Junior Cup joy for Derry

City of Derry...36 Cooke...13

ALTHOUGH they missed out on their main objective of regaining their senior status, City of Derry ended their campaign with another piece of silverware.

This time Bevan Lynch's men defeated Cooke 36-13 to win the Junior Cup, at Ravenhill last Wednesday night.

This being the last game of the season it crowned a fantastic year for Derry in which they remained unbeaten in all competitions in Ulster and in the process won the Kukri Qualifying League, the Towns Cup and Junior Cup double.

City of Derry President Alan McClure said after the game: "It was an honour for me this year to be associated which such a fantastic group of you men, they have done themselves and the club proud and written their names in the proud history of City of Derry forever.

"I would like also to congratulate Sean O'Kane and Stephen Orr on the success of the 2nd XV and also our Ladies Team just missed out on gaining status to the All Ireland League Division one."

Cooke were well up for this fixture and started with aggressive play and had Derry on the back foot and Johnny Beggs converted a penalty for killing the ball on three minutes.

Derry got their noses in front when broken play allowed James Rosenberg to show his strength and speed to score an unconverted try which was followed by a Mark O'Connor penalty.

Derry had now got their confidence going and were playing some sparkling rugby that culminated in two exceptional try's.

Firstly David Funston created mayhem in the Cooke defence and James Rosenberg was on had to run in a converted try after 20 minutes.

The next try, four minutes later was one of those that you had to be there to see it, Rosenberg again was the initiator and linked with Mark O'Connor who beat two men to release the excellent Josh Lewis who jinked his way virtually to the line only to be tackled by the last man and he produced a cheeky back flip the Sam Duffy in support to score his first try of the season.

Cooke got a penalty right before the break to leave the score 22-6 in Derry's favour.

Derry had Andrew Semple in the sin bin at the start of the second half and he was quickly joined by David Houston, while they were away Rosenberg produced a lesson in try saving tackles that was out of the top drawer to earn himself the Man of the Match award, he returned home to New Zealand yesterday (Tuesday).

Derry had their full compliment of players on the pitch and on seventeen minutes produced a move from the training ground when a miss pass in the centre found Colin Mitchell who strolled under posts for a converted try.

The game was over as a contest, but Andrew Semple alert as usual did a quick tap and go to himself from 30 metres out and scored under the post, Mark O'Connor added the conversion.

Cooke had a consolation try and conversion from Johnny Beggs on thirty six minutes, Derry had run out convincing winners to end a terrific season on a high.

Head Coach Bevan Lynch said after the game: "We deserved to end the season with a performance like this. I am pleased for the supporters, players and especially our sponsors who have been supportive and generous all season.

"We will use this season as a foundation for the future and next season with two home games in the Round Robin series we hope to regain our senior status which will be our main goal."

City of Derry: James Rosenberg, Josh Lewis, David Founston, Greg Mitchell, Ryan Brace, Mark O'Connor, Andrew Semple, Colin Mitchell, Mark Walker, Stephen Simms, David Houston, Philip Brady, Sam Duffy, Jason Mitchell, Sam McAuley. Replacements all used: Cathal Creggan, Chris Shields, Mark Nicholl, Richard Peoples, Jack Caithness.