Academy progress to Medallion Shield quarter finals

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Academy progress to Medallion Shield quarter finals thumbnailAction from Omagh Academy’s Medallion Shield win over Banbridge Academy.

OMAGH Academy Medallion XV played their fourth round match in the Medallion Shield against Banbridge Academy last Saturday.

Omagh Academy ...21
Banbridge Academy ...10

In perfect conditions at Campsie Playing Fields, Banbridge kicked off and the ball was fielded by Omagh flanker Matthew Hunter who charged up field only to be tackled on the Banbridge 22 metre line.

The Omagh pack won the ruck and the ball was swiftly moved along the backline to winger Jamie Wood who scored in the right hand corner with barely a minute on the clock. Full back Harry Matthews missed the difficult conversion.

Omagh failed to deal with the re-start and Banbridge responded strongly with a series of powerful drives from their big forwards. The Omagh defence held well with Hunter, Matthew Huey, Matthew Kerr, David Braden, Matthew Keys and Lewis Bratton to the fore.

Eventually Omagh won possession and cleared their line. Omagh won a penalty which outhalf Rory Ritchie kicked into the corner. Hooker Matthew Kerr connected with Jack Moore at the ensuing lineout and flanker Niall Alexander powered over the line from a well-rehearsed lineout move to score an unconverted try in the left hand corner.

From the re-start, a series of harsh penalties against a committed Omagh defence led to Alexander being yellow carded for five minutes. With Omagh a man down, Banbridge used their numerical advantage to drive over from close range for an unconverted try. Banbridge were unable to add to their points tally during the last 15 minutes of the first half with Moore dominating the lineout and Omagh having the edge in the scrum.

Omagh started the second half strongly with half backs Jack Henry and Ritchie kicking intelligently for position. Banbridge were unable to get out of their own half as Moore continued to dominate the lineout. Defensive pressure on the Banbridge half backs led to Omagh being awarded a penalty on the 22. Matthews calmly slotted the ball between the posts and Omagh nudged into a 13-5 lead.

Omagh continued to control the game and from a perfect box kick by Henry, pressure by winger Matthew Kee on the visiting fullback resulted in Omagh being awarded a lineout deep inside the Banbridge 22. Again Kerr connected with Moore and Alexander scored his second try from a lineout move. The try was unconverted.

Omagh continued to pin the visitors deep inside their own half with a mixture of aggressive defence and tactical kicking.

A series of penalties against the abrasive Omagh pack resulted in a second try for the Co. Down outfit, again from a series of drives by their powerful forwards. From the re-start, Richie kicked long. A superb chase by the Omagh forwards pressurised Banbridge. After several phases of play, Omagh counter-rucked and won turnover ball.

Henry spun it to Ritchie who kicked it in behind the Banbridge defence for Daniel Cairns, Harry Stephenson and Wood to chase. Although Banbridge won the ruck, the pressure was such that the Omagh backline swarmed all over the visiting outhalf whose desperate pass was intercepted by Omagh centre Stephenson. He took off from the 22 but was tackled two metres short of the Banbridge try line. At the breakdown, Banbridge infringed and Matthews stepped up to nail his second penalty to take the score to 21-10 with two minutes to go.

Although Banbridge pressurised Omagh for the last two minutes, and despite the fact that the referee harshly yellow carded Kerr and Huey, the 13 man Omagh defence comfortably soaked up the tired Banbridge forward runners to win 21-10. Man of the match was openside flanker Niall Alexander.

Omagh Academy now progress to the quarter finals of the Medallion Shield and play Portadown College at Campsie Playing Fields on Saturday the February 11.

Omagh Academy: H.Matthews, M.Kee, H.Stephenson, D.Cairns, J.Wood, R.Ritchie, J.Henry, L.Bratton, M.Kerr, D.Braden, M.Keys, M.Huey, M.Hunter, N.Alexander, J.Moore (capt.)

Subs: J.Robson, M.Noble, J.Sterritt, A.Fegan, S.Alderdice, M.Patterson, D.Bell, P.Hanlon, R.Gray, O.Johnston.


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