Solid victory ahead of Schools’ Cup match-up

�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 19th March 2014'Mandatory Credit -  Darren Kidd /Presseye.com' 'Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield Final Ballymena Academy and Dalriada at Shaws Bridge.'' Matthew Lockhart goes over to open the score for Dalriada
�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 19th March 2014'Mandatory Credit - Darren Kidd /Presseye.com' 'Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield Final Ballymena Academy and Dalriada at Shaws Bridge.'' Matthew Lockhart goes over to open the score for Dalriada

This game - played at the end of the holiday period - proved valuable for both teams and finished with a victory for Dalriada with a score of 36-21.

This was Limavady’s last game before their first Schools’ Cup match and were determined to set themselves up for the next Saturday.

Dalriada, who do not enter the competition until the second round, rested several of their starting line-up giving opportunities to several squad players who will have caused the coaching staff some headaches with many of them producing excellent performances.

The game started briskly and within minutes Dalriada had pressurized the Limavady fullback into a mistake and from the ensuing scrum Aaron Sparks danced through the defence to score on the left side. He then kicked the conversion himself to take an early 7-0 lead.

This was followed on the 10 minute mark by Matthew McConaghie diving over from close range after strong running by Scott Gamble. The conversion by Sparks once again was dead centre and Dalriada were 14-0 ahead early in the game.

Limavady, who up to this stage looked off the pace, were given a lifeline almost immediately when, from a Dalriada lineout, the ball was overthrown to land in the hands of a Limavady player who had an easy touchdown on the right side of the posts allowing the kicker an easy conversion.

The pattern of the game was repeated with Dalriada playing some determined rugby and gaining good territorial advantage which allowed Angus Johnston to perform his trademark show and go and finish with a score from 20 metres out. Sparks was his usual accurate self with the conversion but as before Limavady were gifted a score with some poor defending by the Dalriada team on the stroke of halftime meaning the half finished with a score of 21-14.

A good start to the second half saw Matthew Lockhart dive over in the corner after six minutes. The resultant conversion rubbed the underside of the crossbar to prevent Sparks having a perfect day with the boot but he was quickly back in form with a penalty almost immediately after a Limavady player was caught off side 30 metres out.

From here the game lost a little intensity from both teams and mistakes crept into play. From a set move Gavin McConaghie broke through after the ball bounced off one of his team-mates and he forced his way over beside the posts after a 30 metre run. Sparks finished for the day with the conversion and adding to a total of 11 points.

The last play of the game saw Limavady score their best try of the game through some excellent handling although the Dalriada defence will not be happy with their efforts. The conversion was successful meaning the game finished 36-21 in Dalriada’s favour but the Ballymoney boys will have to continue to improve if they hope to make an impact in the forthcoming cup competition.

On a positive note, the squad players all performed well showing there is strength in depth and Scott Gamble had a very solid game in both the scrum and loose play and is clearly getting back to fitness after his injury. The team would like to thank Mr. J. Devlin who refereed the game after the appointed referee cried off at the last minute.

This week will see the Secnd XV in action with a cup game against BRA on Wednesday with a 2.45 pm kick out.