Omagh move to third with fine away win.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Omagh move to third with fine away win. thumbnailScott Elliotís late try sealed the points for Omagh Accies, who had staged a great comeback against Thomond reducing a 25-13 half time deficit to win 34-39.

OMAGH jumped up to third place AIL 2C with a fantastic bonus point victory in Thomond, continuing their excellent away form and in doing so maintains their strong start to a tumultuous campaign with extremely unpredictable results.


A superbly entertaining game, but strange in parts, it was the Accies third away success of their AIL season so far and keeps them in a healthy position in the top third of the table.

The versatile Scott Elliott finally sealed the points for the Accies who had staged a great comeback reducing a 25-13 half time deficit to take a 34-32 lead into the dying minutes, when he charged down an attempted Thomond drop goal attempt, kicked through and showing some fine footballing skills, kicked through again, pinned the ears back to win the race for the line to seal the deal.

The points ensure the journey back from Limerick was all that bit shorter.

"I am delighted with the result today," reflected a jubilant Accies coach, Phil Marshall after that frenetic finish. "To come back to win this one and close it out in the way we did was great for the lads.

There are no easy away trips in this league, never mind playing a Munster side in their own back yard and to come away with all five points is superb.

"We have had a challenging week with several players injured or unavailable but all credit to the lads, they gave me everything from one to 20 and thoroughly deserved this one.

We have had a couple of games where we didn't close them out so this one, in the way that it finished, is all the more special.

"Our bench made the difference today with significant contributions from each of them, especially Scotty Elliott and Stephen MacLaine with tries at the end. I am also delighted with the scrum. We worked hard on it during the week and destroyed their pack at times.

"We have tough back to back matches against Malahide over the next two weeks. They are a quality side, they showed that by topping the qualifying group at the end of last season. Unlike the other sides, we have played them recently so will have some inkling as to how they set up, but I am anticipating two very tough encounters," he added.

Omagh took an early lead at Liam Fitzgerald Park courtesy of a try by the impressive Ryan Mitchell, playing his best game of the season, and looking dangerous every time he had the ball in his hands.

Luke Hanson made a fine break from his own half before linking with Mitchell who had the gas to get clear and dive over for a well taken opening try. The conversion was missed.

Thomond showed why they are in second place in the league by hitting back and taking the lead with a converted try of their own before Eoin Murnaghan, settling in to the out-half berth, retook the lead with a well struck penalty.

In a game where the lead see-sawed all afternoon, the Limerick outfit pulled away firstly retaking the lead with a penalty, before notching their second try straight from the kick-off.

This score went unconverted, though they tagged on a seven pointer soon after to extend the lead to 22-8 as they threatened to run away with the game.

A quick tapped penalty by James Catterson led to the Mountjoy man add to his seasons tally and pull a try back for the Accies, though Thomond added a penalty before the half ended to take a 25-13 lead into the break.

Half time 25-13

Marshall rallied his troops at the break and sorted out a few defensive issues, line speed and combinations and stressed that discipline and patience would see his men back in the game if they continued to play smart rugby.

The first try in the second period was going to be decisive and it was to the delight of the Accies camp that the pack, showing new engineroom partnership between the experienced Andrew Ferguson and Mervyn Edgar, and five overall changes from the side that defeated Boyne in the play-off match last year, were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty try.

The Accies eight drove their much larger opponents over their line leading to the referee blowing up and going under the posts. This will have delighted an unheralded front row of Peter Todd, Adam Pollock and the versatile Richard Smyth, with the ever improving Matthew Sproule and Philip Ewing in reserve.

This closed the game to 25-20 with Omagh back in the hunt.

Thomond then added their bonus point try with a breakaway score much against the run of play to re-establish their 12 point lead at 32-20.

Mitchell made another good break and looked to link with Elliott but the move broke down, the impressive Thomond winger gathered and ran half the length of the pitch in a classic sucker punch.

Undeterred by this, the youthful Co.Tyrone side pressed hard themselves refusing to give up the ghost.

The Accies pulled back to within one score when Scott Barr finished off a great move as the Co. Tyrone men threw everything in to attack and with Murnaghan converting to close the score to 32-27, there was all to play for at a vocal Liam Fitzgerald Park, with the travelling support making themselves heard, as an enthralling contest entered its final five minutes.

This score guaranteed Omagh a bonus point for four tries but Marshall's charges were not content with a solitary point as they showed their fitness and character by throwing everything at their more experienced opponents.

Eventually the pressure told with Stephen MacLaine cutting through the defence to cross the whitewash under the posts on his return to the first team squad to tie the game and with Elliott adding the conversion, Omagh took the lead for the first time in 70 minutes of play.

Relegated last year, Thomond are intent on getting straight back to division 2B and showed all their nous and guild by moving up the pitch as they searched for the opportunity to steal a penalty or drop goal as the game entered its final moments.

They were studious in the build-up play gaining the yards required and establishing a position for a pop at goal.

Thomond then went for the potentially game winning drop goal only for that man Elliott to charge out of defence and block the effort, clean the loose ball and scuttle down the pitch with a trail of Thomond defenders in close proximity.

The the versatile back had enough in the tank to win the race and seal a fantastic victory for his side and a full house of five points in Limerick.

His conversion fell agonisingly short from out wide.

Team: Alistair Beckett, Scott Barr, Yonga Taleni, Luke Hanson, Ryan Mitchell, Eoin Murnaghan, Stewart McCain (c), Peter Todd, Adam Pollock, Richard Smyth, Mervyn Edgar, Andrew Ferguson, James Catterson, Adam Longwell, Matthew Clyde

Subs: Matthew Sproule, Philip Ewing, Dean Porter, Scott Elliott, Stephen MacLaine


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