Dungannon started their Powerade Provincial Towns’ Cup campaign with a difficult away game to Coleraine. The main pitch at Rugby Avenue was frozen but the Coleraine club readjusted their fixtures and moved across the Avenue to a pitch that was perfectly playable. Coleraine had their noses in front and were still leading right up until, in a dramatic finish Dungannon’s Chris Henderson scored a try in the final minute of normal time. The consensus that this was no more than Gannon deserved with their pack forcing the pace throughout.
Early exchanges were even with Chris Barber and Darren Simpson missing out with penalty attempts on five and eight minutes respectively. Coleraine then raised their game and following a notable piece of ball recycling by the home pack centre Stuart Simpson was sent in at the right hand corner midway through the half.
5 – 0
The Dungannon forwards with Stuart McKenzie and Declan Treanor taking good lineout ball put the visitors on the offensive. This time the recycling was a little scrappy but in the end Brian Simpson was sent in at the corner to level matters on the half hour. Skipper Simon Potter missed out with the conversion
5 – 5
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When Dungannon returned to the Coleraine half the ball was turned over and Coleraine made ground into the Gallon half. When Chris Barber was given the opportunity he landed a penalty on thirty-five minutes restoring Coleraine’s lead.
8 – 5
Although the visitors rallied the home defence stood firm to carry their three point lead into the break.
Early in the second half a poor pass from a ruck put Dungannon under pressure before a crossover penalty saw Chris Barber extend Coleraine’s lead after forty-five minutes.
11 – 5
Back came the visitors and following a five metre lineout and then a scrum Mark Riddell crossed the line but play was pulled back for another infringement. Coleraine then suffered a setback when former Dungannon captain, Neil Patterson was ‘binned’ for a technical offence. The home side then focused on defence and did well to keep Dungannon at bay during Neil’s absence. Come the seventieth minute after centre Mark Riddell completed two fine line kicks Dungannon went on the offensive. Stuart McKenzie was held up on the line and when the ball was recycled James McMahon acted as provider for Darryl Marshall to cross in the corner. The conversion was missed allowing Coleraine to hold a one point advantage.
11 – 10
This Dungannon try seemed to unsettle Coleraine. However they worked their way up field and out half Greg Jordan made the visit count when he popped over a neat drop goal on seventy-seven minutes giving Coleraine a four point breathing space.
14 – 10
Dungannon rallied and following some basic play a neat bit of work from Gareth Graham sent Christopher Henderson through for a dramatic seventy-ninth minute try. The conversion was not awarded.
14 – 15
As coach Willie Milligan would have said the game is not over until the final whistle. Although Dungannon were aware of this they did try to give Coleraine a final opportunity when they lost restart possession but thankfully held on to win after that dramatic last minute try.
Coaches Willie Milligan and Mark Henderson were delighted with the win and paid tribute to the boys ability as they stuck to the task and got the result. Much better than last week.
Team: Stuart Gilroy (Alan Cummings). Darren Simpson, Christopher Henderson, Mark Riddell, Brian Simpson. Gareth Graham, Timothy Potter. Steven Sinnamon, Simon Potter Capt, Hugh Flannigan. Declan Treanor (Stephen Todd), Stuart McKenzie. James McMahon, Darryl Marshall, Timothy Smith.
Referee: Clem Bassett (Rainey OB)
Tries: Brian Simpson, Darryl Marshall & Chris Henderson