Rugby: Cookstown RFC set up McCambley Cup derby with Rainey

Stevie McKenna on his way to the try line. Pic: Daron Patterson.

Stevie McKenna on his way to the try line. Pic: Daron Patterson.

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Malone 5ths 3

Cookstown 27

Cookstown qualified for the semi-finals of the McCambley Cup defeating Malone 5th XV who had won 17 games on the trot this season.

Cookstown travelled to Belfast knowing only a superb performance would suffice and they certainly delivered on that.

The game opened at a frantic pace in the unseasonably warm sunshine with Cookstown going through phase after phase in the Malone half but they held out to frustrate Cookstown.

Indeed Malone opened the scoring against the run of play in front of the posts with a penalty but that was as good as it got for the home side.

From the restart, Cookstown drove forward and good interplay involving backs and forwards allowed Ciaran McKenna to dot down in the corner for a 5-3 lead at half time.

Cookstown were expecting a sharp response from the wounded Undesirables but the away side put in a ruthless second half performance which left Malone shell-shocked.

Having absorbed early pressure from Malone with excellent tackling and defence, Cookstown pressurised Malone into mistakes and capitalised to get the opening try of the half through Stephen McKenna.

This was quickly followed with tries from Ciaran Currie and Denver Nugent who both outpaced the Malone defence to put the game beyond the reach of Malone.

The final try of the game came from Ciaran McKenna with his second who again showed great pace to touch down in the final play of the game to round of a fantastic performance from the Cookstown men.

A delighted Director of Rugby/ Captain Liam Currie commented afterwards: “Two very committed squads went toe to toe and the score line doesn’t reflect a very tight game. We had to absorb a lot of pressure and have an awful lot of sore bodie.

“The ice baths at Body Cryo Plus will get a lot of business from the squad this week. It was important that we pressured them in every part of the pitch and all of our scores came from us capitalising on their mistakes.”

There’s no rest for the squad as they have a top of the table clash at home to Clogher Valley on Saturday. Thanks to all the supporters who came out on Saturday and also to our resident photographer Daron Patterson for the pictures.