Foyle College, Derry v Letterkenny under 16s
Enthralling match under the lights in Foyle College Derry
1. Finn Boyce
2. Eoin Parkinson
3. Dan Geoghegan
4. Jynaid Reyes
5. Conor Smyth
6. Isaac McElwaine
7. Mathew Duffy
8. Jack Speer - Captain
9. Ben Hopkins
10. Kaymin Shortt
11. Tiernan McFadden
12. Brian McGettigan
13. Orrin Burgess
14. Leon Duffy
15. David Henry
Subs: Ewan Douglas & Eoin Harris
The lads travelled to Derry on Friday evening for a friendly under the lights for what turned out to be the performance of the year against a well drilled Foyle schools team on a damp, windy and cold evening.
Foyle get the game under way kicking from left to right with a stiff cross wind blowing which was to bring patches of rain throughout the match. The first couple of minutes are a dogged affair with both teams working hard to get a foot hold in each other’s territory and both putting in the big hits to halt the advance. Jack Speer and Eoin Parkinson set the standard for the night when Foyle make a break through some nice handling in the backs and they double tackle one of the big centers as he tries to break the line. The first line out of the match falls to Foyle but Issac is unperturbed and soars above the Foyle jumpers to tap the ball back on the Letterkenny side. This sets the platform for a move out the back line, with Ben feeding Kaymin who in turn does one of his long skip passes out to Orrin who draws in the winger and sets David into space on the wing and he uses his pace to run 10 meters into the corner to score the first of the night. [0 – 5] after 5 mins of play with the difficult conversion being missed by Orrin from out wide.
From the kick off the ball falls into the hands of Leon Duffy who with the first of his fine runs for the night dazzles the defence with some fancy footwork and makes it 15 meters up the field. He maintains possession for his surging pack and the ball is picked up by Conor Smyth who has found a fine vein of form in recent matches and he in turn breaks several tackles and makes good ground. This time Ben Hopkins picks from the back of the ruck and goes on one of his snipping runs and makes another few meters bringing Letterkenny to within 5 meters of the Foyle line and is awarded a scrum when Foyle knock the ball forward.
The Letterkenny scrum is solid as all 8 lads get the push on and Ben whips the ball out to Kaymin who shows some fine footwork to side step his man and score to the right of the posts. [0 – 10] after 8 mins of play, conversion missed by Orrin.
Foyle from the off this time put the pressure on with some fine play from a well drilled pack, the get the ball out the line but Brian McGettigan who has become a gladiator in the center of the park nails his man. Letterkenny again turn the screw and make great ground to get into the opposition 22 but Foyle through some great defending of their own turn over the ball and attempt the clearance kick, but the stiff wind blows the ball back towards the kicker and Mathew Duffy who read the flight of the ball to a tee leaps in the air and gets his hands on the ball and charges over from 5 meters to score the third try of the match to the left of the posts. Conversion this time is good from Orrin and the score after 17 mins is [0 – 17].
The Foyle team find a new lease of life and put some huge pressure on Letterkenny and fight their way up to the 5 meter line, again some fine defensive play with big tackles coming in from, Issac, Mathew, Jack and Eoin to mention but a few, Orrin appears from one of the mauls with ball in hand and kicks the ball 50 meters down the field and out of trouble. Again Foyle apply the pressure and break from their own half but Eoin Parkinson and Jynaid double tackle their man and show the determination that each lad had on the night to defend their line. But Foyle keep the drive on and make it back to the 5 meter line, Letterkenny spread the defence and setup that impenetrable wall that they have put up all season and Foyle are unable to break through, Conor Smyth picks up the player with the ball and carries him into touch and the ref blows the whistle for half time.
Sub at half time Eoin Harris in for Finn Boyce.
Orrin gets the second half under way and the Foyle out half takes the ball in the air and puts boot to ball with a huge Gary Owen, David Henry rushes to get under the ball and with a clean catch and a wonderful side step he again pins his ears back and goes on a lovely solo run making 15 meters up the field he turns and feeds Orrin who is quick to support and Orrin goes on one of his fine solo runs and beats a few Foyle defends and scores to the left of the posts. The conversion duties are passed to Kaymin who slots his first kick of the night so the score after 1 min is [0 – 24].
From the kick off this time Dan Geoghegan finds himself with ball in hand, he puts the head down and burrows a few meters up the field before going to ground and setting up his charging pack, the forwards continue this fine play with Jack Speer and Issac lending their strength to the drive. Credit to Foyle they continue to get stuck in and put in some huge tackles of their own halting the Letterkenny onslaught and turning over possession. Foyle get some good moves together and start to make ground of their own but again the fired up Letterkenny team through some huge tackles from Isaac and Jack Speer who add to their huge tally of tackles for the match. Letterkenny this time turnover the ball and again Dan Geoghegan puts the head down and makes great ground and is assisted with another great carry from Isaac. Foyle win a scrum when Letterkenny spill the ball on the half way line, Issac this time of the back of the scrum breaks when the ball comes out and puts a huge hit on the outhalf.
10 mins into the second half and the coaches make a sub with Ewan Douglas coming on for Tiernan McFadden.
Jack Speer continues to lead from the front again breaking the line and making good ground and feeds his charging second row Conor who also makes some great headway and sets up the maul, ben feeds his out half Kaymin who does another one of his special long skip passes out to Orrin who hits the line at full pace and is impossible to stop and he scores half way in from the left hand side to the left of the posts. Try after 13 mins and conversion from Kaymin again is good. [0 – 31]
Isaac takes the ball from the kick off and makes some hard fought yards and is supported well again by his pack, who continue with some great tight passes making more ground, Jack Speer peels of the back of the maul and makes a 5 meters before putting Brian McGettigan into space and he takes off with a fine spurt of pace and side steps the full back to score halfway between the side line and the right post. Score after 18 mins with a successful kick from Kaymin [0 -38].
From the off this time Eoin Parkinson makes a break and feeds Jynaid who also makes 5 meters, the ball is whipped out the line to Leon Duffy who again dazzles the defence with some fine footwork and makes a further 10 meters, he in turn feeds Mathew on the charge who gains 5 more meters but this time the Foyle defence are up to the task and halt the charge for the line. Foyle attempt to clear their lines with a huge kick that is gather by Orrin on the Foyle 10 meter line, he takes off like a gazelle and weaves his way through traffic to score in the right corner on the touch line. The tough conversion from the touchline is missed this time by Kaymin and the score after 21 mins is [0 – 43].
Foyle win the ball this time from their kick off and apply the pressure again but Brian McGettigan puts in another fine tackle and strips the ball in the tackle, he feeds kaymin on the Letterkenny 10 meter line and with lightening pace Kaymin Shortt takes off and runs the length of the field to score a fine solo try under the posts, which he duly converts. Score with 5 mins left [0 – 50].
Sub made with 5 mins left Finn Boyce comes in to replace Dan Geoghegan.
Foyle make one last ditch effort to score and the remaining 5 mins is spent in Letterkenny’s 22, Foyle throw everything at Letterkenny in the last 5 mins looking for the consolation try, and are awarded several penalties which they tap and go quickly and their big lads make every effort to cross the line with some excellent play but Letterkenny’s defence is unfaltering and they refuse to concede.
The ref blows the final whistle and most of the players on both sides drop to one knee or collapse on the ground after what was a superb match, all the spectators gave a huge round of applause to both teams who gave it their all. Credit to Foyle who continued to battle throughout the match and never gave up and credit to all the Letterkenny lads who were determine not to concede another try having only conceded 3 all season.
Thanks to the coaches and fans for traveling to Derry for the match of the season so far.