Towns Cup win sets up big month ahead for Clogher Valley

Thursday, 2 March 2017

 CLOGHER Valley advanced to the semi final of the Towns Cup with a comfortable 15-5 victory over Bangor seconds at a rainy Upritchard Park.

Bangor 2nd XV ...5
Clogher Valley XV...15

A determined start saw Valley in control. Only resolute defending from the home team and some over-ambitious play from the Valley prevented an early score.  With Valley dominating possession and territory it did however take time for the first Valley score to come. After continued pressure in the Bangor 22 and kick through saw Sharkey collect to go over in the corner after 10 minutes.  The difficult conversion was missed but a 5-0 lead seemed the least Valley deserved.

The Valley dander seemed to be up and they again took play deep into the Bangor half.  With options seemingly aplenty Valley somehow contrived to have the ball turned over by the home side.  The ensuing confusion saw Bangor winger Charles latch onto the ball and run much of the pitch to score an equalising try.  With the conversion missed it was 5-5 after 17 minutes and very much game on.

Again Valley came and again Bangor tackled. The rest of the first half saw Valley continuing to own the ball without success.  Prop Moore departed on 57 minutes with a leg injury.  Great broken field running from Wilson at full back and powerful carries by Treanor and McKenna kept the Bangor defence honest. A series of breaks and rumbles led to the ball being dropped by Valley three yards from the Bangor line.

Half-time came and, with Valley having the vast majority of territory and possession the score was a barely believable 5-5.

With some direct coaching advice at half-time ringing in the ears of the Valley team, the visitors began the second half at a hectic pace. Sharkey made a superb break to bring play into the Bangor half. A great barnstorming break by Falconer was arrested by an illegal high tackle on 45 minutes and the Bangor player was yellow-carded.

The ensuing play saw a Valley scrum push the Bangor eight back and Ryan Wilson did well to score after twisting and turning through Bangor defenders to touch down. The tricky conversion was missed to leave it 10-5 to Valley after 47 minutes.

The rest of the half saw a similar pattern with Valley again having the most of the ball and possession.  A great kick through from Ellis on 51 minutes saw Valley put further pressure on the home team in their own 22. A further yellow card against Bangor on 57 saw Valley pummell the home team's line and a further try seemed obvious, only for a Valley player to lose the ball over the Bangor tryline. 

The respite was to be temporary as yet another scrum in the Bangor 22 saw the Valley pack demolish the home team and Ryan Wilson was on hand to dot down. Another conversion was missed to leave the score at 15-5 to Valley after 61 minutes.

And despite further Valley pressure, 15-5 to the visitors was how it was at full time.  In a game where most of the match seemed to be in the Bangor 22, where the home defence was generally excellent, and where the visitors should have scored at least a further two tries, Valley will use the result as a springboard for the remainder of the season.

They enter a season-defining period over the next four weeks - with their final three Championship 1 matches over the next three Saturdays and the Towns Cup semi on March 25.  


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