Coleraine sufffer a low at the hands of Clogher Valley

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Coleraine made the long journey to Clogher Valley on Saturday but came away without any league points.

In the first half Coleraine enjoyed good possession and were still in the hunt at the break, but when they dropped to 14 men at the start of the second half, Clogher Valley piled on 17 points and secured an unassailable lead. Try as they might, the ‘Cookstown’ sponsored visitors could not claw back the point difference.

Speaking after the match Coleraine coach Richard Beggs said: “We took the game to Clogher Valley, especially in the first half, but in the end their heavier and more experienced pack dominated and that made the difference.

“The extremely wet conditions and the heavy pitch were more suited to Clogher’s style of play and they made the most of that, especially when we went to 14 men.

“We have been struggling with injury and availability this week and we had an all new front row line-up. They worked hard but were up against a very experienced home front row. Clogher Valley is not the place for an untried and inexperienced front row.

“We had some great periods and some great play. Stephen Douglas was immense and lead by example throughout the match.

“This weekend we face Grosvenor in the Junior Cup and we will be hoping for a strong performance. Team selection will depend on injury yet again but we will be looking to field as strong a side as possible.”

Coleraine attacked Clogher Valley from the off and, but for a slip in the wet, Bokkie Carstens seemed sure of a try. The home side came back and claimed the first three points when the Coleraine were penalised for offside.

Two minutes later, after a great break from Conor Simpson, Coleraine were also awarded a penalty. Bokkie Carstens was on target for three points. On 23 minutes Stephen Douglas made a powerful break in the home 22. Clogher were penalised at the ruck but Coleraine were wide with the penalty.

From the restart Stephen Best made a forceful break and again Clogher were penalised at the ruck, but again Coleraine missed out with the kick. With only a few minutes of the half remaining Clogher attacked into the Coleraine 22 and despite some resolute defence from the visitors, the heavier Clogher pack rumbled towards the line. A missed tackle saw Clogher cross the line for a converted try.

The start of the second half dealt Coleraine a blow and the home side capitalised on it. With two minutes gone Bernard Mullan was yellow carded for persistent infringements and Clogher pressed their advantage to claim 17 points in the ensuing ten minutes.

Just on 20 minutes into the half Coleraine’s Douglas made a brilliant break to score but the conversion was off target. Clogher made full use of their stronger and more experienced pack to rumble over the line for a try just short of the final whistle to take the final score to Clogher Valley 32-8 Coleraine.

This week Coleraine entertain Grosvenor in the quarter final of the Junior Cup, Rugby Avenue, 2.30pm.