Inishowen 36-10 Letterkenny
League action resumed on Saturday as Inishowen entertained near neighbours Letterkenny, with the school pitch unplayable the Moss road pitch was used for the first time since Boxing day. A large number of players were unavailable for numerous reasons and a few changes were made, Colm Sweeney made his first start since a serious injury to the unmentionables in January left him in hospital. Stephen Glackin also returned from a long term shoulder injury, James Friel played in an unfamiliar role in second row and a not so slimline Finn McCormick answered an SOS call to step out of retirement to play at out-half. Club stalwart James McColgan’s granny Kathleen McColgan died on Friday afternoon and all at the club would like to pass on their condolences to the McColgan family, James choose to play Saturday’s match and had a solid game at fullback.
After last weeks hard fought win in Armoy it was felt that the lineout needed a shake up, a hard session on Tuesday worked dividends as Anthony Cantwell and Gary McEleney had a successful day at the office and gave the backline good ball to pressure Letterkenny. Inishowen choose to kick off and looked to attack from the off, good ground was made before a penalty opportunity was awarded but the resulting kick was missed keeping the scores level at 0-0. Inishowen looked the most dangerous but it was Letterkenny who opened the scoring when they scored a penalty shortly afterwards.
Inishowen 0-3 Letterkenny.
After the initial exchanges Letterkenny settled and started enjoy more ball, they kicked in behind the defence looking for gaps but McColgan cleared well. The visitors kept possession and used their big centre to crash ball before Paul Cassidy intercepted a pass and broke free before passing inside to Gary McEleney who scored under the posts. From the kick off a knock on handed possession back to Letterkenny who attacked and made good ground before being stopped just short of the Inishowen line, a Letterkenny player was penalised and the danger was averted. From the resulting penalty as Inishowen looked to kick long for touch a number of Letterkenny players were out of position and when Maurice Harkin spotted this he called for a tap penalty. The ball was spread quickly from right to left and Cassidy
showed good speed to run the full length of the pitch to score.
The third try came from a Letterkenny scrum, as the ball came in Inishowen drove forward allowing tight head prop John Kelly to steal ball, the ball made its way through the backs before flanker McEleney scored his second of the day. The scrums went uncontested shortly afterwards as John Kelly having returned from his exploits in Dublin with the Ireland team the previous day gave his opposite number a torrid time, John has been in fine form this season and has attracted the attention of Declan Kidney who wanted to know what his secret was. John and captain Neil Gillespie attended the Ireland teams captains run on Friday in the Aviva stadium rubbing shoulders with the like of Tommy Bowe, Stephen Ferris, Sean O’Brien and Johnny Sexton but unfortunately for Mr Kidney no secrets were revealed.
Inishowen went in at the break 3 tries to the good and the players felt that the first half effort had to be replicated for the rest of the game, Inishowen received the restart and went looking for more scores. Good ground was made through Glasha before Cantwell received the ball and crashed through two tackles to score under the posts. The fifth try of the day came from a mistake by the young Letterkenny winger, Cassidy picked up the loose ball and ran from inside the Inishowen 22 outpacing the winger to score under the posts. Letterkenny pulled a converted try back when they broke from a maul and caught the Inishowen defence sleeping for an easy score. The final score of the day came from a series of rucks before Inishowen were awarded a scrum, Cantwell picked from the base and went left before passing to Glasha to score in the corner.
Final score Inishowen 36-10 Letterkenny.
As the season draws to a close Inishowen are pushing for silverware with Strabane and Letterkenny left in the league two more wins will guarantee at least a playoff for the top spot. Inishowen have no game next week giving them the oppertunity to recharge the batteries in time for the Butler shield semi final on the 10th of March, the venue of the game is unconfirmed but City of Derry is a possibility further details will be posted on the website and Facebook page. Well done to all involved especially the players not playing in their usual positions, training continues on Tuesday at 8pm at the Malin stables and a big effort is required if we are to make the clubs 40th Anniversary a successful year.