Virginia RFC Notes: I XV 13 v Londonderry YMCA RFC I XV 6: Report LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Virginia RFC’s senior side started their first match in the new league campaign with a hard fought victory over Derry YMCA at Deerpark on Saturday past. The Cavan side more than held their own in the early exchanges, putting pressure on Londonderry which led to the opening score. Virginia secured possession off a line-out on their opponents twenty-two which allowed them to move forward with number 8 Matthew McWeeney breaking through the Londonderry defence, dummying past the full back and diving in for a try under the posts. Out-half, Daniel McNamee added two points with the conversion making it 7 points to nil for Virginia.

At this time the northern team started to shake off their 3 hour journey down and started to exert their own game plan on the match. The scrummaging exchanges were very much 50/50 in the opening half but Virginia errors at the base of the scrum allowed Londonderry to gain a foothold in the Virginia half, gaining possession this way on more than one occasion. Eventually this pressure turned into penalties with Virginia going off their feet at the ruck, leading the referee to blow for a penalty inside their own twenty-two in front of the posts. Londonderry’s number 10 duly slotted over the 3 points on offer.

Londonderry were now dominating in the Virginia half and could have inflicted severe damage on the score board only for the brave work of open-side flanker Niall Patterson at the breakdown, gaining valuable turnover possession. Londonderry were to score again however as another Virginia penalty on their twenty-two at the ruck allowed for 3 more points conceded. Virginia led 7 points to 6 at the halftime.

After the break Londonderry continued to crank up the pressure and laid siege to Virginia line. A series of scrums on the Virginia 5 metre line could easily have led to a Londonderry try but only for the rallying cry of Virginia hooker and Captain, Garry Daly the Virginia pack put in a massive hit at the scrum allowing fullback, Gavin Clarke clear the Virginia lines. This was the closest Londonderry would come to scoring for the rest of the game.

Virginia started to come into their own in the last quarter of the match with wing, Kevin Mulvanney setting up what would have been a peach of a try. The Ramour man gathered the ball in his own twenty-two and set off on a darting, jinking run, bypassing several Londonderry defenders. He carried possession into the opposition twenty-two, offloading to Gavin Clarke, sending him in the corner for a great try only for the referee to make a dubious call and bring play back for a forward pass against Mulvanney. None the less however, the Virginia team rallied on, piling on the pressure in doing so gaining two kickable penalties in quick concession. Out half McNamee brought his scoring boots on the day, gladly scoring both penalties on offer, one of which was from the half-way line. 13 points to 6 for Virginia.

The result of the game however hung in the balance until the very end as Londonderry fought hard to snatch a draw but in the end Virginia held on for the 2 league points on offer. Virginia would not have won but only for the work rate of a number of players. Captain Gary Daly and Chris Corrie jnr (making his senior competitive debut) steadied the ship at scrum time. Scrumhalf Cian Wogan and the outstanding Niall Patterson ensured secure possession at the base of the ruck. Centres Ben Gilmore and Tony McLaughlin also deserve credit for their ball carrying exploits.

Head Coach, Fergal Brady was pleased with the result but noted the a bigger effort will required as the season continues all teams will get more game time and rustiness becomes a non-issue. Virginia’s next time out is this Saturday, October 6th as they welcome Armoy at home, Deerpark in a must win game to ensure they continue their confidant start to the new season.

Team: 15 Gavin Clarke, 14 Gary Brady, 13 Tony McLaughlin, 12 Ben Gilmore, 11 Kevin Mulvanney, 10 Daniel McNamee, 9 Cian Wogan, 8 Matthew McWeeney, 7 Niall Patterson, 6 Farrell Brady, 5 Fergus Tighe, 4 Sean Meehan, 3 Tommy Owens, 2 Gary Daly (Captain) , 1 Chris Corrie.

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