New Club Tir Chonaill Rugby Play Ballyshannon Rugby: Report

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Tir Chonaills second away game of 2011 seen the squad travel to the Lakeside Center to take on Ballyshannon in a friendly.

Most of the squad managed to travel, and spirits were good on the bus. The referee decided to play four quarters with the teams agreement, as this would facilitate the changes likely from both teams, and enable the fossils in the Tir Chonaill pack to have quarter on, quarter off. Pity they weren’t real dinosaurs as we could have done with a couple of triceratops in the scrum! The first quarter seen a succession of scrums and lineouts in the Tir Chonaill half, and with a very savvy front row, Ballyshannon stole even the TC put ins as well as their own and put 4 tries on the board with quick back play off the scrums, and the TC backs taking time to settle.

The lads were a little shellshocked, but played on gamely into the second and third quarters, with the first and second tackles improving, but the experienced Ballyshannon team offloading well out of the tackle, and securing their own rucks. The lineout went very well with Shaun Doogan securing TC ball and even stealing 2 of the Ballyshannon lineouts. sadly this good source of ball rarely resulted in any line breaks, and this needs work in training.
The tackling improved as the game went on, and the referee suggested that the scrums go uncontested to enable TC to have some ball.This resulted in a very competitive fourth quarter with Ballyshannon tiring, and TC with their extra numbers and fresh legs made more inroads into the Ballyshannon half. A scrum outside the BS 22 resulted in a good break by Shaun Doogan, and the following ruck resulted in Conor Gallagher going over at pace for a great try.
Although BS ran up a high score, it was a great effort from Tir Chonaill against such an experienced team. TC chose John Paul Baska as Man of the Match in his first game after only a couple of training sessions. Also the coaches noted another new debutant Gary Gallagher who put in a great shift, almost scoring a try. Of the TC experienced players, there were standout performances from Shaun and James Doogan and Conor Gallagher. Returning after 6 weeks injury, Ciaran McCann did well, and Aidan Bonner also played on bravely despite an injured shoulder. There was a blast from the past from veterans Joe McCann and Paul Bathgate with a great charge up the wing.
The Tir Chonaill coaches and players will learn from this game, and took many positives from it. With every game the team is gaining valuable experience, and learning the hard lessons of competitive rugby. The performance of two of of the newest players was very encouraging and increased the age profile of what is still a very young team. The coaches salute all our young players who bravely face these experienced teams in order to gain the necessary experience themselves. Fantastic lads, the training will be tweaked and intensified as a result, and hopefully we will have another game soon.
Many thanks to Ballyshannon for the game and their hospitality and craic afterwords. We look forward to welcoming you guys later in the season in Carrickfin for the return, and guarantee an improved team and a more competitive game. Thanks also to the referee who was excellent.

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