COOKSTOWN 25 BALLYNAHINCH 15
Cookstown RFC defeated an experienced Ballynahinch side on Saturday to reach the final of the McCambley Cup.
All roads now lead to Ravenhill (hopefully) on 26 April as the Time Bar + Venue sponsored side set their eyes on Limavady RFC in the final.
Playing into a stiff breeze, Cookstown dominated the first half exchanges by running in three unanswered tries.
However, the first scores of the day did come from the boots of the respective team kickers; the ‘Hinch out half impressively slotted the ball over the bar from the halfway line following some Cookstown indiscipline at the breakdown.
Cookstown responded in kind via Paul O’Neill in front of the ‘Hinch posts five minutes later.
The game’s first try came as a result of a fine midfield break from No. 8 JP Reah. The ball was recycled twice and inter-passing between backs and forwards allowed centre Kevin Nugent to touch down in the corner. The try was converted by O’Neill despite the difficult breeze.
The second try came about as a result of driven lineout by the Cookstown pack, prop forward Owen Mallon getting the touch down, again Paul O’Neill converted from out wide.
The final score of the half came as a result of some excellent pressure defence from the home team which led to the away side conceding possession in their own 22. The ball went through a number of phases before being passed out to winger Stephen McKenna who outpaced the covering defence to score in the corner. The conversion just drifted across the face of the posts to leave the score 22-3 at half time.
Playing with the breeze, Cookstown were expected to push further ahead, however, the ‘Hinch deployed an aggressive pick and-go-game plan thus starving Cookstown of any decent ball supply. The half started ominously as Cookstown conceded a number of penalties at the breakdown and conceded two early tries. However, only one was converted to make it 22-15.
Cookstown relied on some deep kicking in order to get into the ‘Hinch territory. One such forage saw out half Ciaran Currie kick a long distance drop goal to give his side some breathing space.
The ‘Hinch pressure was relentless for most of the second half and Cookstown repeatedly fell foul of the referee which resulted in three yellow cards for Reah, Boone and McKeown. So there was relief all round as the final whistle went with Cookstown holding out for a ten point victory.
The club would like to thank Mr Jonny Finch of A29 Service Station Cookstown for sponsorship of the game, the sizeable crowd for coming out to support the players, Daron Patterson for his coverage of the game and Time for hosting the post game reception.
Cookstown: McKeown, Nugent, Nugent, McKenna, McKenna, Currie, Currie, O’Neill, Rea, Mallon, Weir, Jaafar, Stinson, Brown, Moore, Devlin, Stewart, Boone, McLoughlin.
The Club’s next game is at home to Banbridge on Saturday March 29 at 2:30pm.