RUGBY UNION: Bottom side Seapoint next up for McMaster’s men

City of Derry's Craig Huey is hauled down inches from the Malone try-line. INLS4715-106KM
City of Derry's Craig Huey is hauled down inches from the Malone try-line. INLS4715-106KM

City of Derry travel to Seapoint in South Dublin on Saturday to renew their AIL Division 2B campaign after a two week break.

Derry are currently top of the league having won six games and lost just once in their last AIL fixture away to Highfield in Cork to a try from the last play of the game.

Seapoint are bottom of the league after losing all their seven fixtures and seem to be on a downward spiral for the last few seasons having finished second from bottom of the table last season.

Derry got back to winning ways last Saturday with a comprehensive 32-13 victory over Malone in the Ulster Senior League.

The Judges Road men have a reasonable record against Seapoint since they first met 2009-2010. They have played one another seven times with the Dubliners victorious on three occasions and Derry winning four times.

Seapoint defeated Derry again in AIL 3 the following season in Dublin, despite Derry having 85 per-cent possession.

Derry’s consolation that season was piping Seapoint on the last day of the season to claim the AIL Division 3 League Title on points difference with both teams promoted again together to AIL Division 2A.

The Dubliners once more defeated Derry in season 2011-2012 at Judges Road, then Derry were victorious at Kilbogget Park the following season in AIL 2A when they outscored Seapoint by six tries to three with Chris Barber giving a Man of the Match performance from full back.

Derry had a hard fought 18-12 victory in a very competitive game at Judges Road against Seapoint the season before last.

The home team were 12-3 down at half time, but the second half saw a transformation in the performance of the Derry men as they kept the Dubliners scoreless and they were well on top at the end.

David Funston scored a captains try to reduce the deficit to 12-8 early in the second half and then at the end of a great team effort fifteen minutes in Adam Bratton combined to allow Richard Baird to touch down for a try. Andrew Semple converted to put the home team ahead before he kicked a penalty shortly afterwards to give the Judges Road men a deserved victory.

Derry travelled to Kilbogget Park on the final Saturday of last season needing to win with a bonus point and hoping other results would go their way to allow them to finish in the top ten in AIL Division 2A and remain in the third tier of rugby in Ireland.

The Judges Road men struggled on the day to put Seapoint away and were 12-5 ahead at half time thanks to tries from David Houston and Richard Baird.

There were 20 minutes to go when David Funston scored a captains try but Seapoint retorted with a try immediately and the score was 17-12.

Derry were over anxious and struggled for that elusive fourth try but Bob McKiilop who had flown into Dublin that morning following a week in France and scored, Stuart Simpson got in for another try shortly afterwards and Derry won 27-12.

The other results went against Derry on the day and Seapoint and Derry were both relegated to AIL 2B.

City of Derry’s and Seapoint’s fortunes have mirrored one another over the last six seasons and the relationship between the two clubs has grown over that period of time.

Derry will travel to Dublin on Saturday wary of the threat that Seapoint will pose despite their lowly position, as the Judges Road men have always struggled to produce their real form at Kilbogget Park.

Head Coach Terry McMaster will be happy with his teams performance against Malone and with players to come back into the team expectation will be high that Derry will remain in pole position in AIL Division 2B.