Coleraine First XV travelled to Belfast last Saturday for the season closing league fixture of this current campaign against CIYMS.
The depleted Coleraine side faced a full strength CI team and came away the worst of a 41-5 scoreline.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic and by the break Coleraine were still in contention at 10-0, having survived relatively unscathed during a ten-minute sin-bin for Adam Tunney. Both the CI tries came from catch and drives from five-metre line-outs, Coleraine unable to resist the heavier pack in defence.
Five minutes into the second half Coleraine front row Arnie Hogg was injured, the impetus changed, and from that the CI pack was dominant in the set pieces. Even so the Coleraine side did not give up and fought hard throughout the remainder of the game.
It was fitting that the inspirational South African Bokkie Carstens, captain for the day, scored with about ten minutes to go. His marvellous solo effort was scant reward for all the effort from the visitors but as the match drew to a close there were to be no further Coleraine scores.
At the end of the game the exhausted Coleraine men knew they had given 100% but, facing an on form CI side determined to make it into the top four in the league, it was just not enough on the day.
The season is now at an end and Coleraine remain second from bottom in the Kukri Junior Qualifying One League. The club now wait the outcome of the All-Ireland round robin for top teams in the four Junior league, which raises the prospect that the First XV could be dropped to Qualifying Two – a situation that is now in the hands of teams across Ireland.
Meanwhile, Coleraine Thirds had a disappointing visit to Instonians on Saturday, losing out by only one point.
It was a hard worked game with both sides fighting to the end and the scoreline of Instonians Thirds 28-27 Coleraine shows just how close it all was.
The Coleraine scores came from Greg Neely, two for Mark Holmes and one for Chris Warke. Ian Young was on target, collecting a penalty and two conversions.
In the match Robert Andrews was the man to watch as he dominated the line-outs. Jack Dunseath was sparkling in defence but suffered an injured ear making a try-saving tackle in the second half.
Players’ Man of the Match was divided between Mark Holmes and David O’Neill who put in another great performance throughout the game.