City of Derry claim derby honours as Limavady defeated at Judges Road

City of Derry ……….. 46Limavady ……………..3What a difference a week makes. And what a difference a huge win can make to struggling team’s season.

City of Derry’s Jack Beattie is hauled to the ground by Limavady players at Judges Road on Saturday afternoon last.  Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2239GS – 094
City of Derry’s Jack Beattie is hauled to the ground by Limavady players at Judges Road on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2239GS – 094

City of Derry bounced back from a 19-point reversal at the same

venue last time out to run out convincing 43 point winners on Saturday. It was no more than they deserved.

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Tries from Davy Graham, big Fearghus Canning, Stephen Corr, David

City of Derry’s Prop Adam Marley’s sprint for the line is brought to a halt by Limavady players at Judges Road on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2239GS – 095

Lapsley and a brace from star man, Simon Logue, finally kick started Derry’s season and in some style. But at 3-0 down at half-time, few could have predicted such an emphatic filleting of City of Derry’s near neighbours.

Indeed, winless Limavady were the better team for most of disappointing and low scoring first half.

The home side began brightly but once Limavady weathered that early storm, and as the heaven’s themselves opened up mercilessly with torrential rain, the visitors took a deserved lead through a Matthew Haslett penalty after 20 minutes.

The sun finally peaked out midway through the first half but Derry’s

Limavady’s David Craig and Tiernan Thornton of City of Derry compete for possession at Judges Road on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2239GS – 096

display failed to match Judges Road’s brightness as they struggled to get out of their own half in the run in to half-time. Limavady’s ‘big’ Benn Riley was the dominant personality at line-out time with the home side forced to rely all too frequently on the boot of fly-half Alex McDonnell to kick them out of trouble.

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With Limavady 3-0 ahead, referee Andrew Munce’s half-time whistle

brought welcome relief to players and spectators alike.

In a classic game of two halves, the home side found an immediate rapid and exhilarating gear. Logue burst into life to make a trademark pacy break which, although it didn’t result in a score, certainly suggested this would be a much improved Derry after the break.

Livewire fans’ favourite David Graham eventually scored the first try of the game in the 45th minute and it was a thing of beauty, with every back getting their hands on the ball before Graham’s eventual touch down. The home supporters roared their collective approval.

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A conversion and two neatly taken penalties from the highly

impressive McDonnell edged Derry ahead 11-3 but there was more to come. Plenty more.

Fearghus Canning is a young man at the start of a career that promises much, and the powerfully built Ballykelly man scored Derry’s second try and celebrated it accordingly. And when Simon Logue rounded his man and turned on the after burners to score a third try for the Judges Road men, it stretched their lead to 25-3 on the hour mark.

In a season where City of Derry had struggled, Stephen Corr has often been their go to man, their talismanic tank, their barnstorming bully - a

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thundering flame-haired breaker of bones, tackles and hearts. Corr had been unusually quiet all game but the giant awoke from his slumber in the 68th minute when he bulldozed through umpteen men to touch down for Derry’s fourth try.

It was try No. 5 soon after. This time centre Lapsley produced a brilliant solo effort full of pace, intensity and trickery before scoring under the posts.

The second half concluded in similar style to how it began, with

Logue grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. Like fine wine, the flying winger just gets better with age and he did what Logue does best – scored another try.

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The Roesiders were a beaten docket long before the final whistle which rang out several minutes before the 80 minute mark to save them for any further embarrassment.

After the game, Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter was happy with his side’s second half display.

“Relieved more than delighted,” he explained when asked about his

emotions post-game. “Especially after that first 40 minutes to be honest. The boys had to know how poor we’d been in the first half.

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"We needed to up our energy levels. We made a couple of changes and the back row came into it more. More tackles, more turnovers, a bit more aggression at the break down and that set the tone for the second half.”

The Derry coach was keen to flag up the impact substitutes

Aaron Deery and Chris Shields had made. And the victory comes, of course, with the added second course of local bragging rights.

“It was nice to win the derby, but it didn’t matter who we were playing, we needed to win and it just happened to be Limavady but that

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makes it an extra bit sweeter.

“Home again next Saturday to CIYMS,” he continued, already looking

forward. “We’ll enjoy tonight. The boys deserve it but we have to back this result and performance up.

“When the boys start to unburden themselves we’re a good team and

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hopefully this will give us a very good kick start.”

City of Derry: Adam Marley, Cathal Cregan, Jack Sayers, Jake McDevitt, Fergus Canning, David Brown, Tiernan Thornton, Stephen Corr, Jamie Millar, Alex McDonnell, Jack Beattie, David Lapsley, Simon Logue, David Graham, Killene Thornton. (Replacements) Aaron Deery for T Thornton, Chris Shields for J Sayers