Nicholl’s men on the road

City of Derry's David Graham, is slowed down as he fails to break through the Queen's defence in their Saturday game at Judges Road.  INLS 1304-583MT.
City of Derry's David Graham, is slowed down as he fails to break through the Queen's defence in their Saturday game at Judges Road. INLS 1304-583MT.

City of Derry Rugby Club travel to South Dublin on Saturday when they continue their All Ireland League Division 2A campaign with a fixture against De La Salle Palmerston FC.

The Judges Road men will travel with confidence following their comprehensive victory against Queens in the AIL last Saturday. Derry scored six tries in a bonus point victory when they ran out 38-17 winners and confirmed their return to form having beaten Banbridge away the week before in the Ulster Senior League.

City of Derry first played De La Salle Palmerston in the season 1998-1999 and since then they have met on seven occasions with Salmo winning four times and Derry three.

The last meeting was in the season just past when the Dubliners came to Judges Road in early February full of confidence. They were vying for top spot in the league and expectant of promotion to AIL Division 1B.

The game was played on the Seconds Pitch following heavy overnight frost and a morning of incessant rain.

Derry produced a powerful display from their forwards with No 8 Stephen Ferguson outstanding scoring a try himself and setting one up for David Funston and being involved in a penalty try decision with Derry winning 22-17 in a thrilling game.

DLSP have had an indifferent current season so far having played eight games and loosing five but beating Old Crescent and Bective and drawing with Seapoint away.

They have accumulated ten points but are in second last position in the league just ahead of Bective who visit Derry at the beginning of March. City of Derry have also played eight games and are on 20 points, they are up to seventh place in the table following last Saturday’s victory and will be hoping to make further progress in their quest for a top four finish.

City of Derry Coaches Mark Nicholl and Ashley Blair will be happy at their teams return to form but more importantly the expectation that some of their injured players will be returning to the fold.

Chris Cooper will be available this weekend following a neck injury and will add more mobility to the pack along with that extra lineout option. Ryan Campbell, William McCleery and Richard Peoples return to a seriously depleted back line that went into last Saturday’s fixture with very little cover.

Derry will travel to Dublin on Saturday hoping to continue their winning ways but DLSP will be a difficult proposition at home and historically a close encounter is expected.

City of Derry squad: Steven Jefferson, David Ferguson, Sam McAuley, Sam Duffy, Paul McFeely, Bob McKillop, Brian Prue, Chris Cooper, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Tom Patton, David Funston, Richard Baird, Jack Caithness, Richard McCarter, Simon Logue, Chris Barber, Ryan Campbell, David Graham, Peter Henderson, Richard Peoples, William McCleery, Robbie Logue.