City of Derry RFC II XV 21 v Omagh RFC I XV 25: Towns Cup Thriller!

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City of Derry Rugby Club 2nd XV entertained Omagh 1st XV in the first round of the Towns Cup on Saturday last at Judges Road. City of Derry started well and pressurised Omagh in the opening 15 minutes with Stephen Corr and Stepehen Ferguson to the fore making strong runs but had only the scant reward of a Richard Peoples penalty after 3 minutes due to some good defense from the visitors.

Omagh leveled the score a minute later when full back Ward kicked a penalty after Derry were caught offside at a ruck. Derry had the opportunity to take the lead midway through the half when a good back line move had the line at their mercy only for the final pass to be dropped with the defense beaten.

The home side eventually got rewarded for their pressure when Jonny Lyons stole ball at the back of a line out and fed centre Davy Graham, Graham made good ground before releasing winger Rudi Moore to run in from 40 meters for a try converted by Peoples to give the home team a 10pts to 3pts lead.

Omagh replied with a penalty seven minutes later following a Derry infringement at a ruck. On the half hour mark Derry received a setback when no 8 Ferguson was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.However, even with 14 players, Derry managed to gain a penalty which Peoples converted from 35 meters just before the break and Derry led 13-6 at the interval.

Early in the second half the Omagh pack, who were dominant in the scrums throughout, secured good ball and scored a well worked try under the posts converted by fullback Ward to level the score at 13pts all.

The Omagh team now had their tails up and this coupled by some poor decision making by Derry allowed them to gain territory and possession which lead to them taking the lead for the first time in the game with a second converted try for 20pts to 13prs lead.

David Smith, who had moved to out half for the injured Peoples, reduced the deficit to 20pts to 16pts with a well struck penalty from 35 meters on the half hour only for Omagh to increase their lead with a well worked unconverted try on 32 minutes.

Derry rallied well and had their best spell since the early part of the game, stringing together good phases of play only to be kept out by a strong, well drilled Omagh defense.

With the last move of the game Derry eventually broke down the Omagh defense and winger Steven Brennan scampered over for an unconverted try but it was too little too late and when the referee blew the final whistle it was Omagh celebrated progressing to the next round on a 25pts to 21pts scoreline.

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