturday morning by a Leinster Branch official and despite the atrocious weather conditions of the previous few days the pitch was deemed playable. The conditions come game time were perfect with a slight breeze in glorious sunshine as Derry took the field to cheers from a massive travelling support that included the Clubs Under 13’s and Under 15’s who played earlier against Old Wesley and Sandford Park School respectively.
The early exchanges were brisk with both teams indicating an attacking intent from the off and Derry looked in determined mood to put the recent blip in form in the bin. It was Wesley who were first on the scoreboard as their first attack yielded a 40 meter penalty which their winger Barry McLaughlin easily converted with the slight breeze in his favour and the Dubliners were in front by 3pts to nil.
Derry were playing themselves back into the game with Jack Caithness at scrum half and Mark Robinson at out half linking nicely with David Funston and his centre partner Adam Bratton to create pressure. Captain David Funston made a great break inside the Wesley 22 on eight minutes and when stopped Jack Caithness got quick ruck ball and found Robinson who connected with Richard Baird 10 meters out and he found Paul McFeely in support to crash over for a great try and with Robinson converting Derry were in front by 7pts to 3pts. Derry were playing well now with Steven Dickey having a fine game with some outstanding tackling and ball carrying he got great support from his fellow back rowers Stephen Ferguson and Richard Baird.
Derry seemed to loose their way as the half progressed with aimless defensive kicking that gave away possession cheaply. Paul McFeely made a fine break on twenty minutes but lack of support thwarted a good opportunity. It was Wesley who were next on the scoreboard when McLaughlin kicked two penalties for offside on twenty six and thirty minutes to put the home team in front by 9pts to 7pts.
Wesley were having the better territorially as half time approached and they kicked a penalty for a 5 meter lineout on thirty six minutes. Derry were found sleeping at line out time as Wesley pulled one of their signature playbook moves with a quick throw to the front that saw second row Iain McGann stroll in for a try in the corner and converted by McLaughlin for a 16pts to 7pts lead. Derry were back on the attack from the kick off and when Wesley went off side to kill the ball, Robinson converted the resultant penalty and Wesley’s lead at half time was 16pts to 10pts.
Wesley started the second half with a bang and before Derry knew it full back and Captain Alan Large crowned his return from long-term injury with an unconverted try in the corner after two minutes to put his team in front by 21prs to 10pts. It looked a long way back for Derry but their resolve could not be questioned as they knuckled down to reduce the deficit. The pack were the catalyst for a come back as David Houston and Stephen Corr in the second row upped their game and with support from the front row of Chris Shields, David Ferguson, Paul McFeely and later Sam Duffy the foundation was set for a period of pressure.
Derry won a penalty on nine minutes and went for a 5 meter lineout, David Ferguson found Houston with his throw and a powerful forward drive saw Man of the Match Jack Caithness touch down for an unconverted try and the Judges Road men were back in the game 15pts to 21pts down. Wesley increased their lead with a penalty from McLaughlin on fifteen minutes while Robinson missed a difficult 45 meter shot at posts on twenty minutes and the Dubliners were ahead by 24pts to 15pts as the last quarter of the game arrived.
The remainder of the game belonged to Derry as Bob McKillop entered the fray and good play from Stephen Ferguson, Dickey and Corr produced go forward ball inside the Wesley half on twenty two minutes. Caithness switched play right to Robinson who found Davis Ferguson outside him and quick hands released David Houston to storm in from 30 meter to score a game changing try, Robinson converted from the touchline and Derry were just two points behind at 22pts to 24pts.
Wesley came back strong at Derry and tried to bulldoze their way with forward drives down the right side of the pitch. Derry infringed at the driving maul once too often and David Houston was sent to the sin bin on twenty five minutes. Wesley inextricably kicked the resultant penalty to touch when the reliable McLaughlin would surely have converted from 25 meters. Wesley would woo their decision as Derry turned over possession and with it their last foray into the Derry half.
Stephen Ferguson was now in full flight and with Baird, McKillop and Sam Duffy by his side it was all Derry pressure. A penalty following a line out 25 meters out saw Mark Robinson kick Derry in front on thirty two minutes by 25pts to 24pts. Houston was back from the bin and with a full complement of players Derry were now going for the juggler and a bonus point win. Wesley were struggling to stop the Derry Juggernaut and they lost their Captain Alan Large to the sin bin on thirty eight minutes. Derry opted for a 5 meter scrum for the resultant penalty but when the scrum collapsed first time, the Referee strangely gave a defensive penalty and a golden try opportunity was gone.
Wesley were also gone as a force and were unable to get out of the own half as the game entered injury time. Wesley coughed up two penalties 25 meters out in front of the posts in quick succession but both chances to increase the lead were scorned. The final whistle went and Derry’s quest for a top two finish in All Ireland League Division 2A was back on track as they moved into joint second in the league along with Queens and Barnhall behind leaders Galwegians whom Derry plays in their next game in Galway on Saturday week.
City of Derry RFC Team V Old Wesley: Chris Shields, David Ferguson, Paul McFeely, Stephen Corr, David Houston, Richard Baird, Stephen Dickey, Stephen Ferguson, Jack Caithness, Mark Robinson, Simon Logue, Adam Bratton, David Funston, William McCleery, Andrew Simple. Replacements: Cathal Cregan, Sam Duffy, Bob McKillop, Neil Burns, Josh Lewis.
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