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‘Derry’ hard day’s work for Goats


Hard-fought win - Skerries number 8 Ross McAuley in action. Picture: Fintan Clarke

Hard-fought win - Skerries number 8 Ross McAuley in action. Picture: Fintan Clarke

Hard-fought win - Skerries number 8 Ross McAuley in action. Picture: Fintan Clarke




FOR the brave souls who made the trip North on Saturday – and there weren’t many of them – there was a just reward in the attainment of a hard-fought Skerries victory.

It was not a vintage performance, rather a win that was shorn from hard work and defensive concentration.

The Skerries team took to the field without first choice out-half Paul O’Loghlen and his replacement Shane Murphy was ruled out with illness just before the off, so Dara Lowndes was manoeuvred in at number 10 and it was his first outing in many months.

The match was 10 minutes old before Skerries had a touch of the ball and it looked like it was going to be a long day for the visitors.

The home team had raced into an early lead when full-back Robert McLaughlin – the best player on the pitch – capitalised on some sloppy alignment from the Skerries back division and skated in for the opening try without a finger being laid upon him. McDonnell, the Derry number 10, slotted the difficult conversion.

Skerries lost prop Cormac Murphy early on and his replacement Johhny Sherwin returned after several weeks’ absence. Sherwin’s arrival seemed to waken the Goats from their initial slumber and territorial advantage was achieved soon after he took the field.

This pressure led to a penalty for Skerries on the Derry 22 and Oisin McKey slotted over the simple kick.

Minutes later Lorcan Jones – and what a contribution he made to the day’s proceedings – chased and fielded a high up and under and this put the visitors in a good attacking position, but a simple knock-on gifted possession back to the home team.

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From the ensuing scrum Eoghan Carron, who also had a fine game, hassled the Derry scrum half who spilled the ball and the turnover allowed Skerries number 8 Ross McAuley to score close to the posts. The full-back added the conversion and the visitors were 10-7 up with 25 minutes gone.

Full back McKee added two further penalties and the half closed out with Skerries leading 16-7.

On the resumption City of Derry built up several phases and were unlucky not to have been awarded a try.

The home team seemed to loose focus just after this and a brilliant back movement with the ball going swiftly along the Skerries back line saw replacement winger Dave Goodman outsprint the home defence to score a fine try in the corner. Young McKee added the conversion and Skerries were ahead 23-7.

The visitors coasted into the last quarter and mentally seemed to assume that victory was assured.

City of Derry had other ideas, though, and their full-back once again split the Skerries defence and offloaded to out-half McDonnell to score a well-deserved try which he also converted.

That meant it was game on again, and Skerries had to produce a massive defensive effort to deny the home team any further scores. Paddy Bracken got his first game at scrum half when he replaced Eoghan Carron with a few minutes to go and it was a nervous closing passage for the visitors, so when the referee blew the final whistle there was palpable relief all round.

This coming Saturday sees the Goats take the long trip to Musgrave Park to take on Sundays Well.

SKERRIES: O. McKee, L. Jones, K. McGrath, C. Doyle, M. Oliver, D. Lowndes, E. Carron, C. Murphy, K. Leonard, C. Marrey, R. Halligan, T. Mulvaney, E. Sherlock, R. McAuley, G. Harrington.