OMAGH ACCIES ……..45
OMAGH Accies and Clogher Valley concluded their Kukri Qualifying League One campaigns at the Mellon Playing Fields on Saturday afternoon and it was the hosts that stormed their way to a facile bonus try success against a game but largely experimental Valley.
Injuries and a stag weekend depleted the Valley options and forced their coaching staff to field a new look team with only a handful of experienced campaigners on board.
They acquitted themselves reasonably well throughout the afternoon, but in front of a large crowd and, on home soil, Phil Marshall’s men were intent on ending the season on a high and that they did in style with a convincing seven tries to two victory. Such was Omagh’s performance it is debatable whether a stronger Valley side would have coped much better.
Naturally Marshall was delighted with the performance: “It was a really pleasing end to the season and having Mark Smyth back in the front row following his injury lay off made a massive difference,” he commented.
“We totally destroyed Clogher in the opening half and had the bonus point secured by half time. We played some very good rugby with the backs moving the ball confidently. We dominated the scrum and our line-outs were solid all afternoon and, as I said, it was a very good finish to the campaign.”
Valley started promisingly, but as they were adjusting to the pace and power of a well drilled Omagh side, it was no surprise, when the Accies took the lead with a Stewart McCain try. Scott Elliott converted for a 7-0 lead after nine minutes.
Slowly Valley came more into the match, but they were disrupted by a sequence of penalties against them. From one of these in the 20th minute, Omagh scored a second try when a catch and drive from the resultant line-out breached the attempted cover to present young Mark Brown with the touchdown. Elliott tagged the conversion to underline’s Omagh’s opening quarter supremacy.
Trailing 14-0, Valley, with Mulligan and the influential McSorley winning good ball at the line-out and the pack starting to front up in the scrum, produced some attractive rugby with ball in hand. However, once again the defence was unhinged, when it failed to defend a quick penalty and Omagh scored a third try through Brown that went unconverted to lead 19-0 after 31 minutes.
Omagh continued to turn the screw and on the stroke of half time a slick backline move carved a hole in the Valley defence to seal the bonus point with Neil Maclaine striking for unconverted try as they enjoyed a match-winning 24-0 interval lead.
Valley played up the slope for the second period and while one would have expected their heads to drop they continued to battle. The visiting forwards, and in particular Ronan McAleer and BJ Wilson, were driving strongly as Valley started producing some good phases of rugby.
Several drives earned good territorial platforms but an evident lack of playing time together was to prove costly as Omagh registered two further tries.
The first came on 50 minutes when Neil Maclaine dotted down for a second time and five minutes later Clogher were on the back foot again when Yonga Taleni applied the finish to another sweeping attacking move. Elliott landed both conversions as the Accies eased 38-0 clear.
Valley gradually forced Omagh into a defensive action. A penalty was kicked to touch deep inside the home 22 and from the resulting line-out a trademark Valley catch and drive saw centre Rodney Bennett driven over for a try on the hour mark. The conversion failed but at least Valley were on the score board.
However, from the restart Omagh’s back reasserted their supremacy with a seventh try when the hard-working Mervyn Edgar powered over to present Elliott with a simple conversion.
Valley continued to press and with just seconds left on the clock they registered a consolation try. The Valley pack won the ball well at half way and a well-constructed rolling maul saw them get to the Omagh 22.
The ball was released and Trotter spotting a small gap, chipped over the advancing Omagh defence, gathered the bouncing ball and then as the Omagh defenders converged on him, he pivoted and put scrum half Ellis through the gap to score. Trotter’s conversion left the scoreboard reading 45-12.
LIKE a commanding officer readying his troops for battle, Omagh Accies coach Phil Marshall is demanding that his charges...