Derry suffer blow to promotion hopes at league leaders

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(DJ-0403-GMI-05)

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City of Derry Rugby Club suffered another blow to its promotion hopes when losing to runaway All-Ireland Division 2A League leaders, Galwegians in Galway on Saturday afternoon.

However, Derry Head Coach, Mark Nicholl can take much heart from this performance against the best team in the league by some margin.

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(DJ-0403-GMI-02)

And with just three AIL games remaining - two of which are at Judges Road - the fight for second place remains alive and kicking, but only just!

It was a much improved display from the Derry lads and it was just that extra bit of class and creativity which made the difference between the teams on the day.

Seven minutes in, the home pack moved the ball right and eventually winger, Colin Conroy touched down for a try with Leader converting.

The Judges Road men bounced back when a powerful drive from the lineout saw wing forward Steven Dickey touch down in the corner for an unconverted try.

Galwegians got play to the halfway line on 30 minutes and produced a set move from first phase to score a great converted try from the mercurial John Cleery.

The home lot won a penalty and kicked for a lineout inside the Derry 22 and the Galway pack produced a good driving maul. With Derry infringing three times during the drive the referee awarded a penalty try and Leader converted for a 21-5 lead at the break.

Fourteen minutes into the second half, Rory Parata made a break and was stopped just short of the Derry line by Funston and Ryan Campbell, however, Blake picked up the ruck ball to touchdown by the posts and Leader converted.

Derry pressure told 22 minutes in when continual infringements by the home team to stem Derry attacks saw ‘Weegians’ wing forward Eoin Rooney sent to the sin bin. Another penalty on 25 minutes saw Derry take a quick tap and Stephen Corr broke the defensive line from five metres out and sprinted behind the post to touch down and Burns converted to leave the final score 28-12 to the home team.

Derry host Malone thisSaturday in the Ulster Senior League at Judges Road.

City of Derry - Chris Shields, David Ferguson, Paul McFeely, Stephen Corr, David Houston, Richard Baird, Stephen Dickey, Stephen Ferguson, Jack Caithness, Neil Burns, Ryan Campbell, Adam Bratton, David Funston, Josh Lewis, Simon Logue. Replacements: Sam McAuley, Cathal Cregan, Sam Duffy, Gareth Beatty, Andrew Semple.