Match report by Geoff Ingham
Donaghadee welcomed Limavady to Donaldson Park on Saturday for a Championship 2 League encounter. The Dee suffered a heavy defeat in the corresponding fixture in Limavady so were hoping for a better performance at home.
As usual there were several changes to the Dee line up due to unavailability. With a plethora of prop forwards currently injured, player coach Ray Dobson had to gamble with his own fitness to start and Sam Moore stepped in to join him in the front row.
A late change saw Matthew Stockton moving from centre to the back row. Matthew Mingout took up the scrum half position for the first time this season, allowing Robbie Ingham to move to his more natural wing position. Pete Callaghan and Sam Hyland formed the centre partnership.
Limavady kicked off in the bright but cold conditions and Dee immediately created an opportunity to score but unfortunately the ball was lost over the line. Limavady then went 5-0 up after 5 minutes when their winger scored in the corner. Shortly after, Dee’s injury jinx struck again when Mingout had to leave the field with a nasty shoulder injury. Ethan O’Byrne came on to the wing with Ingham moving to scrum half.
Five minutes later O’Byrne was off again when he was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. Limavady could not profit from this numerical advantage due to excellent defence from the Dee, including a great turnover just short of their own line after numerous phases of play. During this spell Dee showed glimpses of what they are capable of and runs by Stockton and Ingham tested the Limavady defence.
As the half came to a close Dee managed to steal the ball inside their own 22 and the ball was moved quickly to Ben Siri on the wing. Siri pinned his ears back and showed Limavady a clean pair of heels as he sprinted to the line to score an excellent try. Stockton converted to give the Dee a 7-5 half time lead.
Limavady started the second half strongly and took the lead in the 48th minute when they were awarded a penalty five meters from the Dee line and their prop crashed over to score. The kick was successful to make the score 12-7. Four minutes later they increased their lead when their centre burst through the Dee’s defence and sent his scrum half under the posts for another converted score. The Dee could easily have dropped their heads at this stage but, as has been the case all season, this young team kept plugging away and began to see more of the ball. They worked themselves into promising positions on several occasions but were not able to convert any of these opportunities into points.
As the match entered the final five minutes the visitors scored their bonus point try when their impressive number eight forced his way over the line. With the final play of the match Limavady managed another try to leave the final score a rather flattering 31-7 to the visitors.
A familiar outcome for the Dee this season but those watching this team every week can see the continuous improvement and the amount of effort that this young team is putting in. Paul Hamilton, Pete Callaghan and Robbie Ingham were all contenders for man of the match but this week the award goes to Sam Moore who coped admirably in the scrums and put in a huge defensive shift.
Next week the Dee travel to Monaghan for a rearranged league game before they play Virginia at home on the 27th January.