AIL RUGBY: City of Derry lose out to Greystones

Joe Dunleavy powers forward for City of Derry during Saturday's match against Greystones. DER1117-137KM

Joe Dunleavy powers forward for City of Derry during Saturday's match against Greystones. DER1117-137KM

City of Derry 22, Greystones RFC 57

City of Derry 22, Greystones RFC 57

Efficiency is the sign of a great team.

Back at the start of October, Greystones put 71 points on a shell shocked Derry side who couldn’t wait to get out of  Dr. Hickey Park. That was the size of the task facing the Judges Road men.

It meant the Wicklow men arrived in the north west with quite a reputation and they didn’t disappoint. Eight tries and some superb flowing rugby confirmed their status as the best team to have visited Judges Road this season. That they capitalised from more than a few curious refereeing decisions was inconsequential to the score line. They deserved to win and didn’t need to the benefit of the doubt they received more than once in the  build up to tries.

But this wasn’t a repeat of that October mauling. Derry played very well; well enough to continue the feel good factor that has re-emerged alongside their improved form since the turn of the year.

Indeed the Derry pack had the measure of their opponents but the game was far too open for the home side’s liking. That played perfectly into Greystones’ hands with visiting full back Andrew Kealy giving a superb display of goal kicking as his side scored some brilliant tries.

And that efficiency was on display in a first half played almost exclusively in the Greystones half, yet which finished with the Wicklow men 8-22 up.

Greystones visited the Derry ‘22 only four times in the opening half yet came away with three tries and a penalty. Their off loading was superb but too often Derry’s tackling facilitated the man getting the ball away in contact.

Greystones’ first foray forward brought them a seventh minutes penalty which Kealy converted.

Ten minutes later, with Derry being harshly punished in midfield, a quick tap penalty ended with winger Padraig Geoghegan the man over the score. Kealy converted for a 10-point lead but Derry were competing well.

They almost produced the perfect response when Neil Burns’ charge was only halted by a high tackle which brought a penalty and Derry’s first three points.

Just short of the half hour, three missed tackles presented Jack Keating with a gift of a try for Greystones and before Derry could work out what had gone wrong, Greystones were in for another but this time the move was brilliant.

From the restart the ball was worked through at least seven or eight pairs of hands before Keating gave the final pass for Kealy to finish and convert.

The 22-3 scoreline was harsh on the home side but they finished the half strongly. Burns was almost in with a lovely ‘chip and chase’ that Greystones could only knock behind.

that brought a 5 metre scrum and Derry dominance was obvious as Gtreystones collapsed the set-piece four times before hooker was yellow carded. Twice more, the Scrum was collapsed but with a penalty try beckoning, Derry suddenly switched play left where full-back Jack Beattie raced over for a deserved try and a half-time deficit of 22-8.

Derry needed a big start to the second half but it was Greystones, helped by referee Karol Collins missing a blatant forward pass, who scored when prop Bobby Clancy took a quick tap penalty and dived over from five metres.

Another suspiciously forward pass contributed to Greystones next try on 52 minutes as centre Con Callan danced through and at 36-8 it was now about only a bonus point for Derry. 

A superb run from Ian Bratton set up a try for Craig Huey on 55 minutes but Greystones responded when Barry Fitzpatrick charged down Jason Bloomfield’s clearing kick to score. The visitors best try of the day arrived when out-half Killian Marmion chipped ahead beautifully for winger Geoghegan to finish.

Still, Derry went forward and were rewarded again when Adam Bratton burst through to grab his side’s third try with three minutes left that opened the possibility of a scoring bonus. 

The home side poured forward but with time running out, Greystones’ intercepted deep inside their own half with full-back Kealy getting up to go over in the corner despite appearing to be put into touch before he grounded the ball. 

It summed up Derry’s day. Their display didn’t deserve such a heavy defeat but this season will be defined in other games, starting  with the trip to Thomond in a fortnight’s time.

City of Derry: Ross Harkin, Cathal Cregan, Sam Duffy, Adam Bratton, Chris Cooper, Joe Dunleavy, Craig Huey, Adam Bratton, Jason Bloomfield, Neil Burns, Tiernan Thornton, Richard Baird, David Graham, Jack Beattie. (Replacements) Stephen Duffy, Gerard Doherty, Chris Lamberton, Mathew Kilgore, Matthew Cameron.

Greystones: Bobby Clancy, Mike Lea, Conor Pearse, John Campbell, Eoin Marmion, Cormac O’Donoghue, Alan Dempsey, Dan Mannion, Andy Roberts, Killian Marmion, Padriag Geoghegan, Barry Lynn, Con Callan, Jack Keating Andrew Kealy.

Referee: Karol Collins (IRFU)

City of Derry centre Richard Baird battles to hold off these Greystones tackles. DER1117-139KM

City of Derry centre Richard Baird battles to hold off these Greystones tackles. DER1117-139KM