Barnstorming win against Banbridge

Paul O'Neill kicks Cookstown into the lead with a long distance penalty. Picture by Daron Patterson
Paul O'Neill kicks Cookstown into the lead with a long distance penalty. Picture by Daron Patterson

Cookstown RFC secured their fourth league win and second on the road with a fine victory over an experienced Banbridge RFC outfit.

The game started at a quick tempo with Banbridge easily finding gaps in the Cookstown defence. However, fine defensive hits repelled theBanbridge drives and Cookstown, sponsored by Time + Bar Venue, survived the scare of conceding an early score.

The first score of the day came from the boot of the Banbridge out half as a result of poor Cookstown discipline at the breakdown.

However, Cookstown responded immediately with a try. A good lineout in the Bridge ’22 and a series of forward drives forced Bridge into conceding a penalty. The quick thinking Aaron Bradley tapped the penalty to himself and dashed 40 metres avoiding a series of tackling attempts to score beside the posts. Outhalf Paul O’Neill converted.

Number 8 JP Reah went on a barnstorming run from the restart and this put Cookstown on the front foot. A well placed kick from Paul O’Neill put Cookstown into the Bridge half. A fantastic lineout steel by Marty Devlin allowed the Cookstown backs to spread the ball wide and some further inter-passing between Eddie Carnduff, Conor Harte, Stevie Rea and Ryan McLaughlin resulted in the latter coasting in to touch down beside the posts. Paul O’Neill converted.

This concluded the Cookstown scoring for the day as the game continued to be dominated by both sets of packs ‘having it out’ - Martin Boone, Owen Mallon and Stephen Rea making their presence felt.

The second half continued very much in the same vain. Unfortunately the game was abandoned 20 minutes into the second half following a leg injury to influential scrum half, Aaron Bradley. We wish him luck with his recovery.

Team Captain Liam Currie commented that he was pleased with the boy’s performance

“The club is going through somewhat of an injury and availability crisis at the minute; we even lost our outhalf during the warm up.

“We have had to pull in men in order to field 15 players, so there was every excuse for the boys to put in a bad performance. However I asked them dig deep and they certainly did. “

Cookstown: McKeown. Harte, McLaughlin, Cairnduff, Weir, O’Neill, Bradley, Reah, Boone, Devlin, Stinson, Stewart, Currie, Rea, Mallon.

The club would like to wish Aaron Bradley and speedy recovery with his injury and send best wishes to prominent centre Kevin Nugent, it is hoped he is seen in a Cookstown jersey soon.

Cookstown RCF take on Cavan RFC at Mid Ulster Sports Arena in their next game. Kick off is at 2.30pm.