Dalriada took on the top ranking Sullivan Upper, last year’s beaten finalists and despite losing away with the Seniors teams there were excellent victories for the Medallion and U14’s at home.
An understrength Dalriada 1st XV travelled to face a strong Sullivan team who were undefeated this season. The game was paid with intense pace and physicality and although Sullivan emerged victorious 38-17 the Dalriada team can feel proud of their display. From the start of the game both teams wanted to move the ball using every opportunity to attack, and from a very promising attack, Sullivan were forced to kill the ball at a ruck, allowing Michael Finnerty the opportunity to kick a long range penalty. Unfortunately the ball drifted wide but from the restart the Ballymoney boys maintained the pressure and Matthew Christie intercepted a loose pass and off-loaded to Thomas Hunter who sliced through the defence and galloped 50 metres downfield before linking with Matthew Kernoghan. Realising he was not going to beat the cover defence he delivered the scoring pass to Aaron Sparks. Michael Finnerty added the conversion and Dalriada led 7-0.
Dalriada began to put real pressure on the Sullivan attack who looked slick and very well drilled when in possession. Unfortunately midway through the first half a collision between Alan Montgomery and his team-mate Angus Johnston resulted in Montgomery leaving the game with a head injury. To compound the ever-increasing injury list he was followed by Matthew Kernoghan as a result of a shoulder injury. Despite these losses the performance of the team continued to excite the big crowd who were enjoying the spectacle and no-one was surprised when Michael Finnerty added a further three points as a result of another Sullivan infringement. The Holywood boys raised their game and were it not for some excellent defence by Dalriada they would have conceded several scores.
Eventually the much larger Sullivan team stretched the defence too far and their right winger showed blistering pace to score a try just before halftime and the conversion meant that Dalriada’s lead was cut to 10-7 at halftime. The second half started in much the same fashion as the first with both teams playing attacking rugby and defending with aggression and organisation. Unfortunately as the half prog
ressed the much larger Sullivan team began to force the pace and use their physical superiority to their advantage. As Dalriada tired Sullivan scored three successive converted tries in the space of ten minutes to end the game as a competitive contest. Lapses in concentration caused by fatigue allowed the Sullivan backs to burst through weak tackling. Nevertheless, hard work by Matthew Christie, Scott Malcolmson, Angus Johnston and Aaron Sparks helped to steady the ship and get the Dalriada going forward again.
Yet again however injuries were to halt Dalriada’s progress and in the space of five minutes captain, Michael Finnerty and impressive scrum-half, Matthew McConaghie were forced to retire through injury. A now re-organised team leaked two further tries to a very fit Sullivan attack to take the score to 38-10. Despite this heads did not drop and the Dalriada team were keen to finish the game well. This positive attitude meant that an aggressive defence forced a Sullivan player to spill the ball which was collected by Thomas Hunter who sprinted clear to score under the posts allowing Aaron Sparks an easy conversion to finish the game with a final score of 38-17.
Good win for Dalriada Medallion
Dalriada Medallion hosted Sullivan Upper School on the newly refurbished St. James’s Road pitches and recorded a hard fought win by 27 points to 14. The visitors started strongly and put Dalriada under severe pressure during the early part of the game. This pressure resulted in a well taken try which was converted. The home team fought back strongly and from a defensive scrum, Matthew Kennedy was first to react to a loose ball and he scored a good opportunist try.
Dalriada went further ahead when the impressive Jacob Butcher scored after some aggressive counter-rucking by Dalriada. The kick was missed and on the half time whistle the game was in the balance 10 – 7. Sullivan started strongly in the second half and scored a well worked converted try. The home team bounced back and, following a great break by captain Conor Creith, centre Ross Fallows was on hand to take the pass and score a super try. Stewart Moore kicked the conversion. The home team’s next score came when scrum half Matthew Kennedy kicked ahead for Ross Fallows to win the race for the touchdown. Any chance of a comeback by Sullivan were dashed when Matthew Beggs made a fine break before the ball was released to Conor Creith who fielded his own kick ahead before releasing the ball to winger Matthew Scott who showed his blistering pace to score in the corner and leave it 27-14.
Dalriada under 14 played a strong Sullivan Upper side and the final score in a hard fought game was 5-0 win to Dalriada. In the first five minutes Dalriada had lots of attacking opportunities making good metres through wingers Henry Ross and Levi Irwin who looked dangerous all game.
Dalriada had Sullivan pinned inside their own half for large periods of the game however didn’t capitalize on any of the chances. Sullivan began to up their game and Dalriada were forced to start defending however the Sullivan boys could find no way through the resolute Dalriada defence with strong tackling and game changing turnovers from back row players Peter Wright, Luke Clements and Connor Clarke.
Soon the Ballymoney boys were back attacking, they had a scrum inside their own 22m and determined to play their game they ran with a beautifully executed set play. This provided a platform for Matthew Carton to make a break down the wing and gain Dalriada well-earned territory. Dalriada then won the opposition lineout and again made some great tackle breaking runs through Thomas Hunter and Luke Pollock.
This again allowed space to attack with Dalriada using forwards Josh Watson and Daniel McCollum to get front foot ball before spinning the ball wide for Matthew Carton to crash over for his 10th try of the season and make it 5-0. The second half was much different for the Dalriada team and they spent large amounts of time in their own half however with great rucking and scavenging Nathan Philipson and Peter Wright forced numerous turnovers allowing Dalriada to clear their lines through Paddy Carson. In the dying moments the Sullivan team ran everything at Dalriada however every time there was no way through with Thomas Hunter and Luke Pollock making big hits to stop any chance of Sullivan scoring.
Dalriada U13 played their first home game of the season on Saturday against Sullivan Upper. Dalriada started strongly putting Sullivan under pressure but had litte to show for their efforts.
Sullivan scored two tries in nearly as many visits into the Dalriada 22 which left the half time score at 0-10. Dalriada were under pressure at the start of the second half and Sullivan converted again with one of their big forwards crashing over from close range. The Dalriada men regained their composure and played themselves back into the game with impressive line breaks from Will Scott and Patrick Steele. Dalriada eventually crossed the line with a strong finish, the final try scored by Adam Sutherland and converted by Jonathan Diamond. Final score 7-15.