Virginia RFC U14s Retain Ulster League Title in Style
After a long campaign, Virginia RFC U14s faced the final hurdle in retaining the Ulster League title they won 12 months ago. They faced Ballynahinch RFC at the Meadowbank Sports Arena on a bright sunny morning in Magherafelt last Saturday with an 11.30 KO. The sides had already met in two tough encounters this season with honours even so a titanic encounter was in store.
Virginia knew the importance of a good start, and came out of the blocks on fire. The return of John Smyth and Killian Collins in the front row was a huge boost, and along with Jake Sullivan they again gave a consummate scrummaging performance. At the breakdown Jamie Osbourne and Robert Lochaden were as ferocious as ever ensuring plenty of possession and putting Hinch on the backfoot. Fly half Adam Charters knew they were wary of the threat out wide and with a trademark step split the opposition to go in under the posts for an early try, converted by Aaron Mannion. From the restart Virginia again quickly reestablished territorial advantage, and the backs through Conor Nulty and Niall Carolan tested the Hinch defence continually. Aaron went close, before Paddy Gordon forced his way over in the corner to make it 12-0. Ballynahinch were no pushovers though, and Virginia were wary of their excellent backrow, but Adrian Lynch and Jason Henderson marshalled the threat well. Hinch then tried the kick and chase as they couldn’t go through the black wall. David Gibney at full back was as assured as ever, and Virginia were firmly on top. This was cemented just before the break when Cai Walker made a powerful run off the back of the scrum touching down in the corner to make it 17-0 at half time.
Virginia had been here before though, and knew Hinch were a dangerous team having come back and beat them from a similar position earlier this year. The Cavan men were determined not to let this happen, and held firm in the face of the expected 2nd Half onslaught. They got the all important first score of the half when Paddy again evaded tackles out wide, but it still wasn’t done and dusted. An unfair yellow card for Robert on the back of persistent ruck infringements from the team meant Virginia were down to 14 men for a period, but again they held firm. The introduction of Callum Finane, Adam Sherriff, Ryan Kennedy and John Dolan added fresh legs to the park, and they fitted in seamlessly. Virginia went further ahead when Cai fought his way through a tiring Hinch defence, with the conversion from Aaron making it 29-0. Jack Vaughan, Thomas Sheridan & Mark Gibney were introduced, and they were instrumental in making Hinchs late bid for a consolation try a fruitless one. The match ended when Michael Mckeon-Boyle capped an excellent performance in the lineout, when he bundled the Hinch backrow into touch as they tried to catch and drive from 5 metres out. Final score 29-0, and Virginia were back to back Ulster League Champions.
Mention must go to Callum Caswell and Robert Ryan who travelled as part of the squad, and James Smith, Ryan McGuigan, and Evan Manning who couldn’t be with us on the day. Also to all the lads in the 2nd XV whose challenge during training made the team what it is. All had played key roles in getting the 1st XV to this stage.
With the League won the focus now turns to the Cup next weekend. The 1st XV welcome Lurgan RFC to the Deerpark, whilst the 2nd XV look forward to the arrival of Donegal RFC. Both games are next Saturday morning.
Backrow L-R: Jake Sullivan, Niall Carolan, John Smyth, Jamie Osbourne, Adrian Lynch, David Gibney, Michael McKeon-Boyle, Ryan Kennedy, Robert Lochaden, Paddy Gordon, Robert Ryan, Callum Finane.
Frontrow L-R: Cai Walker (Cptn), Mark Gibney, Conor Nulty, Jason Henderson, Aaron Mannion, Killian Collins, Adam Sherriff, Adam Charters, John Dolan, Jack Vaughan, Callum Caswell, Thomas Sheridan.
Not Pictured: James Smith, Evan Manning, Ryan McGuigan
Virginia U12 Girls give excellent display of rugby in Donnybrook
Well done to Virginia RFC U12 girls for their breath-taking display of rugby during the interval at Ireland Women’s victory over Scotland in Donnybrook on Sunday. On a great day for ladies rugby, Virginia’s girls did their club proud running in a handful of tries during their fast paced half-time match against Creggs. Having watched their National team dominate during the first half, Virginia’s girls were determined to use the opportunity to showcase their own skills and passion for the game, and did not disappoint in entertaining the crowd during their thrilling interval game. The girls were rewarded for their efforts with lots of autographs and selfies with the Irish team after the game to finish off a memorable day.
Team: Leah O’ Dowd, Niamh Brodie, Christina Charters, Aisling McEnroe, Siún Smith, Caoimhe Skelly, Martha Smith, Caoimhe Halpin, Shannah Galligan, Erin McLoughlin, Aoife Cahill, Ellen McQuade
Virginia RFC 5k, 10k and Family Fun Run on Sunday 27th March.
Start your Easter Sunday morning at Virginia rugby club by participating in the 5k, 10k or family run starting at 10am. There’s also an Easter egg hunt for children, so come along and have some fun whilst also support ing the club on this fundraising event.