DESPITE VERY WET and windy conditions on Saturday Letterkenny U18s maintained their fantastic winning run in the Ulster Carpets Premier Division.
Rainey 15-23 Letterkenny
In a game dominated by the conditions Letterkenny and Rainey both delivered a competitive and enthralling game where the packs slugged it out with the backs given little chance to show their skills.
Peter Scott got Letterkenny off the mark early with a penalty. The home side were well up for this game and replied quickly with a try, which had the Letterkenny defence asking some questions of itself.
The game was being played mainly in the middle third of the pitch with Joe Dunleavy, David Ward, Diarmuid Gallagher and Chris Green prominent for the visitors both in terms of carrying and stopping the Rainey ball
With both teams struggling to break the gain line, mistakes were the order of the day for the home team and Peter Scott added two more penalties to ease Letterkenny further in front, 9-5.
A slick offload to David Ward allowed the prop to break the defensive line and out pace the defence to score near the posts leaving Scott with a simple conversion.
Approaching the break, leading 16-5 all was going to plan for Letterkenny even if the performance was somewhat disjointed. A try and conversion by the home team just before the half time whistle brought the visitors back down to earth and reminded them that this game was far from over and indeed the deficit was reduced to the minimum with Rainey kicking a penalty straight after the restart.
Letterkenny replacement Conor Canon and Stephen Gibson were making an impact and Martin Molloy was also clocking up an impressive number of tackles but still Letterkenny could not shake off the home team and the frustration was beginning to show.
The Rainey backline showed some slick handling on occasion and were beginning to increase the pressure on the visitors. Composed defence kept the home team at bay but the game was still on a knife-edge where one mistake could decide it.
In the last 10 minutes, the Letterkenny team finally got going and applied some sustained pressure to the home team try line and with the forwards making ground only a couple of very ambitious passes in the poor conditions stopped them crossing.
With only a few minutes left Letterkenny made the decisive break through when after sustained forward pressure hooker Stephen Holmes crossed the line under the posts to make the game safe and ensure Letterkenny continue to top the table.
Letterkenny: K Grant, E Henry, M Faulkner, D Faulkner, O Toal, P Scott, B Khavia, J Dunleavy, C Green, M Molloy, J Fogarty, D Gallagher, D Ward, S Holmes, D Doyle. Subs: J McGarvey, S Gibson, C Canon, A Boal-Quinn, J SmeatonTags: