Letterkenny u18 produced their best performance of the season to date with an emphatic 38 to 3 home victory over Malone to reach the Ulster semi-final.
The Belfast outfit arrived at the Glebe with a physically impressive squad determined to reach the cup semi-final.
The visitors started brightly and soon had 3 points on the board after Letterkenny were off side at the ruck.
The home team soon settled into their game and dominated the remainder of the half.
The first try came from a great tackle by inside center Fionn McGarvey on his opposite number forcing a knock on.
The ball was scooped up by Letterkenny’s outhalf Matthew Faulkner who put his winger Ben Scott into space. The flying farmer then fed Faulkner with a nice inside pass who then proved he had fully recovered from injury by beating the Malone defence to score in the corner.
Try number two soon followed when Peter Scott broke from an attacking scrum on the Malone 22 and was well supported by Connon Cannon.
Quick ruck ball allowed team captain David Ward to score at the base of the post.
There was no let up from the home forwards and constant pressure at scrum time produced try number three.
The Letterkenny front row of Ward, Chriss Green and Stephen Gibson had the measure of their much larger opponents and forced a turn over to allow Gibson score a well deserved try.[adrotate group=”46″]
The second half saw Malone come back into the game with phase play in the Letterkenny half but the home team’s defence was impresive lead by man of the match James Roulston.
The pressure was lifted when Matthew Faulkner took a pop pass from Peter Scott off the base of the scrum on the Letterkenny 22m line and showed his speed and evasive running to beat the entire Malone defence and score under the posts.
Letterkenny continued to dominate after this and soon ran in try number five which was the best team score of the day.
Concerted pressure from ball carriers Joshua Fulton, James Sweeney and Connor McMenamin had Malone on the back foot which allowed Scott and Faulkner to break through midfield and put full back Bailey Loughlin in for a well deserved try.
Peter Scott finished off the scoring when he was quickest to react to a penalty and drove over from 20m out.
This victory now sets up a repeat of last year’s home semi final against Virginia RFC on Saturday-week.
It is hard to see where Letterkenny can improve as the pack were dominant in all exchanges and the back line were posing constant danger to Malone throughout.
The second row partnership of Fulton and McMenamin has improved with each game and Coach Gordon Curley believes that both players are starting to play to their undoubted potential.
The key to Letterkenny’s performance on Saturday was the high work rate in defence by the entire team and the game control by Faulkner at 10 and Scott at 8.
He also added that Fionn McGarvey had realy impressed with his first game at 12. The afore mentioned Roulston was singled out for special praise from the coach for his outstanding line out and defensive work through out the game.
Team: David Ward (capt), Chris Green, Stephen Gibson, Joshua Fulton, Connor McMenamin, James Sweeney, James Roulston, Peter Scott,Jack mcGarvey, maythew Faulkner, Ben Scott, Fionn mcGarvey, Eunan Henry, Connor Cannon, Bailey Loughlin, John Fogarty, Kieran Aitken, Jack Smeaton, Josh Carr and Owen