Rugby: First 2015 win awaited after another Dungannon defeat in proverbial tie of ‘two halves’

Peter Smith scores a try against Barnhall.
Peter Smith scores a try against Barnhall.

In an almost mirror image of the previous week, this was another game of two halves - Barnhall dominating the first and Dungannon the second.

However, it wasn’t to be enough to create a win in front of the Dungannon supporters but James Bates team were unlucky, very unlucky not to gain a losing bonus point. A ‘knock on’ at the line in the dying seconds proved the point.

Barnhall kicked off and, with the ball not travelling the required 10 metres, Dungannon showed their edge at scrum time with the home side setting up an attacking flurry. The visitors infringed and Jack Milligan made it 3-0 with a penalty after 5 minutes.

A further penalty at the restart kept Dungannon on the front foot before Simon Gillespie levelled matters from the tee on 13 minutes. That settled the Leinster team and following some good work by the pack right winger Michael Mellett darted in to give the visitors a first time lead on 16 minutes. Gillespie added the extras to make it 3-7.

Dungannon bounced back and a sound scrum saw James McMahon make ground before a lost lineout let the visitors off the hook.

More pressure from Barnhall saw Dungannon’s Steven Sinnamon ‘binned’ on the half hour and the Leinster men took advantage.

The impressive Mellett was sent away for his second try following a lineout, despite a blatant knock-on. When Gillespie added the conversion Barnhall looked comfortable as the half ended 3-17.

Dungannon started the second half with an impressive attacking flurry. However, the panicking defence did go offside on several occasions spoiling good efforts per Bates and McMahon. Eventually a penalty was awarded and a Milligan break took play close to the posts. When recycled Peter Smith dived over to close the gap on 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the ball fell over during Milligan’s conversion attempt.

Still, at 8-17, Dungannon were back in the game. Barnhall hit back and following another good run by Mellett on the left flank Gillespie landed his second penalty on 50 minutes.

Back came Dungannon and some good attacking phases with Mark Faloon and Ethan Allen prominent in midfield were ultimately spoiled by minor infringements.

The hunt for a bonus point continued and, as stated earlier, a try looked certain only to be denied right on the line as the full time whistle blew.

Barnhill finished deserved 20-8 winners and Dungannon still await a first win in 2015.

Elsewhere, Bective Rangers were beaten 53-9 by Banbridge and Seapoint lost 13-36 to UCC. So, Dungannon remain third from bottom with 2 rounds of games to go.

Dungannon: Matthew Montgomery, Marcus Mulgrew, Mark Faloon, Ethan Allen, Gerard Treanor, Jack Milligan, James Bates, Steven Sinnamon, Karl Egan, Glen Sinnamon, John Joe Kane, Stephen Todd, David Leyburn, Peter Gilkinson, James McMahon. Reps: John McGuckin, Mark O’Shea, Daniel Maxwell, Peter Smith, Sean O’Hagan.

Barnhall: Karl Darragh, Michael Mellett, Fionn Higgins, Mathew Mellotte, Niall Delahunt, Simon Gillespie, Robert Holt, Ben Harrison, Gareth Murray, Lee Mitchell, Brian Hennebry, Robert Tiernan, Tom McKeown, Andrew Purcell, Paul Nalty. Reps: Graham Reynolds, Raymond Dufficy, Gearoid Conway, David Stewart, Robert Mullen.

Referee: David Connolly

It’s back to Six Nations Rugby this weekend when unbeaten Ireland travel to Cardiff.

However, closer to home there is a round of Ulster League games and Dungannon take on Ards at Stevenson Park on Friday night.

In between, the postponed home game against Ballynahinch takes place on Tuesday night. Both matches kick off at 7.45 pm. On Saturday, the Thirds host Portadown II with a 1 pm kick off.

The ‘Latecomers’ claimed the spoils at the Table Quiz on Thursday night but the real winner was the ‘Save the Children’ Charity. Maureen Clements thanked everyone for making the event such a success. This week it is the turn of the Howard Primary PTA.