Letterkenny I XV 45 v Civil Service I XV 0

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A long 2 1/2 hr drive up to Letterkenny early on a blustery Saturday morning was made worse by the news that Club Captain Dan Cartland had been ruled out with a knee injury that had flared up. As it was too late to organise a replacement, Marty Mcguigan, head coach stepped up to fill in the pack prompting a reshuffle that allowed Ben Scott to resume his work at scrum half. A bit of a patched up team with a number of players coming up from the 2’s such as Danny Ansell, Kenny Dane, David Gonzalez, Greg Brown and Bryn Sturgeon were hoping to cause a previously impressive Letterkenny team some problems.

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Playing into the sun and the wind in the first half, Letterkenny made their organisation count with well drilled set piece work driving the Service scrum back on a bumpy pitch. Some long kicks took awkward bounces but on the whole, Service defended well and in the first 20 mins it was a very tight cagey affair with good tackling and hard rucking and mauling, neither side really having a significant advantage. However the pressure on the Service line was beginning to mount and a rather fussy ref who had already allowed 2 penalty kicks to give Letterkenny a 6-0 lead decided to give Ben Scott a yellow for ‘persistent offside’. While most refs would have taken a more considered approach and maybe had a word this man was not for being messed with and a number of players, including Moore Holmes had to be pulled away from saying something that would cost the team further. Letterkenny piled on the pressure on the 14 remaining men and the defence held firm with a back row move being held up over the line by a despairing dive from Bryn Sturgeon, however it was just postponing the inevitable as just a few minutes later Letterkenny drove over the line and scored the breakthrough try. The kick was missed but another penalty kick meant that Service went into the break 14-0 down.

Marty Mcguigan and Jonny Cartwright- skipper in the place of the injured Dan tried to raise the spirits of the Service players but in truth the effort and energy put into playing with 14 had taken its toll. A lucky try followed when Peter Hoskins, playing in the unfamiliar position of full back, saw a Letterkenny clearance kick bounce completely away from him on the uneven pitch and straight for their player to score under the posts.With another yellow given out to Moore in the 2nd half along with lengthy injuries to him and Chris Davey at prop Service spent yet another half a match playing at a numerical advantage and this told as the well-drilled Letterkenny players went over regularly in the second half to leave the result a disappointing 45-0.

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