Rugby: Dungannon II miss out against Derry and there’s no joy for the Thirds at home to Omagh

Matthew Montgomery on his way to score.
Matthew Montgomery on his way to score.

Showing eight changes from last week the Seconds showed great spirit to draw level after being 15 points in arrears only to fall to a late Derry try.

During the first half the big Derry forwards dominated the line outs and loose and deservedly took an eight point lead. Dungannon gamely defended their line and Derry were held out on two occasions thanks to Peter Smyth and Jeremy Baird stopping their opponents from grounding the ball.  Some poor tackling saw Derry extend the lead to 15 points prior to half time.

Jonny Toal had shown Derry once in the first half that nothing should be taken for granted and when he came into the line he sent a long pass out to winger Bryan Davidson. Showing the intelligence of a forward Bryan turned his opposite number inside out before beating him on the outside and brushing off a second defender as he dived over the line.

This was a great confidence booster to the young Dungannon squad. Minutes later the pack provided quick ball which was used to good effect by Jonathan Wright and Andrew Creaney as they transferred the ball to Toal who powered his way over to reduce the deficit to five points.

Gannon now had their tails up and thought they had drawn level when Jeremy Baird touched down following a Peter Smith charge. Unfortunately, the referee was unsighted and Dungannon had to satisfied with a 5 metre scrum.

Shortly afterwards, that man Toal was on fire again as he broke through to score beside the posts, unfortunately the conversion went wide and the scores remained level.

As full time neared the Derry pack broke through the middle and when the ball went wide a couple of tackles were missed and Derry touched down to seal the win.

An unfortunate end but a very heartening second half comeback by the 2s. Coach Jonny Patton was full of praise for them afterwards urging them to put in some more work on the training field and the rewards will come.

Team:  Nathan Patterson. Bryan Davidson,  Andrew Creaney, Andrew Mills, Jonny Toal. Robert McLean, Jonathan Wright. Richard Lavery, Daniel Maxwell, Charlie Farrell. Rodney Blair, Jack McDonald. Martin McCann, Jeremy Baird, Peter Smith.

A better game than the score suggests with Omagh taking a 24-0 first half lead. Two great Andrew Lee tries put Gannon on the score sheet in the second half. Unfortunately ‘Leapy’ left his kicking boots at home but his tries more than made up for those misses.

Although beaten by a very good Omagh side the Thirds played well on occasions, Captain McElduff reckons that with a more settled team they will improve between now and the end of the season.

A good first half saw Bann leading 8-5, Gordon Stewart touching down for Gannon.

Things came off the rails, Dungannon losing influential Adam Lockhart, Charlie Farrell and unfortunate Roger Hadden who injured a shoulder in first game back.

Manager Ally Moore was impressed by first half display and put the second half down to a lack of experienced players in the team.

All-Ireland league action returns, Dungannon at home game to Munster’s Cashel. Skipper James Bates will be hoping he can turn things around and using his leadership to lift Dungannon from the bottom. Seconds take to the road to play Ballynahinch II.

Fork Handles hit form at First Steps quiz, raising over £600. This week it is Dungannon U3A members hoping to raise some money.