Inishowen RFC: I XV 18 v Finn Valley RFC I XV 7 – REPORT

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Inishowen secure hard earned win away to Finn Valley
September 22, 2013 at 11:40am
Finn Valley 7 – 18 Inishowen

Inishowen travelled to Stranorlar on Saturday to play Finn Valley, both sides ended last season near the top of the league finishing second and third consecutively. Inishowen knew they would need to be on top form to get a result after last years 5-5 draw on the small muddy pitch a win was no way guaranteed, the pitch was in better condition than usual giving the backs a chance to play some running rugby.
Finn Valley kicked off and Inishowen received the ball through hooker Anthony Boyle, the first 30 minutes was evenly contested with both sides tackling hard. Inishowen looked the most likely to score attacking the Finn Valley try line for long periods only for a couple of handling errors letting them down and giving the home side the chance to clear their lines. As the game approached half time and with the visitors deep in their own half the forward pack took control, a penalty kick to touch resulted in a line out for Inishowen and a maul was set up. The home side were penalised again for trying to pull down the maul and fullback Connor Wood kicked into the corner, the lineout ball was caught by second row Matt McCrossan at the front another maul was set up before the pack drove towards the line. As the maul slowed down number 8 Brian McNally broke from the back using the blind side to break through the opposition going over the try line and running towards the posts to score.
The conversion was missed leaving the game tightly balanced at 5-0 as the whistle blew for half time.
Coaches Adrian Thompson and Gregg Byron had their say in the huddle and the team knew they where they needed to improve to secure the win.
The second half began with a knock on from Finn Valley being well gathered by Jamie Lee Loftuscoming off the wing. Inishowen struggled to make any forward momentum due to the rush defence from the home side who were penalised for being offside, captain Colm Sweeney pointed to the posts and centre Karl Diver slotted over from close range to stretch the lead to 8-0. Another penalty was kicked into the corner a pre-planned move saw veteran second row Matt McCrossan catch and break through the would be tacklers to add another try. The difficult conversion was missed leaving the scores at 13-0 in Inishowen’s favour.
As the game entered the last quarter Finn Valley went looking to salvage something from the game, a penalty was awarded and they chose to tap and go as they attacked the Inishowen try line. A few big carries were met with big tackles from the visitors before Finn Valley’s number 7 crashed over under the posts from short range. The conversion was added to narrow the gap to 6 points with score at 13-7.
Fullback Connor Wood received the ball in his own half before launching a Garryowen deep into the Finn Valley half and over the tryline, his opposite number didn’t gather the ball and Connor reacted quickest to dive on the loose ball to score his second try in as many games. The Finn Valley fullback sustained an injury in the process and after a delay the ref blew the final whistle on a niggly game as Inishowen walked away knowing they earned their 18-7 win.
McCrossan entertained all on the bus journey home with the tales of his try which will be told for years along with tales of the time he scored in Strabane.
Next up is another Donegal derby as Letterkenny travel to Inishowen on Saturday 28th September, training continues at 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays behind the community school with newcomers always welcome. Youth training is back up and running on Wednesday evening with the mini’s from 7pm to 8pm and the U13, U15 and U17 teams starting at 8pm. The club is running a good as new shop during October and all donations would be very much appreciated contact John Merritt for more information.

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