Rugby: Dungannon Thirds grind out win against Clogher Valley

Peter Smith is grounded.
Peter Smith is grounded.

Dungannon 16-13 Clogher Valley

Dungannon Thirds made amends for the heavy defeat at the Cran last week when they carved out a 16-13 victory at chilly Stevenson Park on Saturday afternoon.

For the hosts it was a slow start though as Clogher Valley scored twice in the opening 10 minutes to go points clear.

First it was Mark McKenna who was mauled over on the 5th minutes and then Richard Stinson whose long strides took him all the way five minutes later.

Thankfully, it proved to be a ‘wake up’ call for the hosts and minutes later Andrew Lee just missed out on the chase of a diagonal kick.

On 15 minutes the impressive Ross Devlin nipped in at the posts but the referee took play back for a Dungannon scrum.

Justice was done when Devlin went down the same track one minute later and when Lee converted Dungannon were back in the game at 7-10.

Going into the second quarter a quickly taken penalty allowed Peter Smith to progress and when Valley were penalised the trusty boot of Lee brought the sides level on 25 minutes.

A riposte from Valley almost brought a reward but the ball was knocked on just short of the line. The game was now highly competitive with two players, one from each side, getting yellow carded just ahead of the break.

Dungannon started the second half well and when Valley fumbled Lee was unlucky with his chase to the line.

A penalty let Valley off the hook and once closer to the posts Stanley Hamilton made no mistake with a second offer on 50 minutes as the visitors went 10-13 ahead.

Lee brought the sides level again with his second penalty on 55 minutes and it was all down to the final quarter.

Lee completed his hat-trick of penalties on 73 minutes before a spirited surge from Valley forced Dungannon into desperate defence in the closing stages.

Valley earned a penalty but gambled to go for the winning try before Dungannon cleared the danger and the referee blew the final whistle.

What a contest! Team manager Ali Moore was delighted with the effort saying: “The start was slow but thereafter it was a great competitive game and when the lads were forced to defend in the closing stages they did so magnificently”

Dungannon: Robert McLean, Andrew Lee, Fergal Mallon, Jonny O’Neill, Eamon McElduff, Ross Devlin, Julian Knipe, Paul Martin, Jeremy Baird, Charlie Farrell, Rodney Blair, Jack McDonald, Peter Smith, Kevin McElduff, Jonny Toal. Subs: Nathan Smyth, Keith Blevins, Cormac Convery.