Historic Day at Telford Park – Newry 3rd XV v Warrenpoint 1st XV! A New Club Is Born!

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History was made at Telford Park last Saturday when a Warrenpoint XV took to the field against Newry Thirds. For the Warrenpoint men it was their first ever game and the first ever rugby match for quite a few of their players. For Newry it was a chance to give debut games to some of their latest recruits and to some of their promising youth section.

The first quarter belonged to the city men with plenty of hard running and ball carrying from second rows Owen Rice and Ryan Byrne creating numerous scoring opportunities some of which eventually resulted in scores for out half Tom O’Dubhain, winger Tony Leneghan, scrum half Curtis McEvoy and veteran forward Donal Farrell. Warrenpoint rallied in the second quarter and some impressive forward drives led by Liam Sloan and Eugene McConville and well co-ordinated by scrum-half Jonny O’Hare were rewarded with a first ever try for the visitors when Mark “Wee O” McMahon barged over to touch down under the posts. A second score followed soon after when Warrenpoint substitute David Reilly scored in the corner to leave the half time score 24-10 to Newry.

Everything stepped up a gear in the second half when the scrums went from unopposed to full-on contact. Warrenpoint No. 8 Declan Price made several good breaks from the back of the scrum and invariably made ground with his drives. Newry replied with their own attacking play with John Collins and debut hooker Alan O’Cleirigh impressing in the tight. The line outs were a real contest with an aerial duel between Ryan Byrne for Newry and Warrenpoint’s Kieran Buchanan providing plenty of excitement for both sets of supporters throughout the match.

The Warrenpoint backline were led by ex-Newry man Mark Rafferty who gave a plentiful supply of running ball to centres and wingers John Rafferty, James Casey and Wayne Denner. Great displays in the Newry backline came from youth players Dwayne Carlisle, Gerard Murtagh and also from veteran winger, Tony “DB” Leneghan making his first appearance after several years absence. As legs tired the Newry backs eventually found the gaps in the Warrenpoint defence and ran in several tries in the dying minutes to leave the final score 43-15 in favour of the Newry men. In the end it was the extra experience in the Newry ranks that made the difference and could be seen in the way in which they managed to get their players into the right places when try scoring opportunities arose. However the Warrenpoint men did themselves proud and this is likely to become a regular fixture in the future.

Newry: G Murtagh, T Leneghan, M McCabe, J McEvoy, D Carlisle, T O’Dubhain, C McEvoy, D Farrell, A O’Donnell, P McShane, O Rice, R Byrne, A O’Cleirigh, J Collins.

Warrenpoint: J Rafferty, J Casey, R Gordon, W Denner, M Rafferty, J O’Hare, D Reilly, D Price, M McMahon, L Sloan, E McConville, K Buchanan, P Smith, M Fegan, C Best.

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