Quiet confidence pays off for Newry

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A BUOYANT Newry side ran on to the pitch for their match-up with Holywood RFC with a quiet air of confidence which has been building over the last nine games, where they have claimed seven wins and a draw, with one slip up to a strong PSNI side.

The muddy and damp conditions may not have been best suited to Newry's preferred style of open, running rugby but it didn't stop them from trying to stamp their authority on the game in the early exchanges, twice venturing deep in to Holywood's half only to come away empty-handed.

Hard running in open play by Cathal McNally, Jonny Graham and Steven Fearon seemed like it would result in a try but it just wasn't to be.

The game simmered down to a bit of an arm wrestle with the two teams kicking for territory and both sets of forwards testing each other's resolve, before Newry took a slim lead through a Tommy McDonald penalty.

Spurred on by this score and Holywood's repeated lack of discipline, Newry piled on the pressure with the intention of going in to the half with the lead. They huffed and puffed only for Holywood to turn the tables and barrel over the line from the back of a scrum just before the break, taking a 5-3 lead in to the sheds.

The second half wasn't a score-fest by any means but was dominated by Newry in almost every facet of game, which saw a few tone-setting hits by centres Gerard Murtagh and Dwayne Carlisle, who twice upended opposing forwards like they were nothing.

Newry's backs continued to look dangerous despite the tricky conditions underfoot, with one slick move leading to Tommy McDonald chipping the ball over the fullback to chase it in to the corner to dot down for the try making it 8-5 to Newry.

Continued pressure all over the park and some smart interchanges bringing Taff Brown and Paul Haughey in to the fore led to the deciding score, Dan Armstrong scooped a loose ball and ran almost 90 metres only to be dragged down by a desperate cover tackle.

Taff Brown then played a ball to the charging Haughey who carried three Holywood men over the line with him to seal the win for Newry.

Up next is a trip to Cavan where Newry will hope to continue this run of form with one eye always on the must-win Gordon West Cup game in February.


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