Cups off to a shaky start for Coleraine

The U17’s game at Lurgan was cancelled when Lurgan failed to put up but the Tiger’s 13s and 15s were in better shape and proved tough challenges for the boys from the Avenue.

U13s Lurgan 41 Coleraine 5

With only a few minutes to warm up before kick off it might have looked as if Coleraine were still on the bus as Lurgan began running in tries almost from the off. Coleraine simply failed to make tackles and contain a Lurgan side that kept its shape throughout. Coleraine edged it in the scrums but whilst some Coleraine players were trying out a few new positions there was no excuse for making very basic errors.

Captian and outhalf Ian McGuinness ran in Coleraine’s only try close to the end to save a total whitewash. Some time on tackle bags for the Coleraine lads is forecast at this week’s training in preparation for a visit from Enniskillen on Saturday.

U15s Lurgan 21 Coleraine 15

In a tetchy and very physical encounter, the Under-15s came away feeling like they really missed an opportunity to pull off an away win in this first round of the cup. Spurred on by a large partisan support the Tigers, managed to steal the game as Coleraine’s discipline and missed conversions let them down.

U19s Ballymoney 15 Coleraine 0

In a still, dry afternoon on the Kilraghts Road it was down to the Under-19s to make up for a disappointing morning in Lurgan and whilst they didn’t come away with the points they definitely won the praises of Head Coach Brian Neeland and some Ballymoney officials. According to Neeland it was full-on commitment from one right through to seventeen and that he couldn’t have asked more from his team.

They were up against a physically bigger Ballymoney but rather than back off, each player literally put their bodies on the line, so much so that Man of the Match went jointly to wing forward Thomas Henry and centre Chrissey Boreland. Coleraine particularly impressed in the lineouts by winning up to 70% of the set piece with no 8 Simon McClean especially impressive. Injuries were inevitable in this tough derby encounter between two passionate rivals and Neeland wanted to especially thank Ballymoney’s Physio Gillian Topping for going the extra mile to tend to the knocks and twists.

Coleraine prop Andy Marks was treated with professional impartiality when he badly twisted his knee and Gillian was able to give advice on follow-up treatment. Whilst the points didn’t come to Rugby Avenue in this first cup round, the young Coleraine squad came away licking a few wounds but with heads high knowing that they proved themselves worthy opponents. With a few injury worries, the side has to prepare for a home visit by Malone next Saturday.

Meanwhile the U17s take on Ballymena in a friendly under the floodlights at Rugby Avenue on Wednesday evening 6th Mar KO 7.30 pm.