Donaghadee RFC Notes: I XV 38 v Clogher Valley RFC I XV 0 – REPORT LIVE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Donaghadee welcomed Clogher Valley to Donaldson Park on Saturday determined to add further momentum to their charge for a top four finish against a team with the same aspiration.
In excellent spring conditions it was the men from the west of the province who had the first opportunity of points with a penalty attempt in the 5th minute which fell short.
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Donaghadee took the lead on the 10th minute with an excellent counter attacking move. The home side regained possession following a tough tackle in the middle of the park and Paul McKenzie spotted space on the left flank feeding a beautifully flighted pass to Rory Garnham. Few players in the Dee team are capable of exploiting space on a rugby pitch better than Garnham who terrified the limited cover and in turn offloaded to Chris Hamilton who bounced past the opposing fullback to great applause from the home crowd. The conversion was successful from Nigel Barker.
Within five minutes Donaghadee used their territorial dominance to good effect with the second try of the game. After testing the Clogher defence on a number of phases close to the line it was from a loose kick out of defence that McKenzie was able to once again initiate an offence move with the ball being transferred neatly through the hands of Ian Martindale and Kalave Aualiitia before being squeezed to Billy Allen on the clubhouse side of the pitch. The move appeared to run out of width by the time it reached Allen however the quick footed fullback created enough space to pounce over the try line. Barker secured the extras with a difficult conversion attempt.
Any discussion of bonus points was firmly put on the back burner as the visitors enjoyed their share of possession in the second quarter of the game. Although there has been some changes to personnel within the Clogher squad this season the style of play including the discipline, hunger and determination to win bears all the hallmarks that have been part of this proud club for so many seasons.
It was the visitors that put together over 30 phases of play in the spell just before half-time – however the gritty Donaghadee defence was not broken although they did loose effective back row forward Richard Martindale who was penalised and binned for not rolling away from play quickly enough.
Half Time Donaghdee 14 Clogher Valley 0
With a numerical advantage from the start of the second half Clogher Valley dominated early play however on the 46th minute Allen fielded an up and under and immediately released Ian Martindale who, after a penetrating stretch of the legs, fed the ball to the supporting Hamilton who was halted just short of the line. Captain Ali Lockhart was quickly on-hand to feed the ball to Ian Martindale who palmed the ball across to Kalave Auali’itia who was not to be stopped at close range. Another superb try for the home side. In a week in which the rugby fraternity has been debating the acceptable rate of a place kicker Barker left no room for debate and made it 3 out of 3 with a sublime touchline effort.
There will not have been a more popular scorer on Saturday than second row Auali’itia who was playing his last game at Donaldson Park. Aualiitia arrived in Donagahdee in August 2011 and has since made a huge impact to the seaside club. He joins a long list of overseas visitors who have donned the red and green jersey in the last two decades but one would struggle to think of a player who has performed with such consistency during his time here (one game missed in 2 seasons). There are certainly no other overseas players who have left with a Junior Cup medal and helped Donaghadee to two successive high placed finishes in the top league of Ulster Junior rugby.
The threat of the Clogher team was very clear from Donaghade’s decision to take an additional three points on the 50th minute to further stretch their lead instead of any early push for what would be a valuable bonus point.
It was from a visitors attack that Donaghadee’s fourth try was created. Fantastic Dee defence from Thompson, Gordon, Murray and friends allowed Dee to recover possession and from deep in their own 22 McKenzie fed the ball to Hamilton who powered down the far touchline eventually feeding the ball to Garnham who then selflessly offloaded to Adam Alexander (only on the pitch after replacing the excellent Chris McGivern) who scored with ease. Barker converted.
Donaghadee’s set pieces were excellent during this contest with Phillip Eadie and Ali Barnes putting in sterling performances against an experienced Clogher front row. It was this excellent graft that allowed Richard Martindale and Lockhart to present such effective possession to McKenzie and co.
In the closing stages of the game McKenzie attempted a speculative chip over the opposition which bounced perfectly for the oncoming centre Martindale who collected and in the process fended off a couple of would be tacklers and in a two on one situation was able to feed a scoring pass to the supporting Alexander who in his cameo appearance showed some real class on the right flank.
Barker converted to make it six out of six and give Donaghadee a fantastic 38-0 win over Clogher Valley.
This was an excellent performance from Donaghadee which very much puts them in the driving seat for a second top four finish and qualification in next seasons All Ireland Junior Cup. The application of the seventeen players on show was magnificent with the bumper crowd at Donaldson Park appreciative of the high quality rugby football on show.
Scoops Man of the Match – Chris Hamilton
Donaghadee team: B.Allen , C.McGivern, I.Martindale, N.Barker, R.Garnham , P.McKenzie, A. Lockhart, P.Eadie, G.Gordon, A. Barnes, K Auali’itia, D.Thompson, D.Murray, C Hamilton, R.Martindale Subs: A. Alexander , R.Black
This incoming Saturday the 1st XV travel to Coleraine. The Sandal Lodge side currently have 42 points compared to the Dee’s 46 points, both sides having played the same number of matches, so the result of the game is pivotal in the “Top Four” race. A large contingent of Dee supporters are expected to travel and a team & supporters coach is available – contact the usual suspects to book a place. Meanwhile the 2nd XV welcome Coleraine III to Donaldson Park. Both games kick off at 2:30pm.

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