City of Derry face Queens at the The Dub, in Belfast tomorrow (Thursday) night in a re-arranged Ulster Senior League game (KO 7.45pm).
The Judges Road men will be looking to bounce back after suffering a heavy 25-3 defeat at Cashel in the AIL last weekend.
The visitors recent run of form came to an end down in Co Tipperary on Saturday when Cashel ran out convincing winners in the end and secured a four try bonus point win in the process.
It was always going to be a big ask winning down in Cashel as the home team are unbeaten all season in All Ireland League Division 2A in their own back yard.
Cashel have now won ten games and lost just three times to put them in with a slight chance of finishing second in the league and getting promoted to AIL Division 1B.
However things could have been different as Derry had their chances at crucial times in the game.
Cashel attacked down the right hand side of the pitch on two minutes and then moved the ball along their back line through scrum half McGrath and full back Pat O’Connor.
O’Connor found left winger Adam O’Loughlin who broke a tackle and found wing forward Kieran Murphy on his inside to touch down for an unconverted and a 5-0 lead for the Tipp men.
Cashel won a penalty on eight minutes and kicked for touch and using their driving maul had Derry struggling to keep them at bay and they finally cracked and prop Michael Kelly touched down for another unconverted try and the home team were 10-0 ahead.
Cashel went for the juggler but strong defence for Stuart Simpson, Chris Barber, David Ferguson and Ross Harkin kept the home team at bay.
Derry under pressure lost Cathal Creggan to the sin bin after eighteen minutes and then they lost out-half Richard McCarter with a hamstring injury shortly afterwards.
Derry missed a kickable penalty on the stroke of half-time as the score at the break was 10-0 in Cashel’s favour.
Terry McMaster’s side started the second half on the attack and sustained pressure inside the Cashel 22’ had the home team killing the ball once too often for the referee’s liking and their prop Michael Kelly was sin binned.
Andrew Semple kicked a penalty from the infringement 20 metres in front of the posts and the lead was down to 10-3 with the game in the balance.
The game could have changed at this point but Derry could not get that elusive score. Pat O’Connor kicked a penalty from 30 metres on 63 minutes to increase Cashel’s lead to 13-3.
Cashel put the game to bed on 70 minutes when following a Derry attack that saw the ball stripped inside the Cashel 22.
The home team moved the ball quickly left and following good interplay winger Eamonn Connolly touched down for a try and when Pat O’Connor kicked the conversion to put Cashel 20-3 in front.
Cashel confirmed their superiority at the end when second row Brendan Crosse got in for an unconverted try and the bonus point with the last play of the game and a final score of 25-3 for the Tipp men.
Derry are now in the position of having to win their last two games to finish in the top ten in the league and guarantee their place in the same league next season. Derry’s last home game in the AIL is against UCC from Cork on Saturday March 29th.
City of Derry: Ross Harkin, Cathal Cregan, Chris Shields, Adam Bratton, David Houston, Richard Baird, David Ferguson, Stephen Ferguson, Andrew Semple, Richard McCarter, Josh Lewis, Stuart Simpson, Chris Barber, David Graham, Peter Henderson. Replacements; Nathan Deeney, Chris Cooper, Craig Huey, David Funston, Tiernan Thornton.