A Dalriada select team welcomed an under-strength Larne team to Ballymoney on a warm sunny morning for a friendly game which finished 62-12 to the home side.
The game kicked off and took several minutes for both teams to settle with Dalriada giving away several penalties in quick succession although Larne failed to capitalise on these mistakes.
Dalriada’s problems were further compounded when Fergal Wiseman had to leave the field with an ankle injury after only 7 minutes. Shortly after however Dalriada scored their first points when Aaron Sparks made a clean break from the centre and had the pace to beat the cover defence and score from 40 metres out. He converted his own score to give Dalriada a 7-0 lead.
This was followed shortly after when captain Michael Finnerty burst through a weak defence on the right, made good ground and then timed his pass perfectly to Matthew McConaghie who scored below the posts ensuring Sparks had an easy conversion.
Almost immediately from the restart Finnerty once again danced his way through the Larne defence for a solo score from inside his own half and the reliable Sparks made it 3 from 3 with the conversion and just before half time added his forth when he converted a try scored by Gavin McCaughern who worked tirelessly in both attack and defence. This meant Dalriada went to halftime with a 28-0 and a firm control of the game.
The second half started well for Dalriada with them controlling the ball but not scoring with the ease they had in the first half due to a more determined Larne defence until after almost 5 minutes of phase play when Stuart McHugh was put clear and sprinted to score in the right corner. Unfortunately this conversion attempt from Paddy Elliott shaved the outside of the post.
The effort shown by Larne now earned them some reward as their pressure forced mistakes by Dalriada allowing Larne good field position and from a series of rucks the Larne forwards drove over to score an unconverted try.
An resurgence from Larne was quickly killed off by two quick scores, the first coming from Paddy Elliott who collected a loose ball after good work by Jonny Waide when he charge down a clearance kick and the second when Harry Magee showed good strength to force his way over the line from short range.
This was followed by the best of the days scores when Dalriada attacked with pace on the left and out half Angus Johnston chipped the ball beautifully for Robert Hunter to run on to and he finished from 40 metres out beating the cover defence with a combination of speed and an elusive sidestep.
Still determined to fight to the end Larne once again forced their way up field and were rewarded with a converted try, once again as a result of hard work by their pack, but the game was finished by a further two scores from the home side.
The first was a brilliant individual run from Michael Finnerty which started when he took a quick penalty close to his own line and finished in below the posts and Sparks converting and the second came from a break from defence by Robin McNeill who rounded the entire Larne defence and selflessly gave the scoring pass to Matthew Lockhart.
There were some excellent performances from several players who made their case for regular selection as well as solid games from the regular squad members. Everyone was very pleased to see the return of Aaron Christie, all be it for a very brief run out, and all wish Fergal Wiseman a speedy recovery.
DALRIADA MEDALLION 35
LARNE GS 0
Last Saturday Dalriada Medallion travelled to Larne and recorded a comfortable 35 – 0 win against Larne Grammar School.
Dalriada secured kick-off and immediately went on the attack forcing Larne onto the defensive. Within minutes the visitors went ahead when Ross Fallows finished off a well worked backs move to score beneath the posts. Captain Connor Creith added the conversion.
As the half wore on Dalriada’s dominance increased and following some superb handling between backs and forwards Luke Cantley sprinted clear to score with Connor Creith adding the conversion.
At half time the Dalriada coaches made five changes bringing on Oscar Moffatt- Clarke, Matthew Mulligan, Mike McAleese, Paddy Stewart and Matthew Beggs. All five boys made a significant contribution to Dalriada’s excellent second half performance.
The visitors went further ahead when the impressive Stewart Moore glided through a gap in the home defence for a super individual try. Connor Creith added the conversion.
At this stage the Dalriada boys were dominating both set pieces and loose play and it was no surprise when they scored again. Lock Bruce Johnston was rewarded for a solid performance when he crashed over the line to score a try which Connor Creith converted.
Right at the end of the game winger Lewis Henry set off on an amazing run which resulted in Dalriada fifth and final try. Connor Creith maintained his 100% kicking score by adding the conversion to give the Dalriada boys a sound 35 – 0 victory.
Although this was a good team performance, man of the match was prop Harry McMeekin who had an outstanding game particularly in loose play when his aggressive rucking won a plentiful supply of possession for his team.
This was a momentous week for Dalriada Medallion with the Ulster Branch announcing that the Ballymoney school would be joining the Medallion Shield in Round Four.
This is due to the consistently high performances of the Dalriada boys during this season and last season.
The boys now look forward to travelling to Belfast Royal Academy next week determined to keep a clean sheet and record another win.
DALRIADA U14 40
LARNE GS 5
Dalriada under 14s took on Larne grammar on Saturday 15th November looking to get some fringe players game time. The final score was 40-5.
Dalriada started off well moving the ball wide and creating chances. 2 minutes into the game Larne kicked possession away and Matthew carton caught the ball before ghosting past 4 players to score beneath the posts.
Not long after Dalriada were on the attack again with strong running from prop forwards Jack Murdoch and David start before eventually moving the ball wide for Levi Irwin to slice open the Larne defence before putting Matthew Carton in for his second try of the day. Dalriada then made several personnel changes with little disruption.
Good work in the tight five from Adam wright and Daniel McCollum was allowing half backs James Allen and Henry Loan to dictate play and brig strong running centres into the game with Luke Pollock breaking through with a powerful drive before offloading to Thomas hunter to crash over for the third try of the day.
Dalriada now began to dominate the game Nathan Phillipson and Peter Wright both getting through a lot of work with like Clements finding himself in space to run in from 40metres out with the referee then blowing for Half time with the score at 26-0.
In the second half Dalriada changed 12 positions with looking to get all players game time. Notable performances from Khaleed Faheem and Chris wright on the wings both making metres every time they got the ball. Soon after Dalriada were on the back foot for the first time in the game with Larne crossing the Dalriada line with bodies everywhere the try was awarded.
This fired Dalriada up with Josh Watson and Sam Dowey helping to move the ball wide Dalriada began to stretch Larne allowing Luke Pollock to put a clever kick through for Jacob fleck to dance around two defenders and score in the corner. Even with the changes Dalriada maintained their structure with intelligent play from Lewis McCauley and Oliver Watt both ensuring Dalriada stuck to the game plan.
Through the final minutes David Curry broke the gain line with fast ball being gained through brilliant clearing out by Adam McWilliams allowing Matthew carton to get into space out wide and get his third try of the day. Final score 40-5.
Dalriada U13 travelled to Larne on Saturday and made a strong start courtesy of a break by Will Scott who linked up well with Mark McNeill. It was then left to full back Peter McConaghie to finish off the attack with a score in the corner. Dalriada’s next score came after a lineout steal by Oliver McLeod. The resulting quick ball allowed Marcanthony Wilmot to throw an audacious dummy and score below the posts. Another score quickly followed when Jonathan Diamond made use of the wide pitch with a perfectly weighted cross-field kick which was caught straight out of the air by winger Kane Hunter. The final score of the half came from James McCormick after a pick and go from the back of a scrum on the half way line. Half-time score 26-0. The second half continued with Dalriada dominating possession and it wasn’t long until they were on the score sheet again after moving the ball wide and it was McConaghie who again scored in the corner. Will Scott then gathered the resulting kick-off and made a superb run from his own half showing good pace and stepping several defenders to score below the posts. Two more scores from Scott and Wilmot left the referee with little choice but to blow the final whistle early. Final score 52-0. All conversions scored by Jonathan Diamond.