Letterkenny U14 secure a win in a hard fought encounter at City Of Derry
By Peter Orsi
Letterkenny U14s win out against City of Derry U14s in a tense and hard
LK14 TEAM: 1) Jack Bond, 2) Gary McGettigan, 3) Joseph McShane. 4) Bobby Sweeney, 5) Ryan Orsi(C), 6) Cillian Boyle, 7) David Ilie, 8) Ronan Lapsley, 9) Charlie Robinson, 10) Cathair Brady, 11) John Quinn, 12) T.J. Kenny, 13) Ronan Keeney, 14) Oisin Alexander, 15) Daithi Gallagher
R1) connor gibson, R2) Will Harris.
Letterkenny travelled to a damp and cold City of Derry Rugby club ground today for their second
encounter this season and in a thrilling match Letterkenny came away with a 25-20 win.
Having dominated against Derry in their match earlier this season there was no doubt that Derry
were going to be determined to not lose again. Letterkenny began by going through the phases in a
clinical fashion with David Ilie making a strong run before passing to Jack Bond, who showing the
speed and agility for which he is known, ran in Letterkenny’s first try. Ronan Keeney stepped up to
take a difficult conversion which went wide to leave the score 5-0.
Following the re-start Letterkenny again showed a clinical side to push into the Derry men’s half.
With hotly contested rucks Bobby Sweeny dug the ball out which broke to Charlie Robinson who
scored Letterkenny’s second try in the same corner as the first. Daithi Gildea tried his luck but with
an awkward angle and deteriorating weather the effort fell short to leave the score 10-0.
Derry resumed with added intensity which could again be seen in the hard fought rucks with
Letterkenny eventually getting a put in to a scrum inside the Derry half. A stunning run by Cillian
Boyle created havoc in the Derry defence before he was brought down just short of the try line,
however Cathair Brady was there to get the third try for Letterkenny. Again in difficult conditions it
was impossible to convert the try and the score was now 15-0 to the visitors.
Just when it appeared that Letterkenny would again dominate Derry won a scrum inside the
Letterkenny 22. The Letterkenny pack showed great strength and Letterkenny won a penalty. Derry
dealt with the kick and immediately ran at the Letterkenny defence with the Derry 13 scoring their
first try, to bring them back into the game 22 minutes into the second half. The weather conditions
again played their part with the Derry conversion effort going wide.
Re-invigorated by their score the Derry men continued to press the attack for the remainder of the
first half however Letterkenny put up an excellent defence. In particular during the course of a
number of scrums the Letterkenny pack dominated their counterparts. At half time the score stood
15-5 in Letterkenny’s favour.
Derry began the second half with the same intensity and kept Letterkenny under pressure causing a
number of handling errors which allowed Derry to get the upper hand. A Letterkenny kick was
caught by City of Derry and the Derry 15 ran in their second try just a few minutes into the second
half. Again weather played it’s part and the conversion was missed. The score now stood at 15-10
with the game on a knife edge.
With the rain and hail pouring down Letterkenny refused to quit and began to rally. After a big
effort John Quinn was substituted for fresh legs in the form of William Harris who added an extra
dimension to the Letterkenny attack. Pushing City of Derry into their own half a high tackle on
Ronan Keeney resulted in a Letterkenny penalty 12 minutes in. Letterkenny continued to push
forward with Derry throwing everything into their Defence. Bobby Sweeney was extremely
unfortunate not score, when a fumble caused a knock on less than two yards from the Derry try line.
With a Derry put in the Letterkenny pack were merciless and drove the Derry men backwards.
Charlie Robinson pounced on the ball and drove forward before being stopped just inches short.
Bobby Sweeney then immediately redeemed himself by winning the ball and powering across the
Derry try line to once again put Letterkenny in the lead. Ronan Keeney’s fine effort just fell short to
leave the score 20-15 with still 8 minutes left to play.
After having had a great game Cillian Boyle was substituted with a blood injury and Joseph McShane
re-entered the game to ensure the Letterkenny pack could continue to dominate.
Any thoughts that the Derry men were going to give up were quickly dispelled as Derry began
another period of sustained pressure on the Letterkenny men resulting in them bringing the score
level at 20-20 with just 3 minutes to go.
At this point Letterkenny showed their true spirit and bravery by once again attacking strongly and
winning a penalty on the Derry 22 line. From this the ball fell to David Ilie who showed his brilliant
strength and speed to break through a number of Derry tackles to score the match winning try and
bring the score to 25-20.
There is no doubt that both teams showed huge amounts of grit and determination in what has to
have been one of the best matches of the season so far. The Letterkenny pack showed great
strength in driving the Derry scrum back time after time. The contests for the ball at the breakdown
were intense and Charlie Robinson showed great maturity in the role as scrum half. Overall every
player, both Derry and Letterkenny, can be proud of their teams’ performance today.