Ulster Bank All Ireland League Division 2B
City of Derry 6, Dungannon 51
City of Derry remain rooted to the bottom of All Ireland League Division 2B after a rampant Dungannon ran in nine tries to record a one sided Ulster derby victory at the Craig Thompson Stadium at Judges Road.
Andy Hughes' side were superior in every facet of the game and had their bonus point wrapped up inside the half hour with six tries on the board before half-time. Visiting number eight Jonah Mau'u was superb, helping himself to two tries but it was all too easy for the Stevenson Park men whose greater physicality was too much for a Derry side not lacking in pride or passion but well out of their depth in terms of ability.
Relegation is now a real possibility for Trevor Will's team. Anything other than the drop to Division 2C will be a bonus but if Derry are to be playing in this division in 12 months time, they need a major influx of personnel and that is unlikely.
Indeed, the loss of more key players is on the horizon. New Zealand scrum half Tyrler Rogers Holden had already indicated his intention to return home with next week's reverse fixture at Stevenson Park expected to be his last appearance for Derry but a first half broken nose looks to have brought his time in Ireland to a premature end.
His loss is a huge blow to will as one of the few bright sparks this season for Derry. Another, Neil Burns, could also be leaving shortly and bereft of those two playmakers, it is difficult to see where Derry will hurt teams.
Dungannon look to be going the opposite direction. Twelve months ago, they were struggling but have turned things around and with Derry to come at home next week, Hughes has plenty of reasons for optimism as they continue to climb the table.
While the standard of opposition has to be taken into consideration, it shouldn't detract from a sparkling display of running rugby from Dungannon whose off-loading was a joy to behold at times.
But put simply, they were far too good for Derry. No tactical masterplan; no individual masterclass - simply one team batter than the other.
From the kick-off, the signs were ominous for Derry as Dungannon right wing Matt Montgomery danced through four non-existent tackles and fed Seamus Mallon who was stopped just short of the line. That was seconds in and the desperate defence needed to keep the visitors out cost Derry Adam Bratton and early yellow card but it was only a temporary stay of execution.
Two minutes later that man Mau'u burst over from the base of the scrum with Chris Swash converting for 7-0. Dungannon were off and running.
To their credit, Derry responded with a period of pressure that yielded two Neil Burns penalties to bring it back to 6-7 but that would be as good as it got for the home side.
Montgomery grabbed the visitors second try on 17 minutes after a lovely miss pass put him through a huge hole in the home defence and it signalled the opening of the flood gates as Derry lost Rogers-Holden and Paddy Blenerhassett to injury.
Further tries from prop Glen Sinnamon, Mau'u again, Montgomery and Seamus Mallon had Dungannon 34-6 up at the interval and it could have been more had Swash had his kicking boots on from the conversions.
The second half was only a matter of how many Dungannon would win by. Derry improved considerably and their drive and determination was to be admired but this was a team playing at a standard above many of the players in the side.
They deserved at least a consolation for the spirit they played with but sadly spirit isn't enough and further Dungannon tries from James McMahon, Stephen Todd and Mallon only confirmed the visitor's superiority.
On this form, Dungannon can have a say in the promotion places. They have probably left it too late for a push themselves but few teams will fancy facing them.
Derry, on the other hand, looked set for a long second half of the season with relegation now a probability rather than a possibility.
City of Derry: Barry Lafferty, Ross Harkin, Sam Duffy, Rodney Hill, Gerard Doherty, Adam Bratton, Craig Huey, Stephen Corr, Tyler Rogers-Holden, Neil Burns, Callum O'Hagan, Gary Boyle, Paddy Blenerhassett, Jack Beattie, Thomas Cole. (Replacements)
Dungannon RFC: Glen Sinnamon, Malcolm Allister, Sean O'Hagan, Stephen Todd, Peter Doran, James McMahon, David Leyburn, Jonah Mau'u, Ben Matchett, Chris Swash, Mervyn Brown, Paul Armstrong, Seamus Mallon, Matthew Montgomery, Andrew McGregor. (Replacements) Jamie McNeill, Rodney Bennett, John Joe O'Kane, Mark Riddell, Jack Ravey.
Referee: Jonathan Park (IRFU)