Valley continue good start

Paul Armstrong weaves his way through the Donaghadee defence       SH

Paul Armstrong weaves his way through the Donaghadee defence

Kukri Qualifying League One

Clogher Valley 41 
Donaghadee 10

Clogher Valley continued its good start to its Junior Qualifying One campaign with a comprehensive 41-10 win against Donaghadee at the Cran.

On pleasant afternoon in front of a sizeable crowd it was the visitors who began best.  A threatening move on the Valley 10 metre line by Donaghadee was stopped in its tracks and Best cleared the danger.  Donaghadee attacked again and after a Valley offside at a ruck the referee awarded a penalty to the visitors just outside the Valley 22.  The kick was converted to leave Donaghadee 3-0 in front after 4 minutes.

The lead was to be short lived.  The home side upped its workload in the loose and started to dominate collisions.  A telling break by Armstrong just inside the visitor’s half created the momentum for forwards and backs to shred the away defence.  The ball was chipped through into the visitors in-goal area and the referee awarded a somewhat fortunate try to Best who had led the chase for the ball.  The difficult conversion was missed and Valley were 5-3 to the good after 13 minutes.

Efforts by Donaghadee to regain the initiative were to be shortlived.  Treanor snaffled ball from the visitors at a ruck and, after a transgression by Donaghadee, Holme kicked the penalty to touch  inside the visitors 22.  A great take by Orr at the tail of the lineout allowed the Valley pack to march their Donaghadee counterparts 20 yards back.  With the visitors defence in disarray the ball came back to Armstrong on the blind side who galloped over to leave Valley leading 12-3 after 17 minutes.  The conversion was missed.

The second quarter produced the best sustained rugby of the match by the home team. Marshalled by the influential Holme, Valley forwards and backs attacked at pace and using the full width of the pitch.  A series of Valley attacks on Donaghadee’s 22 eventually led to a scrum.  Following a strong shove by the Valley pack, No 8 Wilson picked up and barged over to leave Valley 17-3 in front on 23 minutes.  The difficult conversion was missed.   Following a tremendous individual break by winger Stott the referee penalised the visitors for offside just outside their 22, and Holme kicked the penalty to extend the Valley lead to 20-3 after 27 minutes.

A penalty chance was missed by Donaghadee before another break by Stott brought play back into the visitors half.  Following another good take at the lineout by Orr, the Valley pack rumbled forward to within 10 metres of the visitors’ line.  The resulting scrum saw Ryan Wilson pick up and dive over for a try on the stroke of half-time.  Holme added the conversion to leave Valley 27-3 up at half-time.

Any prospect that Valley would lift the foot of the gas, having achieved the bonus point, were quickly dispelled after Ellis’s touchdown in the corner seemed to seal a fantastic team try.  This was disallowed due to a foot in touch.  This proved to be a temporary reprieve after a power play by Bennett and Beans took the play back up to the Donagahdee 22.  With Valley players cuing up to get their hands on the ball it was Ryan Wilson who burst through to score his hat-trick try, his second such in consecutive weeks, close to the posts.  Holme added the extras to leave Valley leading 34-3 on 50 minutes.

Donaghadee to their credit did not let their heads drop.  Several phases of play saw the visitors make line breaks around rucks and mauls and they kicked a penalty deep into the Valley 22.  With the prospect of a try looming, it was Treanor who cleverly stopped the visitor attack from the lineout in its tracks.  Holme relieved the pressure with a searching kick which brought play into the visitors’ half.  A further Valley lineout saw Bennett punching a hole in the Donagahdee defence and BJ Wilson followed up in support to race over for the home team’s sixth try.  Holme added the conversion to leave Valley leading 41-3 on 68 minutes.

With full-time in sight Valley were reduced to 14 when Cobain was yellow carded. Valley continued to run at the visitors but, after the ball was lost, Donaghadee pressed home their numerical advantage with a well-taken try by their winger. The conversion was added to leave the full-time score as 41-10.


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