Rugby: Cookstown are crowned league champions

Micheal McKeown Breaks foward again. Pic: Daron Patterson..
Micheal McKeown Breaks foward again. Pic: Daron Patterson..

Clogher Valley 3-43 Cookstown

Cookstown were crowned Minor League South winners for 2014/15 and can now look forward to a league play-off semi-final at the beginning of May.

Cookstown sealed the league title with a little less drama than what Ireland endured in the 6 Nations following a resounding victory over their nearest challengers Clogher Valley on Saturday.

Played in ideal conditions, Cookstown dominated their opponents with seven tries in total as well as maintaining their excellent recent defensive record by restricting the Valley men to a solitary penalty.

The Cookstown pack laid the foundations with a push over try in the first ten minutes with Owen Mallon the man to get the score.

Cookstown continued to dominate with flanker Marty Devlin outpacing the Clogher Valley defence to score in the corner and following several phases of play, Stephen McKenna burst through the Valley defence to touch down under the posts.

Daniel McElroy got the final try of the half as he left several Clogher defenders scattered on the ground with a trademark run from 40 metres.

Clogher got the final score of the half with a penalty in front of the posts but Cookstown were certainly the happier team with their commanding lead at half time.

The second half was played with much less intensity than in the first half as the heat seemed to take its toll on both sides.

Cookstown picked their moments to up the pace and Marty Devlin again showed a clean pair of heels to the Clogher defence to score his second and Martin O’Neill was on the end of a good backs move to get his name on the score sheet.

Stephen McKenna also got his second try of the game when he dotted down from one yard out to conclude the try scoring for the day.

The Cookstown line was put under pressure for the first time in the match in the last few minutes but they were in determined mood and held the Clogher side at bay.

The final whistle sounded soon after to confirm a deserved victory and league title for Cookstown.

Director of Rugby/Captain Liam Currie commented after the game: “It was a solid performance by an understrength side but the lads who stepped up did themselves proud.

“There is plenty to work on before we finish out the league programme and all being well our semi-final v Malone. Thanks also to Clogher Valley for their post-match hospitality.”