COOKSTOWN RFC have been crowned league winners of the Ulster Minor League Southern Section.
The league title was won in convincing fashion with Cookstown finishing 11 points clear of second placed rivals Rainey Old Boys. The team won all but one of their leagues games, most of which were away from home; the only blemish on this fine record being a hard fought draw against Banbridge 5XV.
The team now go forward to face an experienced Ballymena 5XV in the semi final of the Ravenhill Cup.
Banbridge 20 Cookstown 20
On Wednesday 4 April Cookstown RFC travelled to County Down to take on bottom of the table side Banbridge. With Cookstown having a 100% league record and Banbridge routed to the bottom of the table with 2 points from 14 games, the odds were on for another Cookstown victory.
However, the midweek fixture clearly suited the Banbridge men as they were able to field a strong side with plenty of Ulster Senior and All Ireland League experience. As a result an upset seemed on the cards for most of the game.
However, Cookstown managed to dig deep and pull back an early 10 point deficit to lead the game going into the final quarter.
However some questionable refereeing decisions and self destruct play saw Cookstown concede a late converted try which tied the game. The final whistle was blown soon after, much to the elation of the home side.
Ballynahinch v Cookstown
On Saturday 14 April Cookstown RFC were scheduled to play local rivals Rainey Old Boys RFC. However, the game did not go ahead and a challenge game away to Ballynahinch 5’s was then hastily arranged by team captain Ryan Eastwood.
The game was eagerly contested by both sides and proved to be an invaluable run out for both sides as they push for honours.
The club would like to thank Ballynahinch for putting a team together at such short notice and for their kind hospitality after the game.
Ravenhill Cup Semi Final
Cookstown will travel to Ballymena on Saturday 21 April to play for a place in the final of the Ravenhill cup. Both sides locked horns last year in the McCambley Cup quarter final which saw the Braidmen inflict a defeat on Cookstown.
Like Cookstown, Ballymena have won their league section in impressive style, winning all but one of their games.
The team has been in the mix in terms of cup finals and league honours for the past five years and will have players with All Ireland League experience in their ranks.
Cookstown are aware of the daunting task that lies ahead of them and would welcome support in Ballymena.
The club intends to provide a bus for travelling support. Please contact Ryan Eastwood.