VALIANT COLERAINE LOOSE OUT AT RAVENHILL
Donaghadee are the holders of the Millar, McCall and Wylie Junior Cup having overcome a brave Coleraine XV at a wet and very windy Ravenhill on Wednesday, winning 10-0 on a day when the extreme weather conditions ensured that running rugby would be at a premium.
Not that the Dee Men care a jot about that. Their star is currently in the ascendancy following promotion to Qualifying Div. 1 last season and this seasonís strong league form has now been supplemented with some silverware.
The omens were not good for Johnny Gault and his players as the teams warmed up. The much heavier Dee pack had to be moved continually around from the start if the Sandel Lodge boys were to prevail but the gale blowing down the pitch was so strong that providing width to attacks either through boot or hand appeared risky.
Playing with the wind at their backs in the first half the Cookstown sponsored Coleraine team had an early scare when the Dee pack rumbled forward from a lineout and centre Harpur raced through a gaping hole in the Coleraine midfield . A try appeared to be on the cards but wing Niall Irwin did superbly well to get back and tackle.
Gradually the Coleraine team settled to its task with half backs Paul Roxborough and David Andrews on separate occasions kicking well to set up promising positions.The Dee set piece, however, although not markedly superior, did have a vital edge on the opposition and although Stephen Dickey, Andy Neely and David Ferguson carried with intent the attacks were conducted on a narrow front and produced no tangible reward.
David Andrews did have a hopeful shot at the posts after 20 minutes but was well wide but neither try line was seriously threatened until the busy Ferguson was yellow carded in the 30th minute at a breakdown on the Coleraine 22. The under manned Coleraine defence which was to prove to be outstanding in the second half, initially held firm but with 3 minutes remaining Roxborough was also carded---this time for a high tackle and Dee No.8, Millar picked up at the base of a scrum before crashing over for a vital try. H.T. 5-0.
Few among the big crowd gave the Bannsiders any chance as the second half began but with fresh legs on in the shape of Peter Bogle and Steven Douglas they produced a performance of courage and character that warmed the hearts of their considerable travelling support. Time and again during the third quarter the Coleraine players carried and recycled but there needed to be greater variation in lines of running and in points of attack if the determined defence of the Co. Down men was to be breached.
With 8 minutes left on the clock the result remained in doubt but a penalty award afforded the Red and Greens an opportunity to camp inside the Coleraine 22 and after Johnny Henderson had denied Dee wing, Santos, with a superb tackle , Donaghadee retained possession and prop forward Good ensured the Cup went to Co. Down with a 78th minute unconverted try.
Subs (allplayed) Bogle,P.,Douglas.S.,Hunter.M.,Henderson.J.,Orr.D.