Report City of Derry 1s v Greystones 1s

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City of Derry RFC 20pts, Greystones RFC 17pts.

City of Derry Rugby Club made it six victories on the spin in All League Division 2B when they defeated Greystones at Judges Road on Saturday last. Derry sit proudly at the top of the league six points ahead of second placed Highfield and thirteen points in front of Armagh in third position. Derry were in ahead at the break on Saturday by 14pts to 3pts following two converted try’s from Chris Cooper and Steven Dickey and looked like cruising to another bonus point victory. Greystones looked a transformed team in the second half and they must have thought Christmas had come early as Derry gifted them possession to allow them score two trys that kept them in with a chance of winning the game right to the final whistle.

It was a beautiful afternoon at Judges Road with glorious sunshine and a very light breeze favouring Greystones in the first half. Derry were quickly into their stride with their half backs Andrew Semple and Richard McCarter controlling the play on the back of solid set piece ball from the home pack. The Judges Road men were first on the scoreboard with just eight minutes gone Andrew Semple got in behind the Greystones defence on the half way line. Semple drew the last man before finding prop Sam Duffy in support who made a storming 30 meter break that took him inside the 22 and when collared he passed inside to Chris Cooper to touch down for a try and when Neil Burns converted Derry were in front by 7pts to nil.

The game settled into an evenly contested affair but the Derry scrum was dominant throughout with Rory Squires, Captain David Ferguson and Sam Duffy a solid front row supported by Chris Cooper and Bob McKillop. The Derry back row combined on twenty minutes to almost get in for a score, Stephen Corr and Steven Dickey released Craig Huey who looked home for all money but he was stopped and turned over just short of the line.

Ali Beckett made a great break into the Greystones 22 on thirty minutes but when he tried to get a pass to Neil Brown inside there was a deliberate know on from Greystones wing forward and Blake Hill was sent to the sin bin. McCarter kicked the resultant penalty for a 5 meter line out, Derry won a 5 meter scrum and a forward drive for the line saw wing forward Steven Dickey touch down for a try and Neil Burns kicked the conversion and Derry were 14pts to nil up. Killian Marmion kicked a consolation penalty on the stroke of half time for Greystones to reduce the arrears to 14pts to 3pts but put Derry deserved to be further in front.

Greystones started the second half with a bang and a nice move in midfield between Marmion and centre Simon Malone saw Malone touch down by the posts for a try and with Malone converting the Wicklow men were right back in the game at 14pts to 10pts down. It was all Greystones as Derry’s kicking out of hand was aimless missing touch continually and coughing up possession. Derry eventually got into the Greystones half on twenty four minutes and won a penalty, Andrew Semple kicked from 35 meters and Derry were in front by 17pts to 10pts.

Derry should have got in for a try after twenty six minutes with an overlap on the left wing but an incorrect option stopped the move. Aly Beckett made another fine break on thirty minutes but was stopped by a high tackle and Semple put Derry further ahead front 30 meters from the resultant penalty and the home team were 20pts to 10pts in front. Derry were still careless with their exit kicking from their own half and Greysrones just ran the ball back at them. Despite Derry still dominating at scrum time they were pinged for penalties that once more coughed up possession. Greystones put the game on a knife edge on 34 minutes with a try from winger Padraic Geoghegan and Malone converted and Derry just lead by three points at 20pts to 17pts.

Greystones were pressing for the winning score for the last six minutes but superb defence from Derry kept them at bay eventually winning a penalty turn over to end the game and keep their unbeaten record in the All Ireland League. The Judges Road men have a massive game next weekend away to second placed Highfield down in Cork.

City of Derry RFC Team V Greystones RFC; Rory Squires, David Ferguson(Capt), Sam Duffy, Bob McKillop, Chris Cooper, Steven Dickey, Craig Huey, Stephen Corr, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, Simon Logue, David Funston, Neil Burns, Neil Brown, Ali Beckett. Replacements; Ross Harkin, Cathal Creggan, Steven Walker, Stuart Simpson, David Graham

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