Dundalk beat CIYMS Belfast 27-25 to earn a place in the All Ireland Junior Cup final for the first time in the Clubs history.


In a game, almost identical to last week’s encounter, the home side snatched an injury time victory.  With Thomas Campbell available again, injuries and some tactical changes, it was a different look to the Dundalk side that took to the pitch on Saturday last.  Dundalk started well, recovering the ball from the kickoff .  The forwards presented good ball to Thomas Campbell playing at scrum half who made clear Dundalk’s intentions and moved the ball swiftly to the backs.  Johnathan Williams, back in the number 10 shirt, took early charge of the Dundalk possession and used the ball with great effect to gain ground bringing play into the CIYMS 22.  Straying off-side CIYMS gave Dundalk a referees advantage which Thomas Campbell attempted to drop at goal.  The kick was wide but play was brought back and the ensuing penalty was converted by Ultan Murphy putting Dundalk 3-0 ahead in the first five minutes.  Dundalk seemed to settle into their game a lot quicker than in the first semi final. Paul Megan was in the action from the start and along with Lotu Nuku and Mike Bentley were putting in some heavy tackles to stop the Ulstermen.  With Derek Williams replacing an injured Chris Scully in the centre, MJ MC Kevitt had a new partner to work with, and work well they did.  After some good backs play the ball was moved through the hands in the backs to Ultan Murphy on the wing who handed off the CI full pack and score the opening try of the game for Dundalk after 12 minutes.  Converting his own try Murphy gave Dundalk a 10-0 lead.  From the kickoff Dundalk made their way back to the CIYMS 22 and started to put more pressure on the CI line.  Penetrating runs from David Whatley and Johnny Gray gained ground for Dundalk.  On the 5 metre line Thomas Campbell picked and went blind, but failed to find Lotu Nuku on his outside for what could have been another try.  Dundalk managed to retain possession and again Campbell took charge moving the ball wide in the backs again. Paul Megan crashed through CI forwards, laying off to Derek Williams who was tackled short of the line.  Again the ball was recycled and Dundalk continued the attack.  Piling on the pressure and some tremendous back play it looked certain Dundalk could score again.  Derek Williams seized the opportunity on the 24th minute to score a try after some hard work by his brother Jonathan in the outhalf position.  17 nil to Dundalk, but the visitors were still very much in the game and after their experience last week in Belfast, Dundalk knew the opposition were quite a handful. CI fought back and despite some big tackles from James McConnon and Tiernan Gonnelly they found themselves in the Dundalk 22. The CI full back, who had an impressive game last week, started to make his presence known on the Mill Road and after 30 minutes he found his way over the Dundalk line to score a try.  CI missed the conversion leaving the score at 17-5 to Dundalk . Dundalk continued to work hard and tackled well, Derek Williams was gaining good ground for Dundalk and were awarded a penalty for CI handling the ball on the ground.  The kick was missed by Murphy but it had brought play into the CIYMS 22 allowing David Whatley to apply more pressure on the CI pack.  Dundalk were quick to punish any mistakes by the visitors and recovered any unsecured ball.  Dundalk continued to apply pressure and after 35 minutes Derek Williams again scored a well taken try, converted by Ultan Murphy to bring the halftime score to 24-5 to Dundalk .
Dundalk came out for the second half in an assured manor, Jonathon Williams quickly brought play into the CIYMS 22 and after a crunching tackle on the full back from Johnny Grey, Dundalk seemed to be in control. A powerful scrummaging performance gave little away.  The visitors however had other plans and brought their backs more into play and, after 60 minutes, broke loose and their winger found himself with space.  Despite chasing all the way James Shields was unable to catch him and CI scored again. The conversion was missed but from the restart CI returned to the Dundalk 22 and were awarded a penalty as Dundalk strayed offside, converted this time.  The score was 24-18 and CI were starting to get a foothold in the game.  Growing in confidence, CI pounded the Dundalk line.  Dundalk tackled everything that came at them.  John Smith put in some good work but the CI pressure was relentless and eventually they found their way over the line.  Converting the additional 2 points with only minutes left to play CIYMS had taken the lead for the first time in the game and were 25-24 ahead and gaining momentum. Dundalk however upped their game and took play back into the CI 22 ever pressuring the CI line.  Ultan Murphy dropped into the pocket offering a drop goal option to the attack. Campbell fed Murphy the ball but having anticipated the move the CIYMS flankers combined to block down Murphy’s kick and hacked the ball to the half way line. Now well into injury time, the clock and scoreboard were against the home side. Dundalk did however dig deep and fought their way back up the field.  Again David Whatley, Robbie Farrell , Paul Megan gained ground. Deep into injury time, and punching holes in the CI defence, James McConnon was tackled high and the referees whistle signalled a penalty for Dundalk. In, literally, the dying seconds of the game Ultan Murphy, justbdays before his 21st birthday and Christmas looming on the horizon, had the opportunity to put Dundalk back into the lead and win the encounter. This was an immensely huge pressure kick on the young man’s shoulders with a place in the All Ireland Cup Final at stake. He steadied himself and with poise and confidence kicked the ball over the bar bringing the spectators to full voice to bring the score to 27-25 to Dundalk.  CIYMS knocked the ball on from the restart, but there was no time for the scrum the referee’s whistle blew for full time and a jubilant Dundalk had defeated the Belfast side to reach the All Ireland Final.
Sitting on top of the league and a place in the All Ireland Final secured, Dundalk can go into the Christmas break in good spirits knowing that after some tuff league games the All Ireland final awaits on January 31st against Bangor.
Team:  James Shields, Ultan Murphy, Derek Williams, MJ McKevitt, Owen McNally, Jonathan Williams, Thomas Campbell, Johnny Gray, Lotu Nuku, Robbie Farrell, Paul Megan, Mike Bentley, David Whatley, Tiernan Gonnelly, James McConnon.

Subs John Smith, Enda Murphy, Sean Arrowsmith, Ciaran Brannigan, Stephen McGee, Stephen Murphy, Ciaran Lennon.

Comments are closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       © Copyright Dundalk RFC, a valued Global Media Garden - GMGi Client.