Virginia U14s 2nd XV March On
Perfect conditions up in Larne after a long haul of a journey and an early start for the Virginia U14 2nds for what was to be a very evenly contested match.
Virginia stunned the hosts by scoring the opening try after some dogged rucking in the middle of the park. Good supporting play by the Virginia forwards led by pack leader Thomas Sheridan, and supported by James Smith and Luke Morris meant the forwards kept the momentum going forward. A knock on by Larne caused by great rucking from Jake Sullivan and Cormac Monaghan led to a Virginia scrum 5 metres from the Larne try line. A quick feed from Adam Sherriff back to Mark Gibney allowed Mark to storm over the line for the first try. Larne quickly responded and after some poor tackling from Virginia, they scored their first try. Larne were pressing for another score but Virginia defended well with great work by Conor Nulty, David Gibney and a certain try saving tackle by Jack Vaughan meant that the hosts wouldn’t get to score again before the end of the half, the sides going in at 5-5.
The second half was fiercely contested between the forwards with some good play by and Eli Caffrey, Cathal O’Reilly and Callum Finane, who was adjusting well to his new forward position. However, despite early pressure by Virginia, they were unable to penetrate the Larne defence and good defensive work and some important tackles by Luke Doyle and Ciaran Levy-Valensi on the wings, and Jake White-Duffy playing at out half ensured the hosts were unable to break down a resolute Virginia. Towards the end of the match Virginia had the momentum in their favour, with repeated infringements from Larne allowing Virginia to get some great attacking field position. The forwards again got quick ball from a super lineout by Killian Collins, and Robert Lochadens dogged determination ensured he scored a great try in the corner to put Virginia 10-5 up with 5 minutes to go. Larne were not finished and were determined to get another score. Some poor defensive work from Virginia allowed their winger to make a sprint for the line only to be stopped with a textbook tackle by Jason Henderson preventing a certain try. Virginia were never going to lose the last scrum of the match and quick thinking by Adam Sherriff put the ball into touch to ensure a victory for Virginia.
Full time score in Larne was 10-5 to Virginia, who look forward to the visit of Ballyshannon RFC next Saturday to The Deerpark. The U14 1st XV had a week off when Dromore RFC couldn’t field resulting in the game being awarded to Virginia. They too have a home fixture next weekend when they welcome Randalstown RFC.