What A Finish: Promotion & AIL 3 LEAGUE CHAMPIONS! City of Derry Rugby 58 v Naas Rugby 6: Report Now Live: Pictures Now Live

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The Abbott of Abbeydorney once said “the Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow can be overshadowed by the nuggets collected on the journey”. Well for City of Derry Rugby Club the pot of gold and all the nuggets came together on a fairytale Saturday at Judges Road that could not have even been scripted or matched by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Incredible Thing”. Derry just needed a bonus point in the final game of the season at home to Naas to finish in the top four in the league and get promoted to Division 2 of the All Ireland League. The requirement was never in doubt as Bevan Lynch’s men produced their best performance of the season scoring eight try’s amassing 58pts and with rivals Instonians and Seapoint both loosing the news filtered through to the Clubhouse that City of Derry were not only promoted but had won the League on points difference.


The strains of Danny Boy echoed around the club as the celebrations commenced to crown City of Derry’s second promotion in two years. The style of victory on Saturday is a credit to Derry’s Head Coach Bevan Lynch and his Assistant Mark Nichollfor the coaching, training and conditioning and time they have given to this young squad. There was no fear of defeat there on Saturday but a confidence by the players in their own ability and the trust in the playbook that was required of them by their coaches. Derry imposed themselves on the game from the start and never gave their opponents one sniff of aid or comfort as they turned the screw tighter and tighter and kept the scoreboard ticking over. They scored enough points on the day to allow them to make “the incredible thing” happen and win the league on a point’s difference of eight and create one of the most memorable days ever in the clubs history.

The big home support had barely settled in their positions at the start of the match when it was immediately evident Derry’s attacking intent was going to manifest itself in early scores. Richard Peoples converted a penalty from a Naas breakdown infringement on two minutes and the same player touched down for try a minute later following a lovely break by Richard McCarter, with Peoples adding the conversion it was 10pts to nil to Derry. Naas to their credit put up a bit of a fight and their full back Dave Ahern kicked two penalties to record their only scores of the game on fifteen and twenty six minutes.

The Derry scrum was dominant all through with David Witherow, Captain Sam McAuley and Sam Duffy creating a fantastic platform to allow back row forwards Tom Patton, Stephen Corr and Richard Baird the opportunity to run their set moves at will. The Lynch psyche of increasing the tempo of the game in the ten minute spell before and after half time was executed to perfection with the game being put to bed with two try’s before and after the break.

Ryan Campbell got in for an unconverted try in the corner to mark his successful return from injury on thirty two minutes following good play from McCarter and Peter Henderson. The killer try came on the half time whistle from William McCleery who showed brilliant pace following excellent play from David Funston and Andrew Semple with Peoples converting it was 25pts to 6pts for Derry at Half time.

The line outs were being dominated by Chris Cooper and Philip Brady and the set piece ball was guaranteed. Richard McCarter got in for a try on four minutes and with Peoples adding the extras it was 32pts to 6 pts for the home team. Six minutes later Ryan Campbell got his second try following a McCarter break and the try of the game came following a powerful Stephen Ferguson break on seventeen minutes in which he tore into the heart of the Naas defence before finding Peter Henderson in support to score his twenty fourth try of the season with Peoples converting it was 44pts to 6pts for Derry. Derry brought on their replacements and Stephen and Philip Duffy along with Stephen Simms and Robin Craig who all brought a renewed energy to the home teams play.

Richard McCarter got in for Derry’s seventh try on twenty minutes which Peoples converted. Richard Peoples then as time was ebbing away put his mark on an unbelievable display when he made a break from inside his own half beating four players before being foot tripped and offloading to Robin Curry to touch down for a try between the posts. Peoples with the conversion brought the final score to 58pts to 6pts and crowned a great Man of the Match performance and probably the accolade of Player of the Season for City of Derry Rugby Club.

City of Derry Team: : David Witherow, Sam McAuley, Sam Duffy, Philip Brady, Chris Cooper, Stephen Corr, Tom Patton, Richard Baird, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, William McCleery, Richard Peoples, David Funston, Ryan Campbell, Peter Henderson. Replacements: Stephen Duffy, Stephen Ferguson, Stephen Simms, Robin Craig, Philip Duffy.

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