COLERAINE bowed out of the All-Ireland Junior Cup on Saturday after a mighty tussle with Monivea.
The Bannsiders made the long journey to Galway to meet the Connaught Junior League champions and battle for a place in the final. After a hard fought contest Coleraine lost out 13-3 and Monivea move on to meet Tullamore in the final.
Speaking after the match coach Richard Kernohan summed it all up.
He said: “It was very disappointing to lose out to Monivea but the boys left nothing on the pitch. It was muddy and hard going but we kept pressuring right to the end.
“They were a big strong team and dealt more effectively with the conditions, which didn’t suit our style of play. They won on the day and now we wish them well in the final.
“For us, we were glad to go so well in the cup and to put in another strong performance. Now we will concentrate on the league and look to improve on our position.
“This weekend we travel to Academy and we will be looking for another big performance and some more valuable points.”
The game itself was played in cold, wet conditions and the players had to contend with very muddy conditions underfoot. From the off Monivea attacked and within minutes had their first points.
A strong attack saw the home side punch through the Coleraine defence, creating a clever overlap and Gerard Divilly dived over the line in the corner. Ger O’Connor converted to create a 7-0 lead.
The pressure continued and when Monivea intercepted a weak Coleraine pass they were almost in for another try, only denied by a great cover tackle from Nial Irwin.
With 18 minutes on the clock Monivea claimed three points from a penalty awarded as they again pressed home an attack.
Having been under pressure Coleraine turned the tables and brought the game to the home side. The defence yielded a penalty which David Andrews slotted between the posts for three points.
Four minutes later Monivea were again penalised and one of their pack was sin-binned. Andrews kicked from the 22 but the ball drifted just wide.
Coleraine continued in attacking mode, getting tantalisingly close, but on each occasion they came close to the line, possession was lost and Monivea cleared the ball. As the first half drew to a close Monivea attacked the Coleraine lines but a resolute defence from the visitors kept them out. Eventually a penalty was awarded to Monivea but it was of target and the score at the break was 10-3.
At the restart Coleraine took the initiative but with seven minutes gone they conceded a penalty in their own 22, in front of the posts and O’Connor made no mistakes with the kick.
For the rest of the match both sides mounted unsuccessful attacks, Coleraine coming close with a number of determined and prolonged surges only to be rebuffed by the equally determined Monivea defence. As the game drew to a close Coleraine had to produce a massive defence to hold out the Monivea pack.
In the end both sides were exhausted but with the score Monivea 13 Coleraine 3, the home side were elated and move to their second Junior Cup final in two years.
This week Coleraine travel to Academy in search of league points.
In other matches the results were Cooke Seconds 6 Coleraine Seconds 25
Coleraine Thirds 5 Lisburn Thirds 20.
Coleraine First XV: M Hunter, D Ferguson, S Jefferson, R Cochrane, W Hunt, P Bogle, A Neely, S Dickey, P Roxborough, D Andrews, N Irwin, N Hall, S Simpson, T Van Wyk, B Cochrane. Subs (All Used) D Orr, G Jordan, K Caladine, R Gibson, A Stirling.