REPORT City of Derry RFC I XV 27 v Seapoint RFC I XV 12

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City of Derry RFC 27pts, Seapoint 12pts Match Report by; Moss Dineen
City of Derry Rugby Clubs travelled to South Dublin on Saturday last to play Seapoint in their last All Ireland League Fixture of the season. The objective was to defeat the home team and score four try’s in the process to have any chance of remaining in the third tear of AIL rugby next season by finishing in the top ten in AIL Division 2A. The Judges Road men done everything required of them and more on the day by scoring five try’s and winning but with other results going against them especially Blackrock drawing with UCC in Cork. City of Derry finished in twelfth position in the table just a single point behind UCC in tenth position, that is how close it was with Derry having a better point difference than the Corkmen.
The game started with a strong cold breeze blowing down from the Sugarloaf Mountains straight across the pitch with no advantage to either team throughout. The pitch was rock hard and any ball that went to ground was bouncing all over the place so possession was precious. There was a nervous eagerness to Derry’s play early on as they threw everything at the Dubliners and encamped inside their 22, three lineout possessions were coughed up and the home team survived. Derry struggled to break the Seapoint defensive line but hooker David Ferguson showed everyone how on fifteen minutes when he made a great break and carved the defence open but sustained a calf injury in the process and had to leave the field for the remainder of the game.
Seapoint eventually played themselves back into the game with some decent possession and suddenly produced a score out of nothing on twenty four minutes to shock the Derry team and the massive travelling support. Secpoint moved the ball up the right wing and their out half Jake Kelly made a great break and passed to Captain and wing forward Stephen Verso who touched down for an unconverted try in the corner and the Dubliners were in front by 5pts to nil. This shock score produced an immediate response from Derry, Richard McCarter kicked a penalty into the corner for a 5 meter linout. Catha Creggan who had come on for Ferguson found Chris Cooper and a powerful forward drive saw David Houston touch down for an unconverted try and it was 5pts all.
Derry were now firing on all cylinders and running everything and it looked like just a matter of time before Seapoint cracked again. The home team were defending manfully but Richard McCarter at out half for Derry was running the game beautifully with superb kicking out of hand and bringing his backs and forwards into the game. Derry won a penalty on thirty eight minutes and scrum half Stuart Simpson saw the Seapoint defence in disarray. Simpson took a quick tap to himself and drew two men then passed to Richard Baird who touched down between the posts for a try and when McCarter converted, Derry were leading 12pts to 5pts at half time.
Derry were happy enough at half time with two try’s in the bag and the feeling was that Seapoint would eventually run out of legs with the number of tackles they were being asked to make by powerful attacking play from the Judges Road men. Derry struggled to make the breakthrough despite Seapoint having a man sent to the Sin Bin after fifteen minutes of the second half. It took a Captains try from David Funston on twenty minute to relieve the mounting pressure on Derry to score. Stephen Ferguson took a tap and go penalty to himself 20 meters out and took a few defenders out of the game, quick ruck ball saw Simpson finding McCarter outside him and when he released Funston and it was try time in the corner for an unconverted try and Derry were in front by 17pts to 5pts.
Seapoint replied from the kick off and to everyone’s surprise O’Connor got in for a try and when Kelly converted the home team were back in the game at 17pts to 12pts down. Derry came right back on the attack and threw everything at Seapoint including the kitchen sink. Stephen Corr was having a massive game in the back row giving a Man of the Match performance with great support from the rest of his pack including Chris Shields and Ross Harkin. Derry brought on Bob McKillop who had just flown in from France early in the morning and he was immediately was in the game carrying ball forward and engaging the opposition.
Time was ticking away as Derry were giving everything for the cause with wave after wave of attack. Derry won their umpteenth penalty on thirty eight minutes and McCarter put it into the corner for a 5 meter lineout. Houston secured possession and a powerful forward drive saw that Legend McKilliop tough down for the bonus point try to the relief of Derry and a 22pts to 12pts lead. The game was over as a contest and all the Seapoint fire was extinguished as they kicked off. Derry ran the ball straight back at them and Stuart Simpson touched down for an unconverted try to round off a great personal performance and a deserved victory by 27pts to 12pts for Terry McMaster and his team.
City of Derry RFC Team V Seapoint; Ross Harkin, David Ferguson, Chris Shields, Chris Cooper, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Richard Baird, Stephen Ferguson, Stuart Simpson, Richard McCarter, David Graham, Adam Bratton, David Funston(Captain), Adam Bratton, Jack Beattie, Peter Henderson. Replacements; Nathan Deeney, Cathal Creggan, Bob McKillop, David Devine, Tiernan Thornton.

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