Clogher Valley 27
CLOGHER Valley are finally celebrating a first win of the season following Saturday’s impressive 27-6 victory over Connaught representatives Monivea of Galway on Saturday.
Valley made the journey west to the Castlegrounds in Connemara on the back of eight straight league and cup defeats this term, but the mere presence of David Sharkey among the replacements provided a massive injection of confidence.
Granted Valley’s league position isn’t an indication of their performances in recent weeks as they have lost games that they could easily have won but at the weekend, they were not to be denied a much needed success.
The Fivemiletown men have serious pedigree in this competition and a man of the match performance from number eight Ryan Wilson was enough to propel them to victory.
Wilson led by example scoring all four visiting tries as Valley earned a mouth-watering Ulster Quarter final derby against Portadown in two weeks’ time.
The Galway men made a promising start to proceedings with Coleman Maher and Ger O’Connor to the fore, but gradually Valley took control. The industry of Phillip Hopper, Kyle Cobane, Michael Treanor and Nathan Orr alongside Wilson provided a clear advantage in the pack and with Neil Trotter and Fleming Agnew forming an effective pivotal partnership Valley produced some enterprising passages of rugby.
It came as no surprise when a Monivea scrum was turned over and as Valley applied pressure Wilson muscled over for a try that Trotter converted for a 7-0 lead.
Monivea responded positively to that try concession and having missed a penalty they opened their account from the tee courtesy of O’Connor.
Valley continued to dictate the pace of play and a second Wilson try established control on the scoreboard. Trotter obliged with the additional points for a 14-3 half time cushion.
Within minutes of the restart a second O’Connor penalty trimmed the deficit but it was never enough to trouble the Ulster side. Valley’s defence absorbed some strong pressure with Wilson adding two further unconverted tries to seal an important victory for the Cran.
Valley have no game this weekend but they will be looking to get more injured players back on board ahead of that appetising trip to Chambers Park for the All-Ireland Junior Cup Quarter final meeting with the Ports.
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