Shots Live !!!!!!!!!!!!! Virginia & Clogher Valley RFC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pic: Paul Carroll

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Under 14 League Semi-Final

Virginia RFC 40 Carrickfergus RFC 7

Virginia U14s march into Ulster League Final again

In damp testing conditions, a strong team performance saw Virginia RFC U14s book a place in the Ulster League Finals for the fourth season running.

A strong Nathan Tobin break in the backs was followed up by a neat pick and go from Keiran Duffy to open the scoring for Virginia. Matthew Byers crashed over the line minutes later after a powerful surge from Eoin Bogan, who had a fine match. Carrickfergus were fighting hard but were finding it difficult to get out of their own half with brilliant tackling by Gordon Lochaden, Paddy Sheridan and Diarmuid Donnellan on the flanks. Oscar Erikson was marshalling his forwards well, and Keiran got his second before half time after some outstanding pop passes off the ground by Tyrone Tynan and Rian Stafford which kept the momentum going, with Malachy Walker adding the conversion. Tyrone unfortunately had a lovely team try disallowed just before the break with a foot just in touch meaning Virginia went in at the break 17-0 up.

Straight from the kick off Captain Kieran Duffy completed his hat trick, again taking the direct route through the Carrick pack, Malachy again adding the extras. The Virginia pack were now dominating and Glen McCabe scored next to extend the lead to 33-0.
Keiran was not done yet and scored from close range after the Virginia forwards disrupted the opposition lineout close to their line. Killian Smith got on the score sheet next with some fine interplay between backs and forwards allowing him space out wide. To Carrick’s credit, they never stopped trying and crossed the line out wide after a typically bruising run by their outside centre. Virginia had the bench emptied with Istavil DaSousa, Louis Fidgeon, Declan Burns, Harry Leddy, Tadgh Barry and Ben Curran all contributing in the final quarter. Fittingly Virginia had the final score when Tyrone crossed the try line out wide after some lovely passing from Jack Carroll and Nathan.

Next weekend they will meet Ballynahinch RFC in the Ulster Youth League U14s Final at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown.

U16s into Ulster League Final Again

Virginia RFC U16s faced City of Derry RFC at The Peacelink Centre in Clones as they vied for a place in next weekend’s Ulster Youth League Final. Both sides came into the game having only lost one game all season so something had to give.

A big City of Derry side started the game well, bringing the game to Virginia, but great work by Callum Finane, James Farrelly and Michael McKeon-Boyle meant they made little ground. It was obvious from the outset though that Virginia were up against a big physical threat, and the usually dominant Front Row of Jamie Osbourne and John Smyth had to put in another sterling performance in the scrum just to maintain parity. The lineout too was a challenge but excellent management by Adrian Lynch and superb throwing from Killian Collins meant it was an area where Virginia got great reward. Despite the pressure applied City of Derry struggled to make inroads on the Virginia defence, and soon the home side were pressing for a score of their own. Adam Sherriff at Scrum Half was as niggly as ever in defence, and as sharp as ever in attack, allowing the returning Adam Charters plenty of time to vary the attack. Virginia threatened with some strong runs up the middle, but it was out wide they would prosper today. Robert Lochaden has added a real running threat to his solid defence, but it was Paddy Gordon who would cross first in the corner to open the scoring. As the half wore on Virginia continued to press, and more great hands out wide saw Conor Nulty cross to double the advantage, giving Virginia a 10-0 lead at the break.

It was obvious that City of Derry would come again after the break, and so they did. Great work though by the Flankers led by Cai Walker meant the threat was negated, and with Jason Henderson at Full Back adding to his ever increasing tackle count City of Derry rarely threatened the home twenty-two. Despite this they then pulled the score back to 10-3 with a penalty, and at this point were very much in the game. The Virginia forwards regained the upper hand as the half wore on, and after testing the visitors out wide, Niall Carolan carved a whole straight through the defence to score under the posts, and this seemed to deflate Derry men. Mark Gibney and Jake White-Duffy were introduced freshening up both the forwards and the backs, and soon Paddy had crossed for his second to give Virginia a 17 point lead. Ciaran Levy-Valensi and Ryan McGuigan entered the fray, both giving good accounts of themselves, but the disruption allowed City of Derry a brief window back into the game, again allowing them to profit from a penalty and bringing the gap back to two converted scores. Virginia weren’t done though, and again out wide is where they profited with Paddy completing his hatrick. Luke Morris, John Dolan, and Thomas Sheridan were put on, and they helped see the game out for a 25-6 victory.

Virginia U16s will join the U14s as they both travel to the Mid Ulster Sports Arena on St Patricks Day, where the U16s will face City of Armagh RFC in the League Final. For many of the squad it’s their fourth consecutive League Final, and they’ll be hoping to add to their two previous wins.