Marshall delighted with bonus point win.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Marshall delighted with bonus point win. thumbnail It takes two Bective Rangers opponents to bring Omagh Accies prop Richard Smyth to ground during their All Ireland League 2C game.

OMAGH went to the top of the table with a convincing 52-17 win over Dublin visitors, Bective Rangers, stalwarts of the AIL since its inception, and a Leinster institution, with eight tries and six conversions in excellent conditions at Thomas Mellon Playing Fields.


"We are delighted with the bonus point win, and obviously going to the top of the table", said a beaming, Phil Marshall, Accies coach, after the game. "It sets us up nicely for the game against Sligo next week. We won't be resting on our laurels, we know there will be long travels and many touch encounters ahead of us, and league positions mean very little this time of year, but bonus point wins are always welcome. I can't really be too critical with eight tries scores and some good rugby played".

"We slipped for about 10 minutes early in the second half, and needed to snap out of it quickly.

We may not have the same luxury against other side, starting against Sligo this weekend", as he warned his young side against complacency.

Two bullocking runs from James Catterson in the same phase gave Omagh the dream start they looked for with the youngster going over in the first five minutes for a try goaled by Scott Elliott.

The hard running No. 8 seemed to have been stopped in his tracks inside the Bective half, but kept pumping the legs, offloaded to the equally hard running Jamie Sproule before Richard Smyth, showing great mobility for a tight head, continued the attack before offloading to Catterson who edged his way over for a brutal score form the 22.

The visitors, on their first visit to Thomas Mellon Playing Fields in the 15 man game, responded , putting a few phases of their own together but were met with stern, well policed and organised defence with debutant, Eoin Murnaghan putting in an early nerve settling tackle to halt his opposite number, Dave Barr, in his tracks.

Bective recycled but were turned over in midfield with the Accies taking full advantage of the turnover. Adam Longwell set up the counter-attack down the blindside, taking the ball deep into the Bective 22. It was recycled quickly and spun left with Neil Brown putting captain, Stewart McCain away on the overlap to touch down and take the lead to 12-0 after the same number of minutes. The conversion was missed.

Omagh looked dangerous every time they attacked with McCain linking with Elliott, who mixed up his play cleverly all afternoon, while Ryan Mitchell, Luke Hanson and Scott Barr were prominent in attack, while the back row, in which Matthew Clyde again showed great defensive work, swarmed round the tackle situation like bees to honey, slowing the ball while poaching a few to set up a backline eager to stretch their legs.

Despite being outweighed up front, the Accies front row again performed extremely well, getting the upper hand as the half went on, with good work form props, Matthew Sproule and Richard Smyth, while the lineout, with accurate arrows from Adam Pollock, was getting plenty of quick first phase possession. Veteran, Mervyn Edgar was strong at the restart, setting up the platform all afternoon in an unheralded but must valuable performance.

The Donnybrook side have struggled so far this season, but their AIL pedigree since its inception with a couple of neat breaks, only to be denied by a fine cover tackle by Clyde, while a try seemed to be on the cards following a slick blindside move involving Brown, Murnaghan and Mitchell only to see touch given.

Omagh were not to be denied tough, and after a lineout, Catterson broke free on midfield before offloading to the supporting Barr. Fresh from picking up the players player of the year award last week, the all-action centre had a bit to do, but nonchalantly gave the old wingers in and out move to opposition fullback Barr before diving over for an important score after 35 minutes, Elliott added the afters to stretch the lead to 19-0.

A great tackle by Hanson soon after saved a certain try, but the Dublin side were not to be denied, when after a series of pick and go's drove deep into Accies territory and centre, Michael O'Neill had enough power to dive over form close in. Andy Thompson added the conversion on the stroke of half time to close the lead to 19-7.

The first score after the break is always important, and for Omagh it sealed the bonus point. The home side had to defend a couple of forays into their territory with hooker, Mike Elliott in particular impressive with pace and power in attack. The same could be applied to home No.8, Catterson, who lifted from a scrum on the Bective 22, went blind and drove over for another fine individual effort. The conversion went wide.

Luke Hanson registered the first of his brace soon after following good Accies pressure and a slick, counter attack. A clever chip through by Elliott was chased up by McCain with former club captain, Andrew Ferguson, making his return from the bench, fielding a cleaning punt downfield. He fed Murnaghan with the debutant quickly moving the point of attack and releasing Elliott. A few jinks later the ball was taken deep into the Bective 22 only for Hanson to take the pop pass and dive over. Elliott goaled the score.

Capping a fine debut, Murnaghan turned provider minutes later when he went on a fine counter-attack, before feeding the supporting Hanson on the half way line, with the Dromore man pinning the ears back and striding over for a well taken score by the two youngsters. Elliott was on song with the kick to stretch the lead to 38-7.

Marshall used his rolling substitutes cleverly during the game, but cleared the bench at the time with 55 minutes played to allow Adam Beattie, Deane Kane, Peter Todd, Phillip Ewing and Ferguson significant game time, with confidence oozing through the side they produced some excellent passages but just couldn't get the score. This allowed Marshall to try new combinations and give meaningful game time to the subs.

The home side relaxed somewhat, allowing the Donnybrook outfit into the game. They put some strong phases of play together with forwards and backs combining in attack to create space for winger, Finbarr Ryan to dive over for a deserved score. The conversion was missed.

His counterpart on the other Bective wing, Martin Smyth, was next on the scoresheet finishing off strong interplay between forwards and backs to touch down, with the conversion wide. Bective then turned the ball over form the scrum, much to the displeasure of the home coaching team.

Marshall was quick to berate his men as the Dublin outfit began to sense a bonus try at least, and mindful of the leads blown last week against Midleton, called in some of the substitutes and let his feelings be known in no uncertain terms.

Omagh responded, quickly upping the ante, and responding immediately taking a ball against the head themselves. They moved the ball left, sucked in some defenders allowing Elliott time to look up. Cleverly seeing the fullback pulled out of position, his measured chip over the top evaded the home defenders, allowing McCain to show good pace and desire to win the race to touch down and snap Omagh out of a temporary lull.

Elliott added the conversion.

Clyde encapsulated the effort and commitment of the side, at least for 70 minutes, with a fine cover tackle outside from a Bective half break, with the coach's verbatim still ringing in their ears,.

The Accies had the final say in the game on the final whistle when replacement prop, Peter Todd was on hand to gather a pop pass and rumble over close in, finishing off another good team try.

Elliott completed the scoring with the conversion and seal a fine 52-17 victory over the famous Bective Rangers club, and register five points to take the Accies to the top of AIL 2C.

Next up for Omagh is a trip to Sligo this Saturday in a top of the table encounter.

Team : Eoin Murnaghan, Neil Brown, Scott Barr, Luke Hanson, Ryan Mitchell, Scott Elliott, Stewart McCain (c), Matthew Sproule, Adam Pollock, Richard Smyth, Mervyn Edgar, Jamie Sproule, Matthew Clyde, Adam Longwell, James Catterson

Subs : Peter Todd, Philip Ewing, Andrew Ferguson, Deane Kane, Adam Beattie


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