Quarter final place for Cookstown

Grovesnor 0 Cookstown RFC 19

Cookstown RFC travelled to East Belfast on Saturday to take on Grosvenor 4XV for a place in the quarter final of the McCambley Cup. Cookstown expected a tough challenge against the team who knocked out past winners Ards in the previous round. Grosvenor did not disappoint, with their 2nd and 3rd XV games being called off, Grosvennor fielded a strong, youthful side littered with talented players and full of running rugby. However, it was Cookstown RFC who managed to come together to put in a gutsy performance and grind out a hard fought victory.

The game kicked off in ideal conditions, slightly soft underfoot and with virtually no breeze. Straight away Cookstown went on the offensive and attempted to take the game to Grosvenor by refusing to let them settle.

Cookstown were served an early fright fifteen minutes into the game when a poor pass on their ten metre line was knocked on. A Grosvenor backrower hacked through and looked certain to score only for the referee to blow his whistle for a scrum to Grosvenor. It looked like going bad to worse for Cookstown five minutes later when a Grosvenor attacker broke through the Cookstown line by running through some very watery looking high tackles. Fortunately some good covering from Mickey McKeown and Ciaran cKenna averted any danger.

Twenty minutes into the half and the Cookstown pack were starting to get on top at both scrum and lineout time. Half backs Darrall Donaghy and Ciaran Currie were using the boot to good effect and pinned the homeside in their own half. With the whole team defending astutely Grosvenor had no way out. The first score of the day came after 25 minutes following a sustained period of pressure in the Grosvenor 22. A series of pick and goes from the Cookstown pack brought them up to the Grosvenor try line. The ball was spun wide to out half Ciaran Currie who went on a blind side run and enticed the Grosvenor defence off their try line. The ball was then off loaded to centre Ronan Campbell who timed his pass brilliantly for Conor Harte to dive over a for a try close to the touch line. Ciaran Currie was successful with the conversion. 14- 0 to Cookstown.

Throughout the remainder of the half Cookstown continued to apply pressure on the Grosvenor set pieces and it was a scrum taken against the head which lead to Cookstown’s second score just before halftime. A counter drive by the Cookstown front row of Mallon, Rea and Moore (The Unit) pushed Grosvenor off their own ball. The ball was quickly gathered by Darrall Donaghy who kicked deep into the Grosvenor 22. A good chase from Denver Nugent rushed the covering Grosvenor into his clearance, as a result Cookstown gained field position in the opposition 22. A catch and drive from the Cookstown pack brought playten metres short of the try line where the alert Darral Donaghy picked and scampered into the corner for the try. The conversion was missed.

Into the second half and Grosvenor introduced fresh legs in an attempt to speed the game up. However, the pinpoint boots of Ciaran Currie and Darrall Donaghy kept Cookstown on the front foot and in the Grosvenor half. The second half saw the Cookstown backs and forwards put in a great defensive display. Mickey McKeown, in his first start of the campaign cleared well from full back and the backrow of Eastwood, Boone and Reah chased everything. At lineout time both sides were spoiling the other’s ball with the retruning Colin Workman getting up well.

The next and final score of the day came just before full time. A Grosvenor attacker was penalised for crossing and Cookstown elected to kick to the corner. This brought Cookstown into the attacking 22 where the pack took a catch and drive and proceeded to march Grosvenor over their own try line where prominent Cookstown Hooker Stephen Rea dived over for a well worked try. Outhalf Ciaran Currie audaciously dropped kicked over the conversion from wide out on the wing to give Cookstown a 19-0 victory. Next game is on Saturday 4 February at home to Enniskillen.

Team: McKeown, Harte, McKenna. Campbell, Nugent, Currie, Donaghy, McGurk, Loughran. Stinson. Mallon, Rea, Moore, Park, Devlin, Boone, Reah, Eastwood, Workman, Quinn. Team Manager Mark Brown.

The club would like to thank local photographer Daron Patterson for providing coverage of the game and the supporters who turned out to cheer the boys on. The players were also pleased to see dedicated club man Richard Brown, who sustained a nasty injury at training, turn out in his pyjamas to cheer the boys on. We would also like to thank Grosvenor for their kind hospitality after the game