A HAT-TRICK from captain Terence Gallagher gave Letterkenny 1st XV their fourth win of the season in Kukri Qualifying League 3 this afternoon.
Letterkenny 58 Monaghan 14
Gallagher’s treble helped sink Monaghan at Dave Gallaher Memorial Park, where Colin Farrell’s men were comfortable from start to finish.
Letterkenny, promoted after finishing as the runners-up in Qualifying League 4 last season, have won four from seven in what represents a useful start to the campaign for the Glebe men.
Three first-half tries were followed by a further six in the second half.
Ryan Mortimer’s penalty fired them into a lead they’d hold for the remainder of the game.
22-7 in front at the break, Letterkenny turned on the after-burners in the second half and Gallagher helped them romp to victory.
Their first try arrived in the seventh minute when number 8 Galalgher picked up possession and charged over the line following a scrum.
Monaghan got what proved to be their only score of the first half when Darren Berry, their out-half, made a brilliant break, out-pacing several defenders before off-loading to Liam Savage and the full-back raced over, close to the posts.
Letterkenny got over the line again on the half-hour when a line-out was tipped down by Conor Dunleavy to the charging hooker Shaun McGill, who scored and Mortimer sailed over the conversion.
Three minutes later, following another line-out, the forwards made good ground and the ball eventually reached Gary Canning, who dived over for a 22-7 lead at half-time.
Monaghan arrived with only 14 players and the numerical disadvantage hardly helped their cause. The second half proved a one-way flow of traffic.
Prop forwards Rae Clarke and Chris Digimas got in on the act with tries in the 48th and 54th minutes.
Gallagher got in for his second try soon after when he broke away from a scrum and hurtled over while Ryan Mortimer produced a piece of individual briliance, leaving men in his wake from 40 metres out before scoring in the corner.
Two of those tries were converted by Mortimer.
Monaghan didn’t give in and they were rewarded when Mark McArdle scored from close range and Barry converted, but it was only momentary respite as Letterkenny – down themselves to 14 men after losing Conor Dunleavy – scored two late tries.
Gallagher completed his hat-trick after charging down an attempted clearance and John McFadden rounded off a superb five-man move when he raced in under the posts.
Mortimer, again, converted to leave Letterkenny 44-point winners and it’s now three wins on the trot.
Letterkenny: Adam Moore; Eoghan O’Riain, Sean Deery, Caolan McLaughlin, John McFadden; Ryan Mortimer, Conal McGinley; Rae Clarke, Shaun McGill, Chris Digimas, Ben Mortimer, Conor Dunleavy, Michael Foy, Gary Canning, Terence Gallagher.
Monaghan: Liam Savage; Caolan Boyle, David Savage, Jason McGurk, Darren Berry; Anthony Goosana, Mark McArdle; Bernard Reilly, Paddy Treanor, Declan Savage, John Leonard, Clayton Wilson, Paul Madden, Paddy McMeel.