Dungannon registered their first win of 2015. That said, bottom-placed Ards kept in touch for an hour of this entertaining Ulster League tie.
But Dungannon then doubled their try tally with two converted tries in the final quarter, the home side deserved if not slightly flattering 29-3 winners.
With half backs, James Bates and Jack Milligan back in action and a little experimentation elsewhere it was always going to be interesting to see how Peter Gilkinson performed in the centre and Karl Egan in the back row. Both adapted to the change very well as Dungannon started the game on the front foot. A midfield fumble was kind to fullback, Ben Matchett and he soon spotted a gap tearing off to score at the posts on 5 minutes. With Stewart Paul and Mark Bamford pulling the strings Ards soon bounced back forcing Dungannon to defend. In another Gannon offensive James Bates went close before Ards took play to the opposite end. A penalty award allowed Paul Cox to close the gap on 28 minutes and the score stood 5-3 at the break.
The third quarter proved just as competitive and when Ards infringed at scrum time Milligan was unlucky with a penalty attempt. Approaching the hour mark good work by the Dungannon pack brought a little panic in the visitors’ defence and Ards lost influential centre, Scott Young via a yellow card. Two minutes later Stephen Todd crashed over after Dungannon moved down the blind side. Milligan added the extras and Dungannon had a little breathing space at 12-3 on the hour mark. Going into the final quarter Milligan stretched the lead with a penalty on 65 minutes and from that point Dungannon controlled the closing stages adding two further tries. First up it was Gilkinson on 75 minutes before a dazzling run from Matthew Montgomery brought the winners a try bonus. Milligan converted both to complete the tally. Coaches, Nigel Brady, David Irwin and Alex McCloy were delighted with the result.
Dungannon: Ben Matchett, Andrew Mills, Matthew Montgomery, Peter Gilkinson, Gerard Treanor, Jack Milligan, James Bates, Sean O’Hagan, Daniel Maxwell, Glen Sinnamon, John Joe Kane, Bryan Davidson, David Leyburn, Karl Egan, Stephen Todd. Reps: Jack Ravey, Nathan Patterson, Gareth McGonigle, Neil McGinley, Charlie Farrell.
Ards:- Paul Cox, Trevor Devlin, Bruce Duff, Scott Young, Chris McClure, Mark Bamford, Stewart Paul (capt), Andrew Foster, Gareth Peden, Colin McClure, Daniel Patton, Gareth McBurney, Oren Kisby, Max Porter, Onisi Burekara. Reps: Ben Laird, Ryan Yates, Jonny Harris, Gary Presho, Max Harrison.
Referee: Chris Busby (Ulster Branch)
Dungannon III 10
Portadown II 10
Dungannon Thirds did well to draw level with a late surge in this Junior League match against Portadown at Stevenson Park on Saturday. From start to finish it was a forward orientated game with the visitors looking good in the set scrums. Indeed, Julian Knipe’s excellent defence stopped a try after the visitors poached a scrum in the early stages. However, with Peter Keightly and Robbie Reid going well in the loose, Portadown forged ahead when the latter crashed over for Chris Cousens to convert. Midway through the half Richard Holmes entered the fray and soon took play into the Port’s half. A penalty award led to a Jonny Wright strike and the half ended 3-7.
A word in the ear from team manager, Ally Moore saw Dungannon raise their game in the second half. However, during the first offensive the home side missed a glorious chance when the Port’s fullback, Ryan Purvis cheekily ran clear from his own ‘in goal’. Down at the other end Cousens landed a penalty to stretch the visitors’ lead. Then came a great break from Dungannon fullback, Chris Blair but once more the chance floundered with a subsequent ‘knock on’. Going into the final quarter the improving home side still had hopes and when Holmes made ground the industrious Timmy Peyton was up in support to dive over. Andrew Lee landed an excellent conversion and the sides were level 10 – 10. In the closing stages Dungannon had a chance to steal but a tap penalty ended in a turnover before Cousens missed out with a long range penalty for Portadown. A draw was perhaps a fair result.
Dungannon:- Chris Blair, Mark Leong, Andrew Lee, Kevin McElduff, Eamon McElduff, Jonny Wright, Julian Knipe, David Lucas, Mark Wright, Adam Lockhart, Gordon Stewart, Jack McDonald, Philip McCammon, David Irwin, Timmy Peyton. Reps: Nathan Smyth, Richard Holmes, Ross Devlin.
In midwee against unbeaten Ballynahinch under the Stevenson Park floodlights Dungannon turned in an improved performance before going down 21-41. The County Down men controlled the opening half with Andrew Harper, Robin Harte, David McGuigan and Aaron Ferris all dotting down. Richard Reaney converted two for a 24 point lead at the break.
The second half was a closer affair with each side scoring 3 tries. Stephen Todd claimed a brace for Dungannon and Nathan Patterson added a third following an intercept. Gareth McGonigle converted all three. Ferris, McGuigan and Hamilton replied for Ballynahinch on a night that all the spectators enjoyed a good open game that produced a total of 10 tries.
Dungannon:- Matthew Montgomery, Nathan Patterson, Ben Matchett, Ethan Allen, Gerard Treanor, Gareth McGonigle, Jack Ravey, Steven Sinnamon, Karl Egan, Glen Sinnamon, John Joe Kane, Rodney Blair, David Leyburn, Peter Gilkinson, Stephen Todd, Andrew Lee, Bryan Davidson, Neil McGinley, Daniel Maxwell, Sean O’Hagan.
It was a case of mixed fortunes when the Dungannon Ladies played at the Enniskillen Cup blitz. They beat the hosts 55-10 in the opening game with Katie Burns (6), Lauren Boyd (2), Lucy Turkington (2) and Caitlyn Lynch all scoring tries. However, against Clogher Valley the team were beaten 25-5 with Katie Burns dotting down for the losers.
Rugby eyes may be focused on the final set of games in the Six Nations championship this weekend but Dungannon do have three games.
Friday:- Armagh v Dungannon (ko 7.45pm)
Saturday Armagh II v Dungannon (ko 12.30pm)
Bangor II v Dungannon III
The ‘Fork Handles’ held off the challenge of ‘UB40’ to win the Thursday night quiz organised by the Howard PTA. This week it is the turn of Dungannon Primary PTA.