Letterkenny ovecame Newry at Dave Gallaher Park to post their first win of the season on Saturday.
Letterkenny 24-8 Newry
In the early exchanges the two sides were feeling each other out but it was clear that the home sides scrummage had the upper hand.
Photo caption: Letterkenny RFC scrum-half Eoin Ó Ríain awaits developments with Craig Heron at the base of the scrum in their fixture against Newry at Dave Gallaher Park on Saturday
From a strong midfield scrum the visitors conceded a penalty and Ryan Mortimer kicked good field position. Unfortunately Letterkenny weren’t accurate enough with their lineout and some ill-discipline around the offside line let Newry off the hook.
The home pack kept the pressure on in the scrum and No 8 Craig Heron broke up the blindside evading several tacklers before releasing Eoghan O’Riain who sprinted down the touchline and passed inside to the supporting Michael Foy who crossed for the opening try converted by Mortimer.
From the re-start some slack play by the home side gifted Newry a shot at goal which they duly converted. Soon the play was back inside the Newry 22 and with a now functioning lineout the option of a lineout maul was chosen from 15 metres out and well executed with Heron touching down. Mortimer added the extras from a difficult angle with a great kick.
Using the scrum as the launchpad Heron kept the visiting defence busy and after another good showing in the loose by Foy Newry were forced to concede a prop to the sin bin to prevent quick ball. Mortimer converted the resultant penalty from a central position.
With a man advantage Mortimer broke out of defence and John Anthony McFadden took play inside the Newry half and the back row continued the attack but unfortunately lack of discipline at the breakdown allowed the visitors to clear their lines.
From a clearance kick Evan Walsh countered with a classy run and found Gareth McGill in support but McGill was forced into touch just short. The pressure took its toll on the visiting side when after some good work by the forwards inside the 22 Mortimer went wide and winger Eoin Friel found his way past two defenders to score Letterkenny’s third try which was converted by Mortimer to leave the half-time score 24-3.
Early in the second half the home side had the opportunity to kick on and score a fourth bonus point try with some good scrum pressure five metres out but bizarrely to managed to lose the ball to their opponents who gratefully cleared their lines.
The rest of the half was a largely forgettable affair spent mostly inside the Letterkenny 22 going from set piece to penalty. Despite having McGill and Mortimer spending 10 minutes each in the bin there were opportunities to clear the lines but the home side seemed to lack composure and aimless clearing kicks were gratefully fielded by Newry and returned with interest.
Newry finally got reward for their perseverance with a soft try from a kick pass collect five metres out from the line.
The league program continues with next Saturday’s trip to Limavady, kick off 2.30pm.
Training continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8.30 pm at the club and all are welcome.
Letterkenny Rugby Club in association with Main sponsor Kelly’s Toyota, Letterkenny & Mountcharles.