Clogher Valley RFC Notes: Towns Cup Semi Final Action!!! Valley reach final again with hard fought win against Omagh RFC I XV

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The last minute withdrawal of influential scrum half Jimmy Bates and last week’s injury to Philip Holme meant yet another reshuffle in the Clogher Valley half backs
Clogher Valley RFC 17 v 13 Omagh:
The hectic schedule of the league campaign was evident in the tired bodies who took to the pitch for this Towns Cup Semi Final. Omagh were quicker out of the blocks and scored a try after two minutes when some poor covering defence allowed Giboney to go over in the corner.The conversion by Ward was successful and Valley tried to regroup after the early set back.
It was a shadow of a performance compared to recent matches. Playing resources have been stretched to the limit but once again the spirit and never say die attitude of the Valley squad came through.
To compound the Valley woes, Keith Todd had to leave the action after 14 minutes with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Craig Glenn. Omagh continued to dominate but when ball was coughed up in the Valley22, Ally Breen ran in for a fine opportunists try.Best landed the touch-line conversion to level the scores.
The large crowd was being treated to a full-blooded local Cup derby with Omagh showing more energy and commitment. Ward landed a penalty in the 26th minute to give Omagh a deserved 10 – 7 lead which they held on to till half time.
Valley were unable to string together any meaningful phases.Poor ball retention and a malfunctioning lineout when in good attacking positions kept Omagh in the game. Ally Breen, at full back, was in imperious form with a faultless display of fielding and clearance kicking. The Valley coaches had to make use of the bench to rest some weary bodies. James McFarland and Nathan Orr replaced Dunn and Cobain as the game entered the final quarter.
After a period of pressure in the Omagh 22,Valley were awarded a five metre scrum.The Omagh pack were driven back and Ryan Wilson claimed the try. Best converted to put Valley into the lead for the first time. Almost immediately Omagh went on the offensive and Ward kicked another penalty to make it a one point game at 14 – 13.In a frantic last ten minutes, play swung from end to end as both sides knew that the next score would be crucial. Valley skipper Sharkey turned over ball on the half way line and brought play into the Omagh half .The retreating Omagh forwards infringed and Best stepped up to stretch the Valley lead to 17 – 13 with five minutes to go. Omagh threw everything at Valley in a last throw of the dice but the Valley defence was sound. David Dunlop epitomised the Valley spirit and will to win with two crunching tackles in the last play of the game
This was a passionate and committed performance by a tired and drained squad of players against a very good Omagh side. Omagh were left to reflect on what might have been had they taken a couple of scoring opportunities .
Valley now go to Ravenhill on Easter Monday to try to retain the Powerade Towns Cup. Ballymena will be the opposition after they defeated Enniskillen in the other semi-final.
Attention now focuses on the All-Ireland play offs.Valley travel to Skerries on Saturday to begin their quest for All-Ireland status.

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