City Of Derry RFC Notes: I XV 36 v Seapoint RFC I XV 25!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Report LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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City of Derry Rugby Club travelled to play Seapoint in South Dublin on Saturday last in their second Ireland League Fixture of the season and came away with a bonus point victory when they outscored their opponents by six try’s to three. Derry had suffered a surprise defeat at home to UCC in their first AIL fixture by 45pts to 15pts and travelled to Dublin with a degree of intrepidation having been beaten by Seapoint in their last three meetings. The “season” was possible on the line for the City of Derry but the players were well up for the challenge. Coaches Mark Nicholl and Ashley Blair would have been proud of their charges who showed a resolve and will to win that was all consuming. They scored two spectacular try’s in the last ten minutes to come from behind and win by 11ptts.
The conditions were perfect for rugby on a sunny autumnal afternoon as the Sugarloaf Mountains looked on in the background. Derry started with plenty aggression but it was Seapoint who were first on the scoreboard when their out half Peter Lydon slotted over a penalty. Derry were right back on attack from the kick-off when Tom Patton fielded a great ball on the run to setup great field position and Seapoint infringed but Richard McCarter hit the post from a penalty in front of posts.
It was all Derry territorially but confidence was low as a carry over from last week. The backline were very static and with Seapoint showing quick line speed in defence and targeting Captain David Funston it was difficult for Derry to break the line. Andrew Semple at scrum half was frustrated as despite all the possession his forwards and backs were at sixes and sevens with their play being very fractured. Seapoint broke Derry’s stranglehold on twelve minutes but three outstanding quick fire tackles from Simon Logue on his own 22 metre line thwarted their progress. Logue was playing like a man inspired with jinking attacking runs that had the home team fire fighting to keep him at bay, they must have thought they were having nightmares and there were three Simon Logue’s on the pitch.
Derry finally stamped their authority on the game with a score on twenty five minutes, Seapoint had wing forward Patrick Crown sin binned and from the resulting penalty McCarter kicked for touch. Chris Cooper who had a massive game in line out, scrum and broken play, won clean ball and the pack drove forward. The result was a 5 metre scrum to Derry and the front row of Chris Shields, Cathal Cregan and Gareth Beattie produced to give No 8 David Houston an unconverted push over try and Derry lead by 5pts to 3pts. Derry produced again six minutes later following great work from Brian Prue, Chris Cooper and Adam Bratton, They won a scrum in midfield and Houston picked and made a 30 metre break, Semple linked to his left with McCarter who switched play back right to connect with Adam Bratton who powered in for a try which McCarter converted for 12pts to 3pts lead.
Seapoint got themselves back into the game with a penalty from Lydon on thirty seven minutes to make it 12pts to 6pts for Derry who unfortunately lost Tom Patton for the remainder of the game with a neck injury. Derry had Paul McFeely on the pitch but he only lasted five minutes before he retired also with a leg injury. Seapoint were now in control and their excellent centre Gary Foley got in for a try which was converted by Lydon and left the half time score with Derry leading by 12pts to 11pts.
Derry started the second half with a bang and on three minutes Andrew Semple charged down a Seapoint clearance 30 metre out and an off load to Adam Bratton saw him sprint in for an unconverted try and Derry were ahead by 17pts to 11pts. Seapoint turned possession over two minutes later on the half way line but they spilled the ball loose and Simon Logue was in quick as a flash to pickup and sprint in as he was chased hare like and touch down between the posts and with McCarter converting, Derry lead by 24pts to 11pts.
Derry had Sam McAuley on in the back row along with Stephen Jefferson at prop and David the backs. Chris Barber was having a fine game at full back on his return from injury, his tackling was ferocious and his elusive strong running was always dangerous. Seapoint reduced the arrears with a great team try scored by full back Chris O’Brien which was converted by Lydon on thirteen minutes and Derry’s lead was 24pts to 18pts.
Derry showed great heart and fight as they took the game to Seapoint and great play from Prue Jefferson and McAuley deserved a try on twenty minutes by they were harshly penalised for holding on with the line at their mercy. Seapoint took the lead on twenty three minutes from a 22 metre drop out to their winger Conor Byrne who linked with Gary Foley to go the length of the pitch to score a try which Lydon converted and Seapoint lead by 25pts to 24pts.
Derry showed real character to come back and completely dominate the last ten minutes as Captain David Funston lead from the front as he smashed tacklers out of his way on thirty three minutes. He created great go forward ball which was quickly moved by Andrew Semple to Richard Peoples who released Ryan Campbell. Campbell created his own space with a show of the ball and a dummy to sprint in for a class try and Derry were back in the lead by 29pts to 25pts.
Derry’ fitness was now showing as they dominated all phases of the game and confidence oozed as they returned to form in some style. Derry turned over possession on their own 22 metre line on thirty seven minutes and McCarter moved the ball quickly to Barber who found Josh Lewis on the wing to make a great break to the half way line where he linked with Chris Barber who chipped the remaining two cover players to collect and power for a try by the posts to crown a Man of the Match performance and with Peoples converting Derry had sealed a memorable victory by 36pts to 25pts.
Members of Seapoint Rugby Club were gracious in defeat after the game and their President along with Brian Murdock, John Power and their members send their best wishes to Mark McFeely as do all Members of City of Derry Rugby Club.
City of Derry Squad V Seapoint; Chris Shields, Cathal Cregan, Gareth Beattie, Chris Cooper, Brian Prue, Adam Bratton, Tom Patton, David Houston, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, Simon Logue, Ryan Campbell, David Funston, Josh Lewis, Chris Barber. Replacements; Sam McAuley, Paul McFeely, Steven Jefferson, Richard Peoples, David Graham.

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