Virginia RFC Club Notes

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Virginia RFC U14s Remain Unbeaten
Virginia RFC U14s continued their great form last weekend when they welcomed Malone RFC to Deerpark. Virginia had defeated Malone at the end of last season to clinch the Ulster League title, so they knew the Belfast team would be out for revenge.
On a cold crisp morning the home time started on fire, and within the first ten minutes found themselves ten points to the good after quickfire tries from Cai Walker and John Smyth. Malone though fought their way back into the game, and Virginia record of not having conceded a try all season was broken after a charge downed clearance resulted in Malone halving the deficit. The home side however dominated the possession and despite some sloppy handling and disjointed play ran in another three tries before the break, two for Micheal McKeon-Boyle, and one for Niall Carolan, all three converted by Aaron Mannion to make the score 31-5 at HT.
Virginia rang the changes at HT, but in fairness probably played their best rugby after doing so. Jamie Osbourne went over for a try to extend the lead, but Malone again rallied for a good period. Stout defence from the home team limited them to just a converted try during this spell, and Virginia soon regained composure. They ran in two more tries, with Michael completing his hatrick, and Paddy Gordon adding one at the death. Michael who’d taken over the kicking duties converted one to make the final score 48-12.
Despite the scoreline the coaching team know that improvements will have to be made before next weekend top of the table clash away to Ballinahinch next weekend.

U13s Successful in Leinster Again
Virginia RFC U13s made another foray into inter provincial rugby when they travelled to Navan for a friendly last weekend. Once again the weather was kind and the conditions were great for rugby.
The start was a disaster for the visitors, and some poor tackling and great attacking play from Navan very quickly saw Virginia 10-0 down. They then started to play their way back in to the game, but were caught by an intercept try and were all of a sudden seventeen points behind. It would have been easy for the heads to drop but they had confidence in how they could play and again pressed the Navan defence. A try apiece from Jake White-Duffy and Mark Gibney, with one converted by Jake meant they were suddenly back in the game, and went in at the half time break trailing just 17-12.
They started the second half determined to claw their way back to parity, and before long Mark had added his second to level the scores. Navan though weren’t going to roll over easily, and fought their way into the Virginia half scoring a great try to put themselves back in front 22-17. This was a huge test of character for the Cavan boys and they stood up to the test. Nathan Tobin again levelled the scores, before Conor Nulty ran the length of the pitch to touch down and give Virginia the lead for the first time. Before long Mark had completed his hatrick, and Jakes conversion made the score 34-22. This seemed to break the spirit of Navan, and a fourth try for Mark, another for Conor, one converted by Jake made the final score 48-22.
A good performance overall, but the team know they won’t be able to gift next week’s opponents Ballyshannon RFC a seventeen point lead when they return to Ulster Qualifying action on Saturday.

Virginia U/16’s beat Malone 48 – 19

In ideal conditions Virignia entertained Malone RFC from Belfast, the slightly delayed kick off didn’t affect the Virginia players as from the first scrum in the game Rioghan Smith stole the oppositions ball and this was worked through the back line for Charlie Reilly to blitz over the line for a try underneath the posts, straight from the kick off Rioghan Smith caught the ball this was transfered into Niall Prestons hands whose strong aggressive running left five Malone players in his wake and he crashed over underneath the posts. The home side were dominant in this early phase in the game and were crashing over the gain line with Ben Brunton and Fionn O Reilly to the fore and it wasn’t long before the former was on the end of a good virginia passing move to crash over the malone line.
The replacement through injury of Stephen Ryan by Conor Cahill didn’t disrupt the side’s momentum.
Malone started to get some field position but some strong defending from scrum half Sean Warren and Evan Charters meant that this field position did not last long. Probably the try of the match followed where Martin O Connell got a ball on the half way line and with pace and power evaded numerous tackles and squeezed in the corner, This left the half time score twenty eight nil to the home side.
Virginia had been guilty in previous games of not killing off games in the second half but this did not happen in this game, with the lineout options of Owen Doyle, Daragh O Leary and Ryan Sheilds ruling the throw ins of both sides it was not long before Virginia breeched the Malone line with a good kick ahead by outhalf Mark Gilsenan was followed through by fullback Gareth Mannion who glided in under the posts. Luke Brodie came on for the industrious Rioghan Smith and Oisin Cullen came on for Captain Nial Preston with Conor Cahill taking over the captain’s role. Malone stepped up the pressure but Virginia held fast until they were reduced to thirteen players, it was then when Malone crossed the home side’s line. However undeterred the home side ran in two good scores, the first from strong running from the backline resulting in Aaron Kearns touching down in the corner, the second came from the tenacious Martin O Connell, Harry O Connell, Euan Henry and Sam Ajetunmobi came on to replenish the side however it was the away side who scored the last two tries to put some respectablity to the scoreline.This was a very positive outing for this young Virgi ia side with good interplay between players and was the best team performance of the season so far.
Virginia now face two difficult away games which will test this young sides metal but this result against one of the arstrocrats of Ulster rugby is certainly a feather in Virginia’s Cap.

Squad: Owen Doyle,Rioghan Smith,Evan Charters,Ryan Shields,Darragh Oleary,
Ben Brunton, Nial Preston, Stephen Ryan, Sean Warren, Mark Gilsenan, Aaron Kierans
Fionn O Reilly, Charlie Reilly, Martin O Connell Gareth Mannion, Conor Cahill, Luke Brodie, Samuel Ajetunmobi, Oisin Cullen, Euan Henry, Harry O Connell, Jamie Davidson.
Under 15 Girls play Enniskillen in second match of league

A sunny Sunday afternoon seen Virginia girls welcome Enniskillen to Deerpark, and unfortunately the visitors could only field eight girls, but nonetheless the girls made a match of it and played their hearts out. The match kicked off and within a few minutes Amanda McQuade had scored two tries, but despite her best efforts they remained unconverted. In the second twenty minutes of the game, Ciara Byers added a further two tries, but Enniskillen were not to be outdone, and came back with a well placed try of their own which was easily converted by their kicker. Before the end of this twenty minute phase the visitors had added a further try. The final twenty minutes seen Amanda complete her hat trick and added her third try of the day, which was followed by one each from Emily Gregory and Emma Ryan. Amanda kicked the conversion and the score ended 37 – 12 in Virginia’s favour.

Squad: Ava Fannin, Sorcha Higgins, Sarah Corrie, Emily Gregory, Ciara Byers, Eimear Coyle, Renate Strode, Rachael McEnroe, Amanda McQuade, Hannah Grimes, Amy O’Dowd, Emma Ryan, Rebecca Snell, Sorcha McCormack, Chloe Duffy, Emma Lochaden, Leah Rooney and Sarah McNamee.

The Virginia girls now look forward to welcoming Letterkenny to Virginia next Sunday for the next game of the league.

Virginia Under 18 Girls welcome Enniskillen to Virginia
The under 18 girls were eagerly awaiting the return match against Enniskillen, and despite kicking off without their capatain in the first half, they entered into the game with determination. No sooner had the whistle blown for kick off, Sara Whitley crossed the whitewash for a try straight between the posts, which Leah Gregory converted with ease. The Virginia girls kept the pressure up, and were rewarded with a second try from Cáolinn McCormack. Enniskillen responded immediately, and broke throught on the wing scoring their first try. Virginia added another from Leah, only to allow the visitors in for their second try straight away. At this stage Virginia seemed to gain momentum and by the half time whistle, Megan Brodie had added a further try and three from Eimear McEnroe, leaving the score 39 – 10.
In the second half, Ciara Brown joined her team and despite having just played a football final, managed to score two tries for the ten minutes the coaches allowed her on the field. Despite the visitor’s best efforts they could not breach the Virginia defence and both Eimear and Sara had added further tries to their total. By the time the whistle blew for the end of the match, Virginia had won with a very convincing score of 76 – 10.

Squad: Niamh Daly, Sara Whitley, Megan Higgins, Cáolinn McCormack, Megan Brodie, Nicole Higgins, Victoria Whyte, Keeling Brady, Amber Redmond, Ciara Brown, Rebecca Warren, Keavy McDermott, Leah Gregory, Amy Claffey, Eimear McEnroe, Amy Kerrigan, Michelle McAuley, Sorcha Fitzsimons.

Community Recognition for Virginia Rugby Club
On Friday night some of the Club committee members were in attendance at the annual Virginia Development Awards, and were delighted when Virginia Rugby Club was announced the winner of the “Most improved Community Facility” award. There has been an immense amount of work carried out at the Club already this year, with the addition of a second playing pitch which should be ready for action next season. The benefits of the new pitch will be enjoyed by the growing number of players which the Club has attracted over the last number of years. The new kitchen is already in use by the Club, and the much needed improvement is certainly a welcome addition. Thank you very much to all those who took the time to vote for the Club on this occasion.

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