City of Derry II 85
Ards II 12
City of Derry Seconds got their season off to flying start with a 13-try 85-12 home demolition of Ards Seconds at Judges Road on Saturday.
In perfect conditions it only took Derry five minutes to open the scoring when, following a series of quick rucks, hooker Cathal Cregan dived over for a try which was converted by full-back Peter Henderson.
Seven minutes later Henderson got the first of his three trys following good interplay between himself and winger Paddy Blennerhassett, the full-back adding the extras for a 14-0 lead.
Further trys by Cregan and Davy Graham followed, both converted by Henderson before Derry lost centre Jamie Devine until after the half time break with a shoulder injury.
Twenty-eight points ahead Derry took their foot of the pedal and allowed Ards in for two soft trys before the break to leave the half-time score 28-12 for the Judges Road men.
After the break Derry had regained their attitude and composure and, with out-half Richard Peoples orchestrating play and creating space for his back line, they ran in three trys in the opening five minutes of the half through Peoples, Cregan and Graham. Two of which Henderson converted.
With the Derry pack now totally in control led by the inspirational McKillop the remainder of the half must have seemed like ‘Groundhog Day’ for Ards as each time they restarted Derry attacked immediately, cutting through the defence with great interplay between backs & forwards and adding a further six trys by Henderson (2), Devine, Graham, Duffy and Blennerhasset before the referee blew the game up with 20 minutes left to play.
Full back Henderson converted five of the trys for a personal tally on the day of 35 points.
This was a good all round team performance. In the pack, the second row powerhouse of McKillop and newcomer James Fawcett helped set the platform for the backs where out-half Peoples, especially in the second half, made some incisive breaks and creatied space for full-back Henderson who made ground and linked well with the support. Tom Patton on his return to Derry had an outstanding game at No. 7 showing great handling skills when putting centre Davy Graham in for a try.