CITY of Derry Second XV produced an outstanding display of attacking rugby at Judges Road, on Saturday, as they ran out convincing 30-12 winners in their Towns Cup quarter-final fixture against Dungannon Seconds.
Derry came from seven points behind early on to eventually win, as the home side produced some tremendous free flowing rugby.
In near perfect conditions at Judges Road it was Dungannon who dominated the early play and were rewarded on ten minutes.
Poor Derry defence at a ruck 10 metres from their line allowed the Dungannon scrum half to break and score a try under the posts. The conversion was a formality and they led 7-0.
Derry produced strong pressure on 15 minutes and forced Dungannon to concede a penalty and out half Adam Parke slotted the kick to reduce the deficit to 7-3.
The Judges Road men were now getting into their stride and the remainder of the half was closely contested. Adam Parke added his second penalty for Derry from 30 metres on the half hour mark to bring the score to 7-6.
On 35 minutes a poor clearance kick from Derry was fielded by the ’Gannon winger who moved the ball cross field. Inept tackling from Derry allowed them to score an unconverted try and leave the half-time score at 12-6 in Dungannon’s favour.
Immediately from the restart a good break by Phil Duffy took play deep into the Dungannon half and when he was tackled Dungannon were caught offside at the ruck and again Parke struck the resultant penalty between the uprights from 35 metres to leave it 12-9.
Derry were now getting some decent possession with Rodney Balfour, Ross Harkin and Sam Duffy domination at scrum time. They were well supported by second rowers Adam McDuff and the evergreen Bob McKillop.
The early Dungannon enthusiasm and dominance was beginning to subside as the Derry back row of Johnny Lyons, Ross Scott and Mark Walker were winning the battle of the breakdown.
Mark Walker at open side wing forward was playing his first game for some time, he became involved in everything that was good about Derry’s play and added that edge which had been missing in previous performances.
Mid-way through the second half Derry moved the ball from a ruck 15 metres out and No 8 Ross Scott hit a great line to score a try by the posts. Parke added the extras and Derry took the lead for the first time moving 16-12 in front.
The momentum of the game had now changed in Derry’s favour and Parke was orchestrating play from out half.
Centre’s Gary Boyle and John Laverty made a number of good breaks supported by wingers Robbie Logue and Adam Blair. Full-back David Murdock showed great pace when coming into the line and was unlucky not to get his name on the score sheet.
The introduction of replacements Steven Brennan for the injured Laverty, and hooker Steven Duffy was seamless and Derry continued to dominate the game.
On 70 minutes winger Adam Blair made a break and kicked ahead, Johnny Lyons was on hand to gather the bouncing ball and score beneath the posts. Parke again converted and the lead was now 23-12.
With just minutes remaining Derry were putting pressure on Dungannon and when Phil Duffy spotted a gap at the edge of a ruck, he rounded off a great second half performance by scampering in for a try again converted by Parke to leave the final score 30-12.
After a slow start this was a good all round Derry performance, the pack, where McKillop and Walker were outstanding, set the platform for the backs.
Out half Adam Parke varied the play, Phil Duffy had a great second half and centre Gary Boyle made a number of breaks and set a good target for the pack but man of the match was winger Adam Blair who was outstanding in defence and attack.
Derry now go into the semi-final draw with Omagh, Enniskillen and Ballyclare with the fixtures to be played on Saturday, March 16.
City of Derry Seconds: Rodney Balfour, Ross Harkin, Sam Duffy, Bo McKillop, Adam McDuff, Johnny Lyons, Mark Walker, Ross Scott, Phil Duffy, Adam Parke, Robbie Logue, Gary Boyle, John Laverty, Adam Blair, David Murdock. Replacements: Steven Brennan, Steven Duffy.