TOWNS CUP: Portadown too strong for gallant Limavady

Limavady winger Matthew Haslett Limavady puts in a tackle on the Portadown second row during Saturday's Towns Cup clash.
Limavady winger Matthew Haslett Limavady puts in a tackle on the Portadown second row during Saturday's Towns Cup clash.

Limavady 3

Portadown 29

Limavady Back Row Sam Mackey competes for the ball in the lineout against Portadown in Saturday's Town's Cup First Round clash.

Limavady Back Row Sam Mackey competes for the ball in the lineout against Portadown in Saturday's Town's Cup First Round clash.

Limavady’s first defeat of the season meant a First Round Towns’ Cup exit against Qualifying One side Portadown who were rarely in trouble against the young Roesiders.

Paul O’Kane’s Qualifying 3 leaders defended heroically at times but led by a vastly experienced pack, the Mid-Ulster outfit were never in danger of an upset and recorded a comfortable victory.

Limavady Head Coach O’Kane had stressed the importance of a good start but it was the visitors who got off to a real flyer when, after a quick penalty and a kick behind the Roesiders cover, Portadown No. 8 McCoy won the chase to score in the corner with out-half Cousins kicking a great conversion for a 7-0 lead after just three minutes.

Jack McCool got Limavady on the scoreboard 13 minutes in when he landed a penalty from just inside his on half but Hany hopes this would give the home team the boost it needed were quickly put to bed as Cousins landed his second kick of the day for 10-3.

The home team were defending brilliantly and continuing to frustrate the visitors as well as holding their own in the scrum but the home line-out wasn’t functioning as well as normal and with five minutes of the half left, McCoy claimed his second major of the day for Portadown following an excellent maul. Cousins added the extras for a 17-3 lead.

The visitors defence was also in a mean mood and despite the best efforts of Scott, Lamberton and Haslett, Limavady could not get their running game going. Cousins missed a further penalty attempt while McCool went close with two attempts himself as the visitors took a 14 point lead into half-time.

Any notion of a second half comeback were quickly dispelled on 48 minutes when winger Purvis was given a clear run into the corner to establish a 22-3 lead.

To their credit, the young Roesiders stuck to their task and continued to frustrate their visitors with McCollum, Browne and captain Irvine all scoring highly in the tackle count but with Tully and Cousins pulling the strings, and Carleton and McCoy ruling up front, Limavady were finding it very difficult to get out of their half.

The final score of the day arrived five minutes from full-time when the visitors took advantage of some tired legs in the Limavady pack to score a pushover try which was claimed by McCoy who capped a fine individual display by completing his hat-trick.

Limavady thought they got over the line for a consolation try in the closing seconds but a strong defence held up second row Michael Rice.

So, a few harsh lessons for the Roesides to take in but after running up some big scores this season they showed real character against a side that plays their rugby two leagues above them.

Limavady: Peter Wilson, Robert Lamberton, Jamie Millar, Jack McCool, Matthew Haslett, Luke Faulkner, Jamie Millar, Clive Scott, Adam Mcilmoyle, John McCollum, John Purcell, Michael Rice, Sam Mackey, Peter Browne, Daniel Irvine. (Subs) Chris Tinney, Tom McClelland.

Portadown: A. Morton, R. Purvis, N. Irwin, C. Woods, J. Orr, C. Cousins, D. Tully. M. Henderson, R. Reid, M. Wilson, J. Carleton, W. Graham, G. Hall, M. Alister, G. McCoy. (Subs) D. O’Kane, G. Reid.

It’s back to the ‘bread and butter’ of the league next week as the Roesiders take their unbeaten league run to another Mid-Ulster side, Lurgan. Kick off at Pollock Park is 2.30pm, while the Seconds are also back in league action with a home match against Ballynahinch Fifths. This one also kicks off at 2.30pm.