Sunday’s Well 46 Omagh Academicals 12
The Well’ produced a scintillating seven-try display to the delight of a vocal and vibrant home support against Omagh Academicals. The home crowd have been given plenty of sublime and exciting performances since the New Year, with four wins from four but this one allowed them a bonus of a relaxing final half-hour; against a game Omagh side seeking to play similarly open rugby but they were never allowed get a proper foothold in the game.
With City of Derry and Clonmel both losing; the ‘Well have lifted themselves out of the relegation play-off zone; for now. We face tough trips to both teams; who will be fully up for their encounters. Nothing is won yet but with a three week break – the ‘Well players can take plenty of pride and enjoyment from their recent efforts and look to continue to build and improve for an exciting finale to the campaign.
It was a cold crisp afternoon, with a deceptively strong wind; that caught a few players out on both sides under the high-ball. The ‘Well set out their stall early, looking to play on the front foot and punching some big holes up the centre of the field. An initial penalty allowed Josh Featherstone ease the side into the game with a 3-0 lead.
After a couple of early scrums were set – it was evident this was going to be a fiercely competitive area. Often; people find scrums being somewhat a blight of the game with constant resets after instantaneous lapses. However; credit to both packs and front-rows. Each scrum was ferociously fought with two powerful shoves exerted by each but not willing to give in easy.. In the end the ‘Well just shaded it to establish a strong platform on their put-in and prevent Omagh from exerting the dominance they wanted.
A couple of early scrums allowed the ‘Well pack settle in as they also made strong carries in open-play. Coach Denis Hurley started in the center and made some excellent carries while also directing the play outside with some lovely weighted passes. He managed to set up Will Trevor for a run to the line but just as he was running out of space; Maurice Daly ran a great supporting line to receive the inside pass and get the first try of the game on 7 minutes.
The ‘Well continued to exert pressure with several strong breaks on the field from Daly and both wingers; Trevor and Kelleher. The traditional weapon of the driving maul was also proving dangerous; with some magnificent bursts up field. A couple of times they appeared to be in but just couldn’t get the ball cleanly down.
Facing a major onslaught Omagh stuck in and had a couple of breaks themselves. After only half an hour; an 8-0 lead seemed insufficient after a major dominant period for the ‘Well but eventually they got the needed breakthrough. Excellent carries by Adam Browne and Neville O’Donoghue sucked in the Omagh defence. Then it was the tight players who also showed deft hands and skills to create the space out wide; most notable Nev himself with a lovely outside pass that eventually led to Hurley crashing over; in the unusual Number 5 jersey.
Omagh did respond immediately when Joe Duff blocked down a clearance and regathered the ball to touch-down. Still the ‘Well didn’t let that setback perturb them with Gary Downey and Cormac Kelliher making strong carries to get play close to the Omagh line. Browne; who had an excellent game came agonisingly close but Fabien Loughrey smartly followed up to sneak over the line. Featherstone converted the ‘Well’s third try leaving the half-time score at 20-5.
The ‘Well didn’t let up in the second-half. The power-carrying of Sean Glynn was helping them establish further territorial advantage. After exerting more pressure, a stop in play gave the ‘Well an attacking scrum. After controlling and turning the scrum to open the play out to the stacked open side; Loughrey switched the point of attack to the blind-side. Josh Featherstone cut inside and was stopped just short after a half-break but the pack recycled the ball quick and eventually Shane Desmond crashed over for the bonus point.
Featherstone converted as the ‘Well continued to mix things up with power, pace and inventiveness. After a penalty advantage; Hurley made a magnificent cross-field kick ro Ryan Kelleher for a score.
Omagh were somewhat blown away on the day but did produce a greater counter-attack and in similar style to Kelleher’s score; a cross-field kick yielded a try for Matthew Eccles.
But the ‘Well weren’t letting up; even while wasting a couple of opportunities they still added two more tries through Daly and the ever impressive Captain Conor O’Brien. It was a big turnaround from the last game where Omagh won 43-8; with the ‘Well coming up a single point short on the aggregate score by a single point.Scorers: Sunday’s Well: M Daly (2), D Hurley, F Loughrey, S Desmond, R Kelleher, C O’Brien tries, J Featherstone pen, 4 cons. Omagh Academicals: J Duff, M Eccles tries, K Beattie con.Sunday’s Well: G Downey; W Trevor, M Daly, D Hurley, R Kelleher; J Featherstone, F Loughrey; M Moynihan, A Browne, N O’Donoghue; S Desmond, E O’Connell; C Kelliher, C O’Brien, S Glynn. Replacements: J McHenry, G O’Sullivan, M Kelly, A Lane, L Murphy. Omagh Academicals: N Browne; R Mitchell, S Barr, D Kane, M Eccles; K Beattie, F Lagan; D Braden, M Edgar, S Creane; J Duff, J Sproule; A Longwell (c), J Mitchell, M Clyde. Replacements: G McKinley, E McKeown, J Brolly, T Lagan, S Elliott. Referee: M Scanlan (IRFU)
Sunday’s Well 46 Omagh Academicals 12