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Spirited Clogher earn much needed win

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Spirited Clogher earn much needed win thumbnailClogher Valley's Toby McAlphine spreads the ball out to the winger (Photo be Stephen Hetherington).

CLOGHER Valley got the result they needed on Saturday but it was hard fought and required a tremendous defensive campaign in the second period to see them home against a very good Carrick side.

Clogher Valley XV ...20
Carrick XV ...13

The Valley lost Treanor early doors to a season ending injury which was a major blow to the home side's plans. Cullen also departed the action and Clogher faced a major re-shuffle early in the game. Meanwhile as the Valley regrouped Carrick took the lead with a penalty on the eleventh minute mark.

Gradually Clogher became more and more competitive and would go on to dominate for the remainder of the first period. Sharkey grabbed his customary try from the back of a great maul although he had much to do before touching down. The difficult conversion was missed but Clogher had their noses ahead for the first time.

The game ebbed and flowed for a while before two of the Valley 'young guns' put their mark on proceedings. A hopeful kick ahead was gathered by McAlpine and as he was tackled he showed superb deft of hand to off-load to fullback Wilson who crossed for the Valley second try. It went unconverted but at 10 3 at the break Clogher were where they needed to be.

If Clogher edged the first period Carrick had the best of proceedings in the second. Indeed it took a great defensive effort to hold them out. Fullback Wilson, not for the first time in the game or the first time this season made telling tackles when tries seemed on the cards.

Although the plaudits must go to the back row trio of Wilson, Trenier and Mills who tackled at a different level, great hits were put in by Sharkey and McKenna, all allowing Clogher to hold on.

A decisive break by Donaldson relieved the pressure but Carrick soon returned to the Clogher back yard. A penalty on the 63rd minute reduced the arrears to three points and two minutes later they made a major breakthrough.

A kick ahead, a fortuitous bounce and their winger gathered and crossed for their only try. It was converted and it was the Valley who were now three in arrears.

This roused the side and urged on by the large crowd the Valley had a good final ten. Ryan Wilson was just held up as he led from the front but a subsequent penalty saw Trotter level the score. As the clock inched towards the eighty and a draw seemingly on the cards Trotter struck a great penalty deep into Carrick territory. The Valley were now on familiar ground.

What followed was an accurate arrow, which Sharkey took and engineered a forward maul before being brought down illegally. The penalty was awarded but out of the chaos emerged prop forward Moore, who swotted defenders aside to crash over for possibly a season defining try. Trotter converted and upon the restart the game was blown up.

This was a result that came from the heart and the same spirit and tenacity will be needed again this week as Clogher go to neighbours Enniskillen.

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