COLERAINE battled Omagh and the weather on Saturday to take a satisfying league win.
The poor conditions brought frequent squalls and strong gusts throughout the match and both sides suffered with wayward passes and kicks. Conditions underfoot and loss of daylight towards the end, added to the Coleraine problems of injured and unavailable players.
Coleraine took an early lead when Aaron Rankin scored. Working from a five-meter scrum the ball was swiftly moved across the backline, giving Rankin the opportunity to slice through the remaining defence and score near the corner. The conversion attempt from David Andrews went wide in the gusting wind.
A number of penalty opportunities came for Coleraine in the next 15 minutes. The first fell just short from a diffciicult angle but Andrews made sure of the second, just in front of the posts.
On the half-hour Omagh went on the offensive and despite some sterling defensive work they finally scored. From a line-out Omagh slowly ground their way towards the try line and scored. the conversion was short and wide.
In the final three minutes of the half Coleraine had two more penalty opportunities. Andrews’ effort went wide in the wind but his second was on target, bringing the half time score 11-5 to Coleraine.
At the break Colin McNay came off suffering with chest problems, replaced by Harry Tate. With eight minutes gone Neil Montgomery was sin binned and Omagh went all out for a score.
Coleraine defended well and a counter attack saw Nigel Hall slice through the defence before he was brought down, deep in the visitors’ 22. An off-side decision a short time later gave Andrews the chance to successfully claim another three points from a penalty.
Omagh were on the attack with 27 minutes gone when they were awarded a penalty 20 metres in front of the posts. They opted to kick and picked up three points. Tommy Van Wyk replaced Brian Cochrane.
The final points came just before the whistle when Omagh were penalised following a scrum just inside their 22-meter line. Andrews slotted the ball cleanly between the posts.
The final score was Coleraine 17 Omagh 8.
This weekend Coleraine are away to Clogher Valley. Always a difficult away fixture, Clogher Valley will be feeling confident following their resounding defeat of Enniskillen on Saturday and their win over Coleraine at the start of the season.
Norman Blair will have to wait until later in the week to select his team, giving some of his injured players a chance to completely recover. A good result will be needed to gave real hope for a top four league finish