SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL: City Of Derry Rugby 1st XV 73 v Ards Rugby 1st XV 31

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City of Derry Rugby Club continued their unbeaten run in all competitions this season when they outclassed fellow AIL Division 3 team Ards on Saturday last to progress to the Semi Final of the Ulster Senior Cup. The teams were level at 26pts all ten minutes into the second half after a fight back from a gallant Ards outfit. But for any ordinary team it would be a case of game on. This Derry Squad don’t “do mere mortal” and raised their performance to another level and ran in eight try’s in the following thirty minutes to lay down a marker for future clashes. Ards have the unenviable task of having to return to Judges Road twice more before the season is out to play in the Ulster and All Ireland Leagues.

160 Pictures here thanks to Bernard Doherty. E: – CLICK HERE –

The modern rugby game was castigated over the last few seasons for being dominated by defensive systems put in place by expert coaching that initially was transferred from Rugby League. The attacking flair and individual brilliance was said to have been coached to death out of the current rugby player and recently the ball had the hell kicked out of it to setup territorial advantage. Come to Judges Road on a Saturday and see how innovative coaching from Bevan Lynch, Terry McMaster and Mark Nicholl, Youth and other Senior Coaches throughout the complete club playing structure has buried the lie to a stagnant game. The 1st XV rattled up 12 try’s this week and ten last week and the crowds are testament to appreciation.
City of Derry started in confident mood on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon when after 2 minutes out half Richard Peoples made a break from midfield and found the ubiquitous Simon Logue to run in for a try by the post which Peoples converted for an early lead. That advantage was doubled 5 minutes later when this time Scrum Half Andrew Semple made the break inside the Ards half and the athletic Stephen Duffy ran in for a converted try. Stephen Duffy was deputising at hooker for the rested Sam McAuley and went on to produce a Man of the Match
performance with a hat trick of try’s. Derry added another two men to their long injury list on ten minutes when wing forward Chris Cooper and centre Ryan Campbell were replace by Stephen Corr and Andrew Barr.
Ards reduced the arrears to 14pts to 7 pts on 20 minutes when Richard Millar got in for a try which was converted by Jonny McGlaghlan. Ards to their credit came to Derry to play ball and impose their own attacking patterns on the game and the promise of and open game became a reality. With 25 minutes gone Derry forwards were dominant with Chris Shields and Sam and Stephen Duffy along with second row pairing of Bob McKillop and David Houston the set piece possession was quality. Richard Baird, Stepehn Corr and Tom Patton in the back row were dominating the breakdown and an infringement by Ards saw Semple take a quick tap penalty and release winger David Murdock to run for a converted try and 21pts to 7pts for Derry.
Ards came back on 30 minutes and a beautiful diagonal run inside the Derry 22 saw Scott Young score an unconverted try. The score of the game came on 35 minutes when wing forward Richard Baird showed his true potential when from 40 metres out he showed quick feet good hands, pace and power to fend off four men and score an unconverted try in the corner. Peoples was sin binned for obstruction on 37 minutes and Ards got in for the last try of the half on 40 minutes when winger Davis Armstrong score a try which McGlaghlan converted to leave Derry leading 26pts to 19pts.
The second half was just 5 minutes old and a super confident Derry were amazed to be on level terms after the big Ards second row Keith McIlwaine got in for a try which McGlaghlan and it was 26pts all. City of Derry went into attack attack mode and on 10 minutes Stephen Duffy got an unconverted try, People kicked a rare penalty taken by Derry on 13 minutes from 40 metres out. Baird showed sheer class on 15minutes when quick feet and a side step in midfield opened the Ards defence and Peter Henderson was on hand to supply the pace and score a converted try between the posts ant it was 41pts to 26pts.
The ever alert Andrew Semple was on hand to run in for a converted try from broken play on 18 minutes. It was now all Derry and two minutes later William McCleery linked with Henderson to give Stephen Duffy his hat trick try which was not converted. Henderson himself got in for his second try 2 minutes later it was 58pts to 26pts for Derry. Jonny McGlaghlan got in for an Ards try on 25minutes to give his team a total of 31pts. City of Derry brought on Philip Duffy on the wing to create a great occasion for the Duffy family and especially a proud day for their father Seamus when Philip joined Prop Sam and Hooker Stephen on the 1st XV for the first time.

Tom Patton who was having an excellent game at No 8 got in for an unconverted Derry try on 28 minutes and Richard Peoples got a try of his own 2 minutes later to bring his personal tally for the game to 18pts. The scoring was completed by the busy outstanding Andrew Semple on 35minutes when he got in for an unconverted try and sent the large crowd home happy with Derry winning by 73pts to 31pts. The next name for City of Derry is at home to Banbridge on Saturday in the All Ireland League, Kick-off 2.30pm when another bumper crowd is expected.
City of Derry Team: Chris Shields, Stephen Duffy, Sam Duffy, Bob McKillop, David Houston, Chris Cooper, Richard Baird, Tom Patton, Andrew Semple, Richard Peoples, William McCleery, Ryan Campbell, Simon Logue, David Murdock, Peter Henderson. Replacements: David Witherow, Cathal Creggan, Stephen Corr, Philip Duffy, Andrew Barr.

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