Limavady 66, Monaghan 19
Limavady set up a Gordon West Cup final meeting against league rivals Larne at Ravenhill on April 18th thanks to a thrilling 10-try semi-final victory over Qualifying Four side Monaghan at The Hunter Grounds on Saturday.
It was an eventually comfortable win but for 35 minutes this game hung in the balance as a dogged Monaghan side gave as good as they got and continually frustrated the hot favourites.
With the first play of the game, Johnny King thought he had given Limavady a dream start, but the touch judge had his flag up for a foot in touch though the first try was not far away. From the resulting line-out, the home side stole possession and out-half Luke Faulkner touched down under the posts with Greg Jordan converting.
By the 20th minute, a huge score looked on the cards as converted tries from Greg Jordan and Chrissy Hunter left it 21-0.
However on 30 minutes there visitors were literally thrown a ‘lifeline’ as the Monaghan outside centre intercepted a wayward Limavady pass and raced clear unopposed for a deserved try. Moments later there was almost a repeat as the same Monaghan player broke through again, but much to the relief of the home support, the referee called play back for a knock-on.
The scare seemed to sting the Roesiders back into action and in the last three minutes of the half, they put the game to bed with quick-fire tries from Clive Scott and Peter Wilson which left the half time score 33-7.
Any lingering Monaghan hopes were crushed within minutes of the restart as Chrissy Hunter and Daniel Irvine crossed the white wash inside the opening two minutes of the second half.
Credit to the visitors though, they didn’t lie down and were rewarded with a second try on 50 minutes but there was only going to be one winner and further tries from Jamie Miller, Stewart Roddy and a second for Clive Scott saw the North West Men advance to the April 18th final.
Penultimate League fixture
Next week sees the penultimate league game as Limavady travel to Newry with a 2.30pm.
There was to be no fairy-tale ending to the season for the Saracens as, for the second year in succession, they fell at the semi-final stage of the McCambley Cup. A hugely experienced Ballymoney Fourths proved too strong and ran out convincing 41-0 winners.
One other fixture next week sees the Seconds play travel to Belfast to play Queens Thirds.