REPORT Virgnia U18s v Instonians U18s

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On Saturday last Virginia U18 travelled to Belfast in the first round of the Ulster Youth Cup. The opponents on the day were Belfast Instonians.

After few late cry-offs Virginia squad was depleted and had to travel with 13 players only.

But it did not deter the lads’ enthusiasm and despite the challenge they were faced with, spirits were high.

After a quick team meeting on the journey it was agreed by players and coaches to approach the game with a positive attitude and to basically “give it our best shot”!


The Virginia lads opted to kick first and from the kick-off put huge pressure on their hosts.

They were quickly rewarded when, despite being 2 players short, they manage to put powerful runner Dylan Tighe into space for the opening score after only 3 minutes on the clock. No conversion left the score at 5-0.

Once again Virginia displayed great skills and managed to send Tighe for two other scores in the space of 10 minutes completing a magnificent hat-trick. John Cooke duly converted both tries and after 12 minutes the score was 19-0.

Virginia out-paced and out-skilled their opponents on the day and were dangerous all through the first half.

Strong running from the forwards punched holes in Instonians defence to be exploited by Virginia fast back line.

As the game went on, Virginia players started to force the game a bit and to their credits were taking more risks in off-loads and ambitious moves.

They gave away possession and it did spur the locals on. Instonians fly-half accurate and smart kicking tested Virginia under strength back field.

The Cavan team had to exert lots of energy to gather the kicks and make their way up the pitch again and again.

Virginia lineout was on fire and jumper Rory Smith stole a huge amount of throw from Instonians whilst catching 100% of Virginia’s own throws.

Virginia worked tirelessly to fill gaps in defence and  to retain possession in attack.

Their efforts were rewarded when Captain Michael Gordon crashed over the line from close range.

No conversion meant that the score was 24-0 at half time.

It was a welcome break after a great display of fast flowing, running rugby from the Virginia lads.


The second half was a more even contest as Instonians grew in confidence and Virginia were starting to show signs of fatigue.

But the lads kept going and more great running form winger Dale Smith, sent him over the line for Virginia 5th try. Cooke added the points 31-0.

Virginia were to add a final try with 10 minutes left from a 5metres scrum, scrum-half Adrian Rogers picked and went at the bottom of the scrum. After fixing his defender he found Oisin Keirnan with a clever inside pass. The big lad was left with an easy walk in try. John Cooke conversion brought the score to 38-0.

Credit must go to Instonians who never gave up and were rewarded for their effort with a try on the last play of the game. The missed conversion left the score at 38-5.


Both teams are to be commended for the great spirits, skills and attitude displayed during the game.

It was an entertaining and enjoyable morning of rugby for all, players, referee, coaches and supporters on both sides. That’s what youth rugby is all about!

Credit must also go to Instonians for a flawless organisation and great hospitality.


A great day for Virginia U18, who despite playing with only 13 players managed to display great skills and even greater attitude. Let’s hope it will serve them in the next round of the competition!


The squad: Tristan Lotsche, Peadar Doughty, Michael Gordon (Cpt), Niall Yore, Dylan Tighe, Oisin Kiernan, Rory Smith, Adrian Rogers, John Cooke, Nathan McQuade, Connor McHugh, Redmond Egan, Dale Smith.

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