Brian Steenson’s 3rd XV deserved their win at Coleraine. With the Mikolajczyk brothers working well up front, skipper Rodgers and new scrum half Cullen Dexter operating smoothly and Aaron Nelson taking his opportunities the 3s came away with maximum points.
Dungannon started well; playing without the advantage of a strong diagonal wind they dominated possession and field position. New cap Dexter was hauled down short as was Arek Milkolajczyk before Jonathan Clarke was forced out. Eventually on thirty minutes the Coleraine defence was breached when the crafty Matthew Rodgers dashed over from a quickly taken five metre penalty.
0 – 5
Gannon kept on the offensive but a handling error allowed a breakaway from Coleraine that resulted in them butchering a try scoring opportunity. Full back Aaron Nelson was supporting his three quarters with some timely interventions, both centres, Abernethy and Irwin, were running strongly. On the stroke of halftime Kyle Gallagher took a lovely line to collect a short pass and burst through the home defence to score on the left.
0 – 10
Coleraine started the second half with intent and pinned Gannon in their own half until a handling mistake was collected by Kyle Gallagher who raced through the Coleraine defence and ran for fully sixty metres until he was captured just inside the Coleraine twenty-two. Good work from Daniel Mikolajczyk, McAllister, Mullen, Anderson and Matthew Irwin kept Dungannon on the offensive until Aaron Nelson stepped inside a defender on the left to go over after fifty minutes. Matthew Rodgers converted.
0 – 17
After some more defending Dungannon eventually gained some semblance of control of the football and from a good passing movement Aaron Nelson rounded the Coleraine defence on the right to score his second try on seventy-three minutes. Matthew Rodgers converted.
0 – 24
Coleraine had a final assault but Dungannon spiritedly defended their line until Referee Monaghan blew the final whistle.
A good show by a young team with many players still learning the game. Coach Steenson and his assistant John Gamble were very pleased. Brian said post match, “Although we lost our first two games I was impressed by the players’ attitude and that paid dividends today especially with the return of a couple of experienced players to give the team more direction. This win and the performance gives us a foundation to build on although there is still a way to go.”
Team: Aaron Nelson. Jack Kennedy, Ryan Abernethy. Matthew Irwin, Jonathan Clarke. Matthew Rodgers, Cullen Dexter. Mark Douglas, Daniel Mikolajczyk, Matthew Stockdale. Arek Mikolajczyk, Cameron Mullan. Kyle Gallagher, Stewart McAllister, Micah Anderson. Joshua Mens, Colm O’Hagan
Referee: Stephen Monaghan