Virginia RFC U16s Battle On
After last weekend’s League Final win, Virginia RFC U16s set about the defence of the Ulster Cup with a home tie v Coleraine RFC. In contrast to last week’s weather they were greeted in Clones by clear skies and a rising temperature making it a beautiful day to play rugby.
After a bruising encounter last weekend a much changed Virginia pack took the field. Props Ryan McGuigan and Thomas Sheridan gave a great account of themselves giving no ground whatsoever in the scrum against much bigger opposition, and were more than competitive in the loose, Mark Gibney started in the second row, and Robert Lochaden was brought back in from the wing to his old stomping ground to boost the power at the breakdown. Coleraine started well, and were soon 3-0 ahead after some lax discipline gave them a penalty, a story that would continue to cost the hosts throughout the game. Virginia seemed to wake up after that, and with Adam Sherriff ensuring quick tempo they were soon on the front foot. Adam Charters at fly half and Captain Niall Carolan at inside centre were a constant threat to Coleraine, and space outside was soon created for Jack Vaughan to touchdown, and with Michael Mckeon-Boyle adding an excellent conversion Virginia were into the lead. Coleraine were going to be a side that wouldn’t go away though. Another penalty closed the gap, and then some poor tackling allowed them to burst through the defence to score a try of their own. Virginia now knew they were in a game. They had been behind before this season though, and once again their resolve shone through. Doing what they do best they worked their way up-field and after a series of penalties in the corner they quickly went wide allowing Jack to secure his brace and give Virginia a 12-11 lead at half time.
Coleraine took the game to Virginia at the start of the second half, but great work by Adrian Lynch and James Farrelly in the pack, and David Gibney dealing well with the aerial threat meant that Virginia weathered the storm. Another front row injury saw Ryan Moloney introduced, and he too scrummaged brilliantly as Virginia continued to hold their own here. Soon Virginia began to dominate territory, and their backs used their speed out wide to pressure the visitors defence. First Paddy Gordon scored, before a cheeky bit of ball robbery saw Conor Nulty open his account. Virginia continued to take the game to Coleraine during this period, and soon looked to have secured the win when Michael converted Conors second try to open up an eighteen point lead. Callum Caswell entered the fray after a long layoff and gave an encouraging performance with promise of more to come, and as injuries continued to mount the also returning Jason Henderson was introduced to shore up the defence. Coleraine weren’t done though, and a second instance of poor tackling allowed them a break way try to close the gap to thirteen. Coleraine now brought everything they had left to the game, and with just minutes left crossed again in the corner, their excellent kicker adding the extras to close the deficit to just six points. Another converted try and they would secure the victory, but credit to Virginia after the restart they never allowed Coleraine back into their half, before bundling one of their players into touch securing a difficult 29-23 win and a place in the quarter-finals.
The amount of games and their intensity is beginning to take its toll on the squad, so it’s hoped that an Easter Tour to a warmer French climate will relieve a few stresses before they travel to Ballymena on the 7th April for their Quarter Final.
Squad: Ryan McGuigan, Killian Collins, Thomas Sheridan, Mark Gibney, James Farrelly, Robert Lochaden, Adrian Lynch, Michael McKeon-Boyle, Adam Sherriff, Adam Charters, Jack Vaughan, Niall Carolan (Cptn), Conor Nulty, Paddy Gordon, David Gibney, Ryan Moloney, Fionn Needham, Callum Caswell, Diarmuid O’Reilly, Jason Henderson, John Dolan, Cormac Monaghan
Ulster League Winners Virginia RFC U14s Keep Their Winning Streak
Virginia RFC 54 Ballyclare RFC 0
Virginia travelled on Saturday morning to Clones in the First round of the Ulster Cup. It was a beautiful spring day with some great sunshine making the conditions excellent to play good rugby.
Virginia were the first to get on the scoreboard in the first 10 minutes scored by Malachy Walker after Virginia’s s great forward play and the ball passed out wide and converted by Malachy. Virginia’s second try came from Killian Smith straight from the kick-off after the ball was caught by Mathew Byers who made a good few yards then passed out wide for Killian Smith to score under the posts. There was great forward play by Gordon Lochaden & Darren Kavanagh in the ruck and a good break by Diarmuid Donnellan who passed the ball to Malachy Walker to get in for a second try in the corner.
Then Killian Smith got in for his second try after Mathew Buyers burst through the middle and set the ball up for the backs to get the ball out wide.
Virginia kept Ballyclare in their half with some great tackles and It wasn’t long after that Killian Smith got in for his third try of the day and conversion by Malachy Walker brought the score to 33-0. Kieran Duffy got on score sheet by scoring under the posts, the try came from a great scrum by Virginia to let Kieran break from the back of the scrum to bring the score to 40-0
Virginia made changes for the second half, Ruairi Flynn-Connelly replaced Conan Fitzpatrick and Philip O Dowd replaced Ben Curran.
Virginia made more great forward play and the ball was passed out by Oscar Erikson to Jack Carroll and then to Malachy Walker who ran the length of the field to score his third try under the posts.
As the injuries plagued Ballyclare and the scoreboard ran away from them, Virginia got the rest of their subs on. Aidan Kiernan replaced Darren Kavanagh, David O’Reilly replaced Patrick Sheridan, Tadgh Barry replaced Tyrone Tynan and Cameron O’Reilly on for Oscar Erikson
A try from Nathan Tobin under the posts and Malachy ended with stats of 7/8 with the boot to make the final score 54-0
Virginia are now in the Ulster Cup Quarter Final on the 7th April against opposition to be confirmed.
Squad: Darren Kavanagh, Gordon Lochaden, Eoin Bogan, Matthew Byers, Conan Fitzpatrick, Patrick Sheridan, Diarmuid Donnellan, Oscar Erikson, Jack Carroll, Killian Smith, Nathan Tobin, Malachy Walker, Ben Curran, Ruairi Flynn-Connelly, Philip O’Dowd, Tyrone Tynan, Kieran Duffy, David O’Reilly, Aidan Kiernan, Tadgh Barry, Cameron O’Reilly
NOEL KAVANAGH SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME
Another great development for our club thanks to the generosity of Noel Kavanagh and OB Sports. We will be sending one U16 from the Boys and Girls Youth Sections for a week long residential stay at the Leinster School of Excellence.
This seasons nominees after a tightly fought decision making process are Adam Sherriff and Rachel McEnroe.
They are pictured here with Tom Cullen (U16s Coach), Noel Kavanagh, and Jon Watt (Club CCRO).
Well done to them both, and the club is looking forward to them returning with new skills to share.
Big thanks to Martin Shortt Ltd, main kit sponsor for our U16s Easter Tour to the 2018 Tournoi International de Cornouaille in Brittany.
Pictured here are Robert Lochaden, Ned Lochaden and Cai Walker from Virginia RFC presenting a jersey to Susan Caffrey and Maria Segarty-Kenny of Martin Shortt