Deserved win for purposeful Omagh.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Deserved win for purposeful Omagh. thumbnailOmagh Accies skipper Stewart McCain looks for a pass against Seapoint.

OMAGH Accies bounced back from last week's disappointing defeat to Thomand to run out 12-0 winners over Seapoint at Thomas Mellon Playing Fields on Saturday.


Both sides like to play open free-flowing rugby but were disappointed with the wet weather prior to the game and heavy conditions at Conneywarren, and it was Omagh who adapted quicker, playing with purpose and tempo in the early exchanges, no doubt with strong words ringing in their ears all week.

The Co. Tyrone side played down the hill in the first half with a strong winter sun beaming down on a very wet pitch and looked composed early on, putting in some committed tackles throughout the side, and testing the opposition down the blindside with a few neat phases.

Oma ghs' halfbacks stuttered somewhat last week but began in lively fashion, moving the ball away quickly from the point of contact and making quick decisive decisions. The lineout struggled all day denying much primary possession, though the scrum, under significant pressure in the first encounter between the sides, was strong with a strike against the head and a couple of turnovers created.

The Accies used the corners well and with some intent attacking coupled with indiscipline from the visitors, camped in their 22 in the early exchanges and had an early opportunity to open the scoring but missed a straightforward penalty right of the posts.

Undeterred, the Accies kept on the pressure with Stuart Allen, prominent in the pack in his first AIL start, charging down a kick. The resulting possession saw Omagh build and with Scott Elliott involved several times with an initial half break and then the scoring pass, Ryan Mitchell crossed after 20 minutes to take the lead. The conversion was missed.

Seapoint rallied and put in some purposeful phases showing good continuity and handling in difficult conditions, but their efforts came to nothing with the Accies strong in the tackle, hungry to snaffle up ball on the ground, tenacious in their first up tackling, and quick off the mark in defence.

The Dublin side were awarded a penalty as just reward for their attacking intent but pulled their kick wide, though at this stage they had settled, brimming with confidence following a home win against league leaders Sligo the previous week, and looked like they could cause some serious problems for the home defence.

The key moment in the match came after 35 minutes when Omagh were awarded a penalty try from some 35 metres out. Alistair Beckett fielded a punt upfield and set off on the counter attack.

He offloaded to James Catterson who trundled downfield and with the ball shipped out wide at pace and a clear overlap, the Seapoint second row tackled winger, Matty Eccles without the ball and as a score was on the cards, the referee marched under the posts and whistled to indicate the penalty score which allowed Omagh to take a 12-0 lead into the break.

This incident also saw the visitors' second row shown the yellow card.

Strong early cover tackling by the back three prevented the visiting fullback from scoring in a rare Seapoint excursion into Accies territory, and while Omagh dominated the early forward exchanges, they were reduced to seven when Adam Pollock was shown the yellow card for intent when going for an interception.

Elliott did intercept minutes later and pinned the ears back going for the line, but was hauled down a couple of metres out and the opportunity went begging.

Omagh played strong forward dominant rugby for the last 30 minutes, putting severe pressure on the Dublin side, and strangling them up front in a display that showed they could adapt to the situations and slug it out in an arm wrestle between two competitive packs, while intelligently running down the clock.

When Seapoint did have a chance, the Accies defence was strong and forced several turnovers which allowed them to utilise the blindside and stifle the game.

Matthew Clyde did well from No.8, sometimes from the back foot, and was unlucky not to link with Catterson who unluckily fumbled a few metres out and while Omagh did have opportunities that were squandered, they managed to hunt down the ball and keep it in the opposition 22.

One massive rumble from a Catterson lineout take almost resulted in a deserved try, as did a clever chip through by the the returning Stephen MacLaine at fullback. He slipped through a deft chip that just eluded Scott Barr but with relentless tacking and hounding, the Accies forced Seapoint into carrying over and a scrum five metres out.

This opportunity was also lost, but with one way traffic and the clock running out, Omagh were intent of both securing the four points, but also not letting their grip on the game go, and allowing Seapoint an opportunity for a bonus point.

The visitors had one last foray into Accies territory but were held out by stout defending with the referee blowing for full time and a deserved four points for the Conneywarren side.

Team : Alistair Beckett, Matty Eccles, Scott Barr, Luke Hanson, Ryan Mitchell, Scott Elliott, Stewart McCain (c), Peter Todd, Adam Pollock, Richard Smyth, Stuart Allen, Johnny Sproule, James Catterson, Adam Longwell, Matthew Clyde

Subs : Matthew Sproule, Philip Ewing, Richard Harpur, Adam Beattie, Stephen MacLaine


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