Randalstown Rugby Club First XV completed their Qualifying Two campaign with a 15-8 win at Grosvenor on Saturday.
After 10 minutes of sustained pressure in around the Randalstown 22, Grosvenor were awarded a very kickable penalty, fortunately for Randalstown the Grosvenor outhalf pushed the kick well wide of the mark. Despite some resolute defence by the Randalstown back line, they were penalised on 25 minutes for straying offside at a ruck, this time the kick was in front of the posts and the Grosvenor kicker made no mistake.
Quick thinking by scrum half McGoldrick saw him take a quick tap penalty and feed wing forward McLean who drew his man and passed to Conor Murray who stepped inside his winger to score Randalstown’s first points. The conversion by Murray into the wind was just wide.
On the stroke of half time a loose kick by a town back saw the Grosvenor blind side winger launch an attack from just inside the Town half, he was supported by his full back who made good ground into the Town 22 before releasing the other winger who went in at the corner, despite knocking over the corner flag as he was tackled by Conor Murray, the referee deemed that he had got the ball down before being bundled into touch.
The conversion was missed to leave the half time score at 8 – 5 in favour of the home team.
Randalstowns 2nd try came from good work by David Smith of the back of a scrum as he gathered and made 20 yards beating a number of defenders in the process before off loading to his supporting back row.
As always Peter Knowles was there to get on the end of the final pass to run in from 15 yards out to score below the posts. The try was converted by Murray.
With 5 minutes remaining Randalstown were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Daniel McGlade converted.
The result saw Randalstown finish the season in a very solid 4th place on 55 pts, 15 points ahead of Academy who in 5th place.
Randalstown II 17, Dungannon III 7: The seconds entertained a youthful Dungannon side at Neillsbrook and also encountered breezy conditions although having lost the toss they ended up playing with the wind in the first half. There were several enforced changes to the second XV team sheet prior to the game so it was a fine effort on their part.
Overall the game did not make particularly pretty watching but the effort from both sides could not be faulted.
‘Town struck early through Turner as he spotted a gap in the visitor’s defence and raced in close to the posts. O’Kane added the conversion.
From the restart the home side had their tails in the air somewhat and after a good take by Hamilton they were quickly back down the field and eventually a penalty came in a kickable position and O’Kane was equal to the task.
The game was very stop – start as the half went on, dominated it seemed by the sound of the referee’s whistle.
‘Town had chances as Mason and Crawford made good breaks but it was 15 minutes into the second half before they were able to add to their tally as John O’Kane dived over after a considerable period of pressure on the Dungannon line. He converted to stretch the lead to 17-0.
Dungannon battled back and scored a deserved try 15 minutes later after some loose tackling by the home defence.
This was the kick start needed for the home side to try and play some rugby in the final ten minutes of the season. Mulholland came close only to be bundled into touch a mere foot short of the line. ‘Town stayed firmly camped in the visitor’s 22 as the clock ticked down but couldn’t add to their tally as the defence held firm.
The 2nds finished in 7th place in Junior 3 with 3 games remaining unplayed, which realistically could have seen them further up the table in their first year in Junior 3.
They certainly finished the season more strongly than they started and hopefully this form will continue into next year.