Coleraine move on to the next round of the All-Ireland Junior Cup after a convincing win over Connacht side Tuam on Saturday.
A large crowd of spectators watched the Bannsiders put in a confident display and saw them run out the winners at 34-6. The next round sees Coleraine entertain Dundalk and a tough encounter is again in prospect.
This weekend, November 12, Coleraine are at home to Banbridge Seconds in the Junior Cup. The Co Down men are again an unknown quantity but players and coaches alike will be approaching the game in a positive manner – spurred on no doubt by Saturday’s performance.
On Saturday a large travelling contingent helped create a great atmosphere for the game. From the start both sides battled to create point scoring opportunities but it was the home side that gained the first points.
With only seven minutes on the clock Coleraine charged deep into the Tuam 22, recycled the ball across the back line, setting up Nial Irwin to speed in and score in the corner. The still conditions were ideal for David Andrews and he made sure of the extra points with a well struck conversion.
Tuam crossed the line after 23 minutes following a period of intense pressure on the Coleraine defence. The try was not allowed due to a forward pass during the final stages of the attack.
The continued pressure paid off with a penalty being awarded three minutes later. Tuam’s Killian McDonagh picked up three points from 30 metres.
The final fifteen minutes of the half saw three scoring opportunities, all penalties. Andrews scored first for Coleraine with a clean shot from 35 metres.
Tuam had two goes at goal arising from penalty decisions. The first went wide and short, the second bang on target, again from McDonagh.
The half time score Coleraine 10 Tuam 6.
The second half started with Coleraine in dominant form. Within three minutes the ferocious attack yielded a penalty which Andrews converted for three points. The Tuam attack from the restart saw them awarded a penalty for a high tackle but the attempt was short and off target.
Twelve minutes into the half Coleraine were applying steady pressure on the visitor’s lines when David Ferguson took possession on the Tuam 22. He made a great individual break, sprinted through the tattered defence and scored beside the posts. Andrews converted, bringing the score to 20-6.
Working from a Coleraine throw in, deep in the Tuam 22, the ball came awkwardly to Andrews in the centre. He scooped up the bouncing pass and crashed through the defence to score under the posts. He then converted for the extras.
Coleraine made full use of the replacements available and the attack continued with renewed vigour. Continued Coleraine pressure saw Irwin almost cross the line but slipping into touch just short of the corner.
In the final moments of the game Nigel Hall cut a great angle through the defence to score the final try. Andrews again obliged with the conversion, bringing the final score line to Coleraine 34 Tuam 6.
The result means that Coleraine will now face Dundalk in the next round, at home on November 26. They are also an unknown quantity for the Coleraine squad and have been in winning form this season so far.
Coach Richard Kernohan was delighted with the performance on Saturday. He said: “The win will give the squad the boost they need to take on Banbridge this weekend and then to face Dundalk. If they show the same determination and skill then we should see another good result.”
In between there is also a home league fixture for Coleraine, against CIYMS on November 19.
In other matches the scores were Clogher Valley Seconds 29 Coleraine Seconds 14. Coleraine Thirds 13 Grosvenor Seconds 15, Coleraine U19s 12 Larne U19s 25
This week’s First XV match: Coleraine v Banbridge Seconds, Junior Cup, Rugby Avenue, 2.30pm, Saturday, November 12.
Coleraine First XV: S Jefferson (Gaston), D Ferguson, J Carey, P Bogle, J Gault, A Gourley (Gibson), A Neeley (McNay), S Dickey, P Roxborough (Orr), D Andrews, N Hall, T Van Wyk, S Simpson, N Irwin, B Cochrane. Subs: A Gaston, R Gibson, M Hunter, C McNay, D Orr.