Firsts slip to defeat in final league game

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Coleraine made the long journey to CIYMS in Belfast on Saturday for the last league fixture of the season.

It was a hard fought affair and in the end CI came out tops with a scoreline of 32-15. It rounds up the league with Coleraine lying in sixth place, one point ahead of Ballymoney, and CI firmly in second, with Portadown secure in first place.

Coleraine coach Richard Beggs was disappointed with the result but satisfied with the performance. He said: “It was a disappointing result but it was a really creditable performance.

“Following the form this year, we had several guys making their first appearance of the season for the Firsts. This was an opportunity for them to shine as they were called up for the game.

“At the moment we have 24 senior players injured or unavailable. All the guys today put in great effort and raised themselves to the mark.

“Everyone put in their best performance on the day but, in the end, CI were just too well organised and too strong in their overall game.

“We have only one game left this season and then it will be a chance for players to recover from injury. Now our task is to start looking at next season and how we are going to approach that.

“I have to thank all the players who have contributed so well this season, who have come in with big performances and have really made their mark. I also want to wish all those who suffered injury throughout the season a speedy recovery.”

In Saturday’s match CIYMS started the scoring after a penalty award in the first minute, claiming three points with the boot of fly half O’Hara.

On five minutes CIYMS were penalised for early engagement at the scrum. Coleraine’s Alan Gourley missed kick just inside CIYMS half.

Three minutes later Gourley redeemed himself with a grubber kick just outside CI’s 22. Niall Irwin raced onto the ball and scored in the corner. Gourley converted bringing the score to 3-7.

The next score went to the home side when a catch and drive from CIYMS lineout, following a penalty into the corner, produced a great score in the corner from their scrum half. 10-7

On 18 minutes Coleraine were awarded a penalty in front of posts after CIYMS backs were adjudged offside. Gourley was on target. 10-10

From the next kick off Niall Irwin was adjudged to be off his feet at the ruck giving rise to a penalty and then back chat meant the penalty was moved forward 10m and into kicking range. CIs O’Hara was spot on target. 13-10

Just on 30 minutes a penalty chance for CI, in front of posts, went wide.

Four minutes later CI took full advantage of their chances and scored a soft try. The ball slipped out of the Coleraine scrum, on the line, and when Caithness failed to react the CI scrum half picked up from the ruck and scored. O’Hara converted. 20-10

As the clock showed 40 minutes played, CI scored a try in the corner after their forwards mauled the ball in the Coleraine 22. 27-10

Five minutes later CI caught the ball in the lineout and drove over the line to score. The conversion missed. 32-10

On 51 minutes Coleraine’s Alan Gourley chipped through again for Gareth Cochrane to score in a carbon copy of the first Coleraine try. 32-15

On the hour CIs centre looked certain to score after a good break in midfield but he was brilliantly held up over the line by Gregory Neely and Alex Gourley.

There were no further scores and the home side rounded off their league campaign with a solid victory to secure their league position.

Coleraine now face Armagh Seconds in their postponed Conference League fixture at Rugby Avenue on Saturday. As always, support will be welcomed.