City of Derry 43, Queen’s 0
With three All Ireland League games remaining, City of Derry moved into the coveted Division 2A Top 10 following an emphatic 43-0 victory over Queen’s at Judges Road on Saturday.
The win lifts Derry to 10th, the final position in the table to guarantee third tier rugby next season and Terry McMaster’s team appear to have picked up momentum at exactly the right time. With games against Cashel (A), U.C.C. (H) and Seapoint (A) the finish the season, Derry’s league destiny is now back within their own hands and they have wrestled it back in some style.
The Judges Road men were were four tries in front at the break with the bonus point already secured before going on to score another three tries in the second half to confirm their superiority.
Derry played with the strong wind and driving rain in the first half and on a very heavy pitch which deteriorated as the game progressed, Derry’s attitude and commitment from the off was spot on.
The home side enjoyed within two minutes of kick-off as Richard Baird announced his return to the starting 15 in emphatic fashion. From a Derry line-out inside the Queens 22, Baird was driven forward by the pack which produced quick ball for scrum-half Andrew Semple who returned it inside to Baird to touch down for an unconverted try.
It was all Derry and they produced again on nine minutes to copper-fasten their superiority with a converted try. Stephen Corr and Stephen Ferguson carried forward along with Shields and Houston, but it was Peter Henderson who made the incisive break. Henderson got in behind the Queen’s defence where he found Adam Bratton who touched down. With Semple converting Derry led 12-0.
The Derry pack were dominating while Chris Barber, returning from injury, and Stuart Simpson were looking dangerous when they got ball as were Josh Lewis and David Graham.
Next up, David Houston got in for a great team try on 23 minutes and when Semple converted, Derry were leading 19-0.
McMaster’s team were throwing everything at Queens to secure the bonus point by half time and the clock was almost in injury time when Derry, through David Ferguson, won a 5m penalty and selected to scrum. Queen’s dropped the scrum three times, there was one reset and another penalty but Derry were never going to let Queens off the hook as they went for the jugular. Derry drove the scrum forward again and when Queen’s infringed once more the referee awarded a penalty try which Semple converted for a 26-0 half-time lead.
Derry faced into the conditions for the second half but Queens were still on the back foot. Henderson made a great break on 50 minutes that should have yielded more as the home side introduced Bob McKillop. Mark Walker, Ross Harkin and Cathal Creggan on 55 minutes minutes to give his pack a new impetus.
Henderson was seeing plenty of loose ball kicked into him and he made Queens pay when he gathered and chipped ahead from over 20m out to touch down for an unconverted that left it 31-0.
Chris Barber came into the line beautifully on 70 minutes to show he is back again as Derry attacked the Queens line. Walker, McKillop, Harkin and Creggan all had a go with Semple the fulcrum of everything along with McCarter. The scrum-half eventually connected with Henderson on the left to get in for an unconverted try and Derry were 36-0 up. McCarter rounded off a great Derry performance on the stroke of full time when Walker did the spade-work and kicked ahead for McCarter to collect in his stride and touch down.
Derry’s will travel to fifth placed Cashel in Co. Tipperary next Saturday seeking to continue their recent good form.
City of Derry: Chris Shields, David Ferguson, Sam Duffy, Adam Bratton, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Richard Baird, Stephen Ferguson, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, Josh Lewis, Stuart Simpson, Chris Barber, David Graham, Peter Henderson. Replacements; Ross Harkin, Cathal Cregan, Bob McKillop, Mark Walker, Tiernan Thornton