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Match Reports

Skerries vs Dungannon, Div 2A

02 March 2015


UBL Div 2A – 28 February 2015

Skerries continued their promotion push with a bonus point win over Dungannon at Holmpatrick on Saturday, even if in the end the home side was made work very hard for their win. But they go into their final three matches in a position that would have been way beyond most supporters’ expectations back in September, and that’s due to the extraordinary effort and commitment of the playing and coaching team over a long season.

The northerners had arrived as the table’s bottom team, while Skerries remained in third – just a point behind the second automatic promotion spot currently occupied by Blackrock. So, there was a definite sense that a win should be on the cards for the Goats.

However, with the weather in a foul mood, and the Six Nations clashing with the fixture, it was not the biggest crowd Skerries has seen this season. Those who braved the elements were treated to a first half display in which the home team scored four tries to the visitor’s one, and in which that precious bonus point had been nabbed before the break.

However, it was the Northerners who struck first, when scoring a try off a scrum around the ten minute mark. Playing with the wind, they had every right to be optimistic at this stage.

As a passing team, though, Skerries have long been very good when playing into even the stiffest of gales and, sure enough, they responded almost immediately with a try of their own. Kevin McGrath – who has moved back into the centre due to the absence of Mikey Sherlock – proved why he was selected for Club international duty recently when from a tight position on the right wing he chipped and chased a ball, drew the man and popped a gift to the supporting Ross McAuley. Conal Keane converted to make it 7-5.

Skerries then began put huge pressure on Dungannon through quick ball, smart interplays and dummy runners. Right wing Eddie O’Mahony was next on the scoreboard when a Skerries line-out was followed by a couple of phases before left winger Derek Keane took advantage of Dungannon’s confused defence to break free and feeding O’Mahony. It was another fine try. That made it 14-5.

Derek Keane scored the third try off a long pass from Conal Keane, and the home crowd were enjoying every minute of things. Skerries then got their reward for a superb first half performance when simple passing along the line freed up O’Mahony to bag his second try and Skerries’ fourth.

It was 24-5 at the break, Skerries had the gale and surely more points would follow. But it wasn’t to be. Instead, Dungannon dominated possession and territory for much of the second half, and as the squally weather drove the supporters towards shelter and forced the sideline BBQ to be abandoned, it was the visitors who found the tries.

With one coming off a charge down, it was symptomatic of how the home side had lost much of the composure and rhythm that had been so evident in the first half. They were unable to put phases together or hold on to possession for any length of time and the result was an increasingly nervy half as the visitors very slowly narrowed the scoreline.

In the end, Skerries held out for another important win in a league in which no win comes easily. Next up is a tough trip to Nenagh Ormond this Saturday.

1. David Reilly
2. Chris Tonge
3. Wayne Aquila
4. AJ Sherlock
5. Joe Glennon
6. Evan Sherlock
7. Tomas O’Hare
8. Ross McAuley
9. Eoghan Carron
10. Conal Keane
11. Derek Keane
12. Marc Hewitt
13. Kevin McGrath
14. Eddie O’Mahony
15. David Quirke

16. John Condren
17. Ross Halligan
18. Eoin Matthews
19. Robbie Jenkinson
20. Paul Devitt