Rugby: Cookstown surge past Inishowen in McCambley Cup clash

Try time for Ciaran McKenna. Picture by Daron Patterson.
Try time for Ciaran McKenna. Picture by Daron Patterson.

COOKSTOWN 33 INISHOWEN 10

Once again Cookstown RFC showed their battling spirit to come from behind and win this McCambley Cup third round tie against northern Donegal rivals Inishowen.

The game was played on firm underfoot conditions on the 3G surface at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena where the teams experienced all four weather seasons in one game!

Cookstown elected to play into the wind during the first half and so employed an aggressive attacking strategy based around their pack with strike runners in the backline.

The first twenty minutes were played with Cookstown setting up camp in the Inishowen 22; however the home team was continually frustrated by fine Inishowen defence.

Cookstown did breach the try line on several occasions, by virtue of a driving maul, fine back play and aggressive tackling unfortunately the ball was adjudged to have been held up on each occasion.

The 30 minute mark saw the game’s first try. Fine interplay from Ciaran Currie and Stephen McKenna resulted in a counter attack which brought play up to the Inishowen 22 metre line. Tight head prop Owen Mallon then took the ball and barged his way to the line where it was quickly recycled for centre Kevin Nugent to crash over the line. The conversion was missed.

This score appeared to spark the visitors into life as they exerted a bit more urgency in their play. The Inishowen game plan was based on a kicking game to establish field position where their pack could employ an effective driving maul. Fortunately the home pack stepped up the challenge and repelled a series of drives. A Fine defensive effort from the entire team resulted in the side only concede three points.

The second half kicked off with Cookstown on the front foot once again. Unfortunately a deep forage into Inishowen 22 saw the ball turned over where the speedy and dangerous Inishowen fullback raced the length of the field to score for the away tem. The extras were added to give the away side a 10-5 lead.

Following strong words from Stephen Rea and Ciaran Currie under the posts, Cookstown responded by taking the game to Inishowen by deploying hard runners to create space for their pacey and dangerous backline. This saw full back Micky McKeown, centre Ciaran McKenna race clear for scores. Flanker Martin Boone took time out of harassing the opposition half back pairing to force his way over for a fourth try. Stephen McKenna also got in on the act for the final try following some good interplay with Ciaran Currie. Final Score 33-10.

The team now progresses to the quarter final scheduled to be played on 22 February.

The club would like to thank Time Bar + Venue for hosting the post match reception.