City Of Derry RFC U19’s XV Continue Winning Run Against Donegal Town RFC U19’s XV

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On Saturday the local boys entertained the visitors from Donegal Town in what was to be the first meeting between the two clubs at this level. Unfortunately the visitors only turned up with a compliment of 12 players and following a ruling on Tue last by the Ulster Branch YCC, which the referee was not aware of, the City team had to match their opposition! This meant that although Derry had a full squad they could only start with 12 and had to keep 9 players off the field, this rule seems a bit unfair to the sides that can get players out.
The game kicked off in brilliant sunshine and it was very soon clear that this was going to be a very open game as there were large open spaces all over the park. The visitors had a huge pack of forwards which they tried to bring in to the game at every opportunity but the Derry seven had more than the match of them in the tight situations and loose. From one such period of possession the ball was moved wide quickly where full back Ian Bratton showed great speed to run round the defence and score out wide, the tricky conversion was good by Richard Keys, 5 mins gone and Derry 7 nil up. The visitors from Donegal were not going to lie down and after a period of possession of their own their outhalf chipped in to space and won the footrace for the touchdown, the kick was good. With the scores all square it was clear that this was going to be a game with a lot of points going a begging due to lots of space and it was going to test defence and fitness of the sides. Another period of home dominance led to a good score by Porter out wide which was not converted. The Derry forwards were ruling the scrum and lineout and had their opponents on the back foot all game, from one piece of good pressure, scrumhalf Kennedy saw the gap close to the line and darted through for a good score, again Keys was good with the kick. During the game a few substitutions were made to try and get as many of the players a run out, as in previous weeks the changes did not affect the flow of the game. In the 30th minute of the half the home side scored a great team try straight off the training field, a good lineout ball was won off the top and the ball was flashed along the backline culminating with that man Bratton getting in at the corner, the difficult kick was missed. With the score at 24 to 7 the Derry team relaxed bit and this led to the visitors creating a bit of space and getting over for another converted try. The visitors half backs were dangerous all game and were proving to be a handful, any missed tackles were punished heavily!
A few stern words at halftime about tackles missed and the last pass not going to hand seemed to do the trick. Straight from the restart the ball was secured and moved up the blind side with both props handling and running like centres, a few interpasses later and captain Ryan Spratt was on hand to finish the move he started and go over for a good try out wide, the kick was missed. Shortly later the pressure was taking its toll on the visitors and they gave away a penalty close in, the ball was tapped quickly and moved out where Craig Henderson used his power to crash over for another unconverted try. It was beginning to look as if the game was going to run away from the visitors from Donegal but credit must go them as they never let their heads drop and continued to fight all the way. It was the Derry team who were next to score and it was Porter who was having a good game, who got over out wide again with 16 mins of the half gone, the kick was missed. It was the visitors who were too score next, again through some slack tackling by the Derry defence, this was converted. This spurred the Derry team back to life and the large home support were to be treated to the Conall Doherty show, with the recent news during the week that young Doherty had been called up to the Ireland U18 training squad it was clear to all watching why this was so. Straight from the restart after the Donegal score the forwards turned over the ball and secured possession, the ball was moved wide and back in again where Conall took a straight line and powered over to score his first try which he converted himself. At the restart the Donegal side tried a sneaky kick away from the forwards but this went straight to Doherty who again took off and rounded the entire defence to score again and convert. The visitors worked their way down the field again and after good approach play from their forwards they forced a gap which their scrumhalf was able to get through for a converted score. Once more the Derry boys showed their steel and responded well with a good period of pick and drives with Killian Doherty, Manus McLaughlin and James McIvor to the fore. After a good series of moves the ball was again moved wide where C. Doherty powered over out wide for an unconverted try to complete his hatrick and the game!
The final of score of 58 to 28 was probably not a true reflection of the difference between the two sides but on a day when there were vast amounts of space available it was the side that took their chances and had the better defence and fitness that came out on top. It was a hard call to make for Man of the Match this week as everyone played well and the game was a bit disjointed due to all the substitutions, the backs worked tirelessly all game and finished well scoring 6 of the 10 tries with the returning Doherty getting his hatrick. In the forwards the physically smaller City pack were more than a match for their bigger opponents and the backrow which was reduced to just 2 were full of running and tackling all day, for this reason the Man of the match this week goes to big Killian Doherty who although did not get on the score sheet was immense all day where he was rampaging in the loose and ruled the lineouts.

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