Letterkenny RFC lose out to strong UCC side on the road
LETTERKENY RFC PLAYED their third away fixture in the first four league games at University of Ulster Coleraine and for more than half of the 80 minutes were extremely competitive.
UUC 1st XV 58-6 Letterkenny 1st XV
The half time score of 20-6 was reflective of a hugely improved defensive effort although lapses in concentration at times cost the Letterkenny side dearly.
The student side came into the game with a much vaunted scrum but after several scrums found that the Letterkenny eight relished the physical challenge and had the better of the tight exchanges all afternoon.
However it was off a defensive scrum that out half Ryan Mortimer had his clearance kick charged down and the bounce was kind to the oncoming UUC player for a simple touchdown and the opening score.
Despite limited bouts of possession in the opening 20 minutes Letterkenny continued to pressurise in defence causing the home side to knock the ball on or spill possession. Unfortunately lapses in concentration from two five-metre penalties allowed the home side to score two more soft tries.
From the scrum platform, centre John Anthony McFadden had a few good runs and came within five metres on one occasion but the support was too slow to capitalise on the good field position. Promising runs by forwards Chris Digimas, Michael Foy and teammates brought no reward as they were too often followed by a breakdown infringement or a handling error.
Towards the end of the second half some good Letterkenny pressure brought two kickable penalties which Mortimer converted.
With Letterkenny still defending resolutely before the half-time whistle the referee warned stand-in captain Digimas that too many penalties were being conceded and at the next breakdown McFadden was shown yellow.
From the second half re-start Letterkenny were attacking inside the Coleraine 22 when the ball was turned over and a long kick in behind the visiting back three found them unable to clear their lines effectively.
The ball was knocked on and advantage played to the home side who passed the ball the width of the field to maximise their one man advantage and score near the corner. A very similar try followed shortly after where a promising Letterkenny position was relinquished too easily and the team found themselves gathering once again under the posts.
The contest was effectively over by the time McFadden rejoined the action but to Letterkenny’s credit they stuck to the task until the end with some enterprising running but handling errors and turnovers were punished ruthlessly.
Overall this was a much improved performance with a functioning scrum and lineout but nothing less than a concerted effort over the full 80 minutes together with improved discipline will be enough to compete against the better sides in this league.
Back Row: Ladi Yuno, Christopher Digimas, Gareth McGill, Eoin Freil, Ryan Mortimer, John Anthony McFadden, Eoghan O’Riain (Capt.), Conor Dunleavy, Rae Clarke. Front Row; Gary Canning, Michael Foy, Tony McBride, Shaun McGill, Evin Walsh, Craig Heron.
Training continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8.30pm. All are welcome. Letterkenny welcome Civil Service to Dave Gallaher Park this Saturday 2.30 kick off.
Letterkenny Rugby Club in association with main sponsor, Kelly’s Toyota, Letterkenny & Mountcharles.Tags: