Dungannon were almost the winners of Omagh 7s for the second time in as many years. Alas, this year the sin bin left Daniel Maxwell’s squad battling against the odds in the final.
Dungannon got off to a good start, beating NoWomanNoTry by 35-7. The game was a good opener with tries scored by Paul Armstrong, Andrew Mills, Jake Finlay, Anthony Levao and Stephen Todd. Jake Finlay converted all five.
The second pool game was against neighbours Clogher Valley. The boys performed well again with tries from Skipper Maxwell, Anthony Levao (2), Jake Finlay and Eleazar Taufa. Jake Finlay converted four of the tries leaving the score 33-12.
The third pool game against OmaghTown proved more difficult but again the boys managed five tries from Andrew Mills, Anthony Levao, Jake Finlay, Robert McLean and Stephen Todd. Jake Finlay converted four to leave the result 33-0.
The final pool game against Expected To Lose was a closer game with the conditions and fatigue taking their toll. Dungannon won 24-12 with tries from Paul Armstrong, Andrew Mills and again two from Anthony Levao. Paul Armstrong converted two tries.
This meant that Dungannon as pool winners were to face hosts Omagh in the final.
To quote a local, the referee did nothing for community relations between the west and east Tyrone towns. He sin-binned two Dungannon players but at least the cup stayed in Tyrone as the hosts ran out 29-14 winners.
Dungannon found out that in Sevens you cannot survive with six players and Omagh took full advantage of the one-two man advantage to win by 24-12. Scorers were Jake Finlay and Paul Armstrong, with Finlay adding the conversions.
Congratulations to Omagh.
Captain Daniel Maxwell was extremely proud of his squad: “I thank the boys for supporting the Club and giving their all today. We played well but by the time we reached the final we were carrying a few knocks and would have benefitted if we had a real speed merchant on the park. Nevertheless we did well and I believe with a more liberal approach to interpretation of the laws we could have won the final. However, take nothing away from Omagh. They kept their discipline and ensured the cup stays at Mellon Park.”
Squad: Daniel Maxwell, Andrew Mills, Anthony Levao, Eleazar Taufa, Jake Finlay, Mark Riddell, Nathan Gallagher, Paul Armstrong, Robert McLean and Stephen Todd.
Randalstown II 17
Dungannon III 7
The 3 XV travelled for their final league game, a tight affair with Randalstown scoring a late try to win the points.
Into a slight wind on a fast pitch, Randalstown took the lead and racked up a converted try and a penalty to hold a 10-0 lead, Dungannon doing well in the tight thanks to solid front row and accurate throwing by Jamie McNeill to the impressive Matthew Calvert.
The second half proved more fruitful for Dungannon - centre Mike Ross breaking through the home defence to score a fine try that was converted by reliable Lorcan McGrath, deficit down to three.
Unfortunately Gannon could not get another score as Randalstown broke away for a converted try to seal it.
Tony O’Hagan’s boys worked hard and got a bonus point; they have worked hard all season and deserve to maintain their status.
Team: Kris Watson. Mike Ross, Johnny O’Neill, Scott McLean, Ciaran McLaughlin. Lorcan McGrath, Jonathan Clarke. Nathan Smyth, Jamie McNeill, Zack Farrell. Aaron Ferguson, Arek Mikolajcryk. Stephen O’Neill, Matthew Calvert, Colm O’Hagan. Ronan O’Hagan, Colm McGrath, Jonathan Campbell.
Referee: Stephen Crooke
U14s had a busy Saturday. At 11am they played Coleraine in semi-final of Plate, leading at half time against a team two sections above them, but the more experienced team won.
Dungannon then had to gather a squad to play Highland U14s from Inverness, 26 players and seven adults visiting Stevenson Park - excellent tourists who enjoyed their visit. But hospitality wasn’t limitless - as the home team won, the club wishing the boys and supporters a pleasant time in Northern Ireland and a safe journey back to Inverness.