City of Derry will go into the final AIL game of the season this Saturday knowing a bonus point victory will finally seal the Division 2B title despite last weekend’s 20-19 defeat at Bective Rangers.
Terry McMaster’s men travelled to play Bective Rangers at the Dublin venue on Saturday for their penultimate All Ireland League Division 2B fixture of the season with high expectationsof victory to help seal their quest for the league title.
Sundays Well had defeated neighbours Highfield on ‘Good Friday’, which left those two teams along with Derry joint top of the table.
Bective were determined to avoid being dragged into a relegation play-off at the bottom of the league so Saturday’s game was crucial to both teams.
The lead changed hands in the first half but a late try just before half-time saw Bective 15-11 ahead at the break.
David Graham scored a try and Andrew Semple kicked a penalty for Derry in the second half but Bective also got in for a try to give the home team victory by a single point but the Judges Road men came away with a vital losing bonus point.
The final fixture of the season is at home this Saturday against Barnhall and a victory for Derry will see them crowned League champions.
The game started with Bective on top and their big dual status 22 st prop Jonathan Fuimaono got in for a try by the posts and out half Gearoid O’Grady converted to put the home team in front by 7-0 with only three minutes gone.
Derry came straight back when the home team went off side at a ruck Andrew Semple kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to 7-3.
Derry took the lead when David Graham showed power and pace to fend off a couple of tacklers to touch down in the corner for a great unconverted try and Derry were 8-7 in front.
Derry lost John Burns to the sin-bin on 30 minutes and more power play on the Derry line from Bective saw Steven Dickey win a great turnover.
Derry relieved the relentless pressure when Simon Logue made a great 60 metre break from inside his own half to take play to the Bective 22 and when the home team killed the ball at the breakdown Andrew Semple put Derry in the lead with a penalty to make it 11-10.
Bective swung the ball right along the backline for winger Finbar Ryan to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try and give them 15-11 at the break.
Semple fired a penalty over early in the second half to leave the score-line 15-14.
Bective centre Adam Philpot got in for an unconverted try after 51 minutes and the Dubliners were 20-14 in front.
Man of the match David Graham scored an uncoverted try but to make matters worse the referee blew the full-time whistle much to everyone’s consternation as the stadium clock was on 75 minutes.