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Match Report: Donaghadee 2XV v Academy 2XV - Forster Plate Semi Final - 25.03.2023

Match Report: Donaghadee 2XV v Academy 2XV - Forster Plate Semi Final - 25.03.2023

Mark Poole26 Mar 2023 - 12:40
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Dee 2s Final chance goes begging

Match report by Geoff Ingham

Dee 2s entertained Academy 2s at Donaldson Park on Saturday in the eagerly anticipated semi-final of the Forster Plate competition.

Having defeated Malone 3s in the previous round the Dee were confident they would be able to upset the odds against a strong Academy team. Thankfully the rain stayed away for the duration of the game allowing both teams to run the ball at every opportunity.

Academy got off to the better start and immediately pressed the Dee into their 22. It took only 5 minutes for them to register their first score when they scored in the corner after several phases of play. The difficult conversion was successful to push the score to 7 -0.

Academy doubled their lead ten minutes later with an almost identical try and again the conversion was slotted over by the impressive kicker. At this stage the home crowd were fearing a heavy defeat but the Dee guys were to prove them wrong. For the rest of the half the Dee enjoyed most of the possession and territory as they worked tirelessly searching for a score. The forwards worked hard against the bigger Academy pack with Ryan Butler, Adam McCracken and the evergreen Davy Skipp all making good ground.

Half backs Baillie and McGrath pushed and probed at the Academy defensive line and Karl Yellop made a few of his customary barnstorming runs. Eventually this pressure paid off, on the stroke of half-time, when Dylan Robinson crashed over after several pick and goes from the rest of the pack. McGrath converted to narrow the gap to 14-7.

As the second half began the next score was going to be critical and although the Dee had a couple of chances early on it was Academy who eventually scored to stretch their lead to 21-7. The Dee kept plugging away but were not able to find a breakthrough against a disciplined Academy defence.

For the next 20 minutes much of the play was in the middle of the park with possession evenly shared between the teams. A couple of injuries on the Dee team did not help their cause and several of the more experienced and mature gentlemen perhaps had to play longer than they had anticipated.

The Dee finally ran out of steam in the final few minutes and, with the result no longer in doubt, Academy scored a couple more tries to leave the final score at 35-7.

Disappointing to miss out on the opportunity of a playing in a Final but the Dee should not be too disheartened. The team, with a healthy blend of youth and experience, performed well and their determination and effort could not be questioned.

Next week the 2s welcome near neighbours Ards to Donaldson Park, ko.2.30pm.

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