COLERAINE move on to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Junior Cup after a convincing win over Dundalk on Saturday.
In a powerful display the Cookstown sponsored Coleraine team won 29-15 and are the sole Ulster representatives remaining in the competition. The opposition for the February 4 fixture will come from Tullamore, Westport or Moneyvea, the draw to take place at a later date.
There was a large turnout of support for the game at the weekend and the visiting Dundalk players put in a very spirited performance. In the end Coleraine gained the upper hand and made sure of their place in the semis.
Coleraine put the first points on the scoreboard after only five minutes. Scrum-half Paul Roxborough slotted the ball between the posts for a drop goal after good work by the pack gained possession.
With 18 minutes gone Coleraine’s David Andrews came close with a penalty attempt but the ball drifted off-target in the blustery conditions.
Andrews was in the centre of the action a couple of minutes later when he played a well judged up and under, chasing up and gathering the ball himself to score a great try. The conversion was just wide and the score was 8-0.
The visitors were not downhearted and in the next ten minutes notched up two tries. The first came to Errol Boyle with a well worked try. The conversion missed.
Five minutes later Dundalk hooker Jonny Gray forced his way over the line for the try and scrum half Johnathan Williams converted, bringing the score to 8-12.
From the restart Coleraine attacked deep into Dundalk territory and the pressure saw mistakes being made, Dundalk’s No 8 Greg Whately being shown a yellow card. Roxborough took a quick penalty setting up David Orr to cross the try line in the corner. The conversion again drifted in the wind, the score 13-12.
Just before half time Steven Dickey made a great break deep into the Dundalk 22 and some defensive errors resulted in a penalty for Coleraine. Andrews was on target for three points and the half time score was Coleraine 16 Dundalk 12.
In the second half Greg Jordan replaced Andrews. Dundalk picked up an early three points when a concerted attack yielded a penalty and David Clare was on target to bring the visitors back to within one point at 16-15.
With 13 minutes gone Coleraine again attacked and forced another penalty. Jordan took over kicking duties and slotted the ball between the posts from 30 metres for three points.
Ten minutes later Jordan claimed another three points from a penalty, 15 metres from the line.
The final try in the match went to Coleraine prop David Ferguson.
Coleraine surged towards the Dundalk 22 and Jordan made an incisive break sliding past several defenders before off-loading to the charging Ferguson. He sprinted for the line, bursting through the final two defenders and diving across the line under the posts. Jordan claimed the extra points and a short time later the match ended, Coleraine 29 Dundalk 15.
It was a solid performance and coaches will be looking to carry the momentum through to this weekend’s Junior Cup match against Ballymena Seconds. It will be a difficult encounter, against strong opposition, but Coleraine will be determined to get the better of the meeting and hoping that they will again have the support of a large crowd to spur them on.
In other senior matches the results were Coleraine Thirds 55 Harlequins Thirds 7 and Coleraine Fourths 0 City of Derry Thirds 0
Coleraine First XV: S Jefferson, D Ferguson, A Gaston, R Cochrane, J Gault, R Gibson, A Neely, S Dickey, P Roxborough, D Andrews, J Henderson, D Orr, S Simpson, N Irwin, B Cochrane. Subs: M Hunter, A Stirling, N Hall, G Jordan, T Van Wyk