Letterkenny 25-12 Virginia
By Tony McBride
Another home win for the 1st XV
The last time these two sides met, Virginia came out on top having built an unassailable lead in the first half. With that in mind, Letterkenny were wary of their opposition. The game kicked off in perfect conditions and competitive fashion as both sides looked to feel their way in to the game. Virginia hit the front first when their outhalf made a blistering break through the centre of the pitch. Bryan McGinley who was operating at fullback, was able to make the cover tackle but the Virginia outhalf showed good composure to offload to his onrushing team mate who scored under the sticks. 0-7 to the visitors.
Letterkenny struck back with a try of their own when Kevin McLaughlin burst through the Virginia defence on the half way line. He rounded the fullback and made it to within an inch of the try line before being hauled down. Luckily he had the presence of mind to pop the ball up to scrum half Tony McBride who dived over in the corner. Letterkenny 5-7 Virginia.
Both sides fought hard for the remainder of the half but in truth the play was scrappy from both teams. Letterkenny did manage to convert a penalty before half time while Virginia showed a resilient defence not to allow the home team to maul them over near the try line.
HT Letterkenny 8-7 Virginia
From the kick off, Letterkenny fielded the ball and set up for what Virginia expected would be a routine clearance. Christopher Green had other ideas however and a hard running line back on the angle saw him break in to open space. He fizzed a pass out to James Lee McLaughlin who carried it into the Virginia 22. Running out of space, he popped the ball to brother Kevin who stretched out his arm to score the try of the day and push the lead out to 6 points.
Next to get on the score sheet was Letterkenny captain Dave Brown. The big man was a thorn in the side of Virginia all game as a solid scrum gave him the platform to launch his trademark carrying. Brown held off the attention of two would be tacklers to score Letterkenny’s third try of the day in the corner and this time the conversion was good. Letterkenny 20-7
Their fourth and final try came once more from a dominant scrum this time striking down the blindside. Brown popping to McBride who fed McGinley. With plenty left to do, McGinley stepped his opposite man and powered through the cover tackle to dot down right on the line. Letterkenny 25-7
To their credit, Virginia fought all the way to full time and deservedly registered another score on the board to bring the final score to 25-12. Letterkenny’s next game is at home to Belfast High on January 12th.