Group Shot ! Virginia & Monaghan RFC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Group Shot ! Virginia & Monaghan RFC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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U16s ALL IRELAND SEMI-FINAL
Tullow RFC 38 Virginia RFC 14

Virginia RFC U16s travelled to Ashbourne on Saturday to represent Ulster in the newly re-established All Ireland Club Finals after recently securing their third Provincial League title in four years. They knew they were in for a tough test though against Leinster Champions Tullow RFC, and so it was to prove.

The Leinster team started on fire, and after some lax defending Virginia found themselves very quickly 12-0 behind. Tullow continued to press but Virginia worked their way into the game. The scrum was a match for their opponents with John Smyth and Jamie Osborne continuing the form they’d shown all season, and the line out functioned well with accurate throws from a Killian Collins and great reads by Adrian Lynch. Virginia began to pressure Tullow at the breakdown too with Callum Finane, James Farrelly, and Mark Gibney all proving to be a nuisance in the loose. As the half wore on the Cavan men started to gain some territorial advantage with Adam Sherriff providing quick ball, and Adam Charters varying the play to keep the opposition defence guessing. It looked like it wouldn’t be Virginias day though as they had two tries from Paddy Gordon ruled out for forward passes, but then a great move involving Adam and Niall Carolan, was supported brilliantly by Conor Nulty who ran in to score. Michael McKeon-Boyle duly slotted the conversion to narrow the gap to five points. Virginia continued to press, but Tullow showed how dangerous they were with an intercept that was only just stopped, and as the half wore on it was the Carlow team that finished on top, and only for some great tackles by Robert Lochaden and David Gibney would have added to their tally. At the break Virginia trailed 12-7.

Unfortunately the start of the second half was to mirror the start of the first. Uncharacteristic errors let Tullow in for another two quick tries, they led by seventeen points and Virginia had a mountain to climb. Whilst never pressuring Tullow as much as they did in the first half Virginia always looked a threat with ball in hand, and with fifteen minutes to go they looked to have closed the gap again after a powerful surge from Michael, only for a third try to be ruled out for a double movement. Tullow pressed again, but a superb individual try from Niall which started in his own half, followed by an excellent conversion by Michael brought Virginia back within ten points with as many minutes left. Virginia had to go for it, and added fresh legs with Callum Caswell and Jason Henderson coming on, but Tullow proved their quality and demonstrating some sublime handling skills they never gave the men in black another sniff. Two quick converted tries at the end of the game gave them a fully deserved 38-14 win; even if the final score line was a bit harsh on Virginia.

They will need to pick themselves up now as they’re still chasing the prize of a third Ulster Cup in a row. They travel to Portadown RFC next Saturday for their semi-final, where a win will see them join the U14s in the Ravenhill showpiece at the end of the month.

Squad: Jamie Osborne, Killian Collins, John Smyth, Callum Finane, James Farrelly, Mark Gibney, Adrian Lynch, Michael McKeon-Boyle, Adam Sherriff, Adam Charters, Robert Lochaden, Niall Carolan (Cptn), Conor Nulty, Paddy Gordon, David Gibney, Thomas Sheridan, Ryan McGuigan, Fionn Needham, Callum Caswell, Diarmuid O’Reilly, Jason Henderson, Ciaran Levy-Valensi, Jack Vaughan.

U14s ULSTER CUP SEMI-FINAL
Banbridge RFC 10 Virginia RFC 27

U14s One Step Closer to League & Cup Double

Virginia traveled to Banbridge for the Ulster Cup Semi Final, and were met with great conditions to play rugby. It was the first time these two teams met this season and the winners would be rewarded with a final in the Kingspan Stadium.

Virginia were the first to get on the scoreboard within the first few minutes, scored after a great Virginia scrum. The ball was passed out to Killian Smith on the blind side, who made the hard yards before passing to Nathan Tobin to touch down. Malachy Walker converted giving Virginia a 7-0 lead. Banbridge were to score next after a couple of missed tackles by Virginia, reducing the deficet to just two points. Virginia’s second try came from Darren Kavangh after bursting straight through the home defence. It came after some great rucking by Gordon Lochaden and Matthew Byers.
Virginia nearly got in for a third try after a great pass from Oscar Erickson from the rear of the scrum, the backs worked a well-rehearsed move and a great pass by Jack Carroll, saw Malachy burst through the middle, but the ref called the play back for a scrum after the pass was deemed forward. Virginia kept Banbridge under pressure, and after a scrum Conan Fitzpatrick was unlucky not to score as he was held up after crashing over the whitewash. Virginias tackling meant they continued to dominate territory and more pressure resulted in a knock on and another Virginia scrum. Kieran Duffy at Number 8 forced his way over to score a try, and Malachy was unlucky with the conversion as he hit the posts. It brought the half time score to 17-5.

No changes were made at the beginning of the second half, and Virginia continued to put Banbridge under pressure from the kick off. Another scrum in the Banbridge half was won allowing Kieran to break from the back of the scrum, his pass Letting Nathan In for his second try, and Malachy adding the extra to take the score out to 24-5. An injury to Killian then saw him replaced by Philip O Dowd. Banbridge weren’t done though and scored the next try reducing the gap to fourteen points. The next score was vital, and when Virginia were awarded a penalty after Banbridge were penalised for not rolling away, Malachy pointed to the posts and from a difficult position got the three points making it a three score difference. Virginia made a few replacements with Harry Leddy on for Oscar Erickson and David O Reilly replacing Patrick Sheridan, and the team held out for a final score of Banbridge RFC 10 Virginia RFC 27.

They now head to Ravenhill on Saturday 28th April looking to secure an Ulster League & Cup double, when they face Ballymena RFC in the Ulster Cup Final.

Squad: Darren Kavanagh, Gordon Lochaden, Eoin Bogan, Matthew Byers, Conan Fitzpatrick, Patrick Sheridan, Glen McCabe, Oscar Erikson, Jack Carroll, Killian Smith, Nathan Tobin, Malachy Walker, Ben Curran, Harry Leddy, Philip O’Dowd, Tyrone Tynan, Kieran Duffy, Pauric McClusker, Cameron O’Reilly, David O’Reilly, Aidan Kieran, Aaron O’Dowd.