Bonus Point win for Letterkenny on the road.
By Tony McBride
Flawless kicking display from Outhalf Peter Scott proves the difference.
Letterkenny made the long trip to Newry on Saturday as the club returned to league action. Following a disappointing week where Ophir were unable to field in the Gordon West, Letterkenny turned their attention to Newry.
Letterkenny kicked off with a strong wind at their back and following some early pressure, flanker Chris Green crashed over to put his side ahead. Peter Scott added the conversion while Newry saw their flanker subbed off following a nasty head collision.
From the restart Letterkenny uncharacteristically tried to play from deep and put themselves under unnecessary pressure. The Newry outhalf sensed an opportunity to intercept and dually slipped in to score the try. Unfortunately he was unable to add the conversion with the ball holding up in the wind so the score remained 7-5 to Letterkenny.
Letterkenny's second try came courtesy of a fabulous kick in to open space from out half Peter Scott. Newry were unable to play their way out from deep and Michael Foy forced a knock on with a crunching tackle. From the resulting scrum, captain Dave Brown picked and crashed over just right of the posts. Scott once again added the extras and Letterkenny led by 9.
Newry began to setttle and through their forwards, were able to fashion some magnificent phases of play. With the wind being so strong they were forced to play a more abrasive game and their pack showed some fantasitic offloading skills. Following a lineout in the Letterkenny 22, they turned over the ball after an over throw and crashed over to score in the corner. Their outhalf made no mistake this time and the referee blew the whistle for half time. Newry 12-14 Letterkenny
After the break, Newry hit the front and led 19-14 through their number 6 after he fended off 2 players to score under the sticks. It was now Letterkenny's turn to reply, and reply they did.
With conditions still playing a part, Letterkenny resorted to carrying more ball and following some excellent carrying by the pack, hooker Shaun McGill showed his foot work to beat the Newry defence and score a magnificent solo try. Scott once again converted the try and Letterkenny were back in front by 2.
Newry struck next and with it, secured the 4th try bonus point when their tight head prop ran a hard line to score his second of the day. Newry 26-21 Letterkenny.
Following the restart, Newry forced Letterkenny in to conceding a penalty but the Newry kicker was unable to push the lead out and the score remained 26-21 but only for a brief time. Letterkenny restarted with a 22 drop out and the Newry winger fielded the ball. He stepped one defender and the rounded another before going in in the corner. Newry led 31-21.
As the game drew to its conclusion Letterkenny remained stubborn and kept the pressure on Newry. First to convert that pressure was second row Cormac McMenamin when he held off the challenge of 2 defenders to score. Scott remained flawless off the tee and the difference was back to just 3 points as the game reached its climax.
They would get one more opportunity in front of the posts but sensing the chance for more, Letterkenny turned down the kick and chance of a draw and opted for more. Choosing the scrum, the pack drove hard for the line and scrum half Liam Fogarty picked and darted in for the winning score. Scott couldn't convert but at that stage, they had done enough.
Full time Newry 31-33 Letterkenny.