Dungannon were robbed of a share of the spoils by a penalty in the last minute at Stevenson Park on Saturday. Greystones may be unbeaten in the league but were pushed all the way by a great Dungannon performance that saw the hosts go 17 points clear in the first half hour. Stones clawed their way back and just when it was looking like a draw along came the penalty to break Gannon hearts. As a result, the hosts remain second from bottom and the visitors remain top due to the postponement of the Barnhall v Wanderers game following the sudden passing of the latter’s president.
Dungannon, with wind advantage attacked from the first whistle and the hosts, forward and back put pressure on the Stones line. On the third minute it paid off when Lucca Avelli fired over a penalty to start the scoreboard ticking. The momentum was maintained and Gannon went further ahead when Jonah Mau’u dived over after some sterling forward play. Avelli popped over the conversion to make it 10-0 on 10 minutes. Dungannon continued to dominate the opening quarter with the two Johns, Russell and Buckley keeping the ball moving at every opportunity. A ‘knock on’ spoiled one chance before the visitors finally managed a trip to the Dungannon half. A penalty to the corner was defended and when Russell launched a superb downfield kick it was time for try of the match. Caolan Mulgrew raced forward and timed his run well as 2 defenders spilled possession. The Dungannon winger backed himself before running clear to the left hand corner. An excellent conversion from Avelli left the hosts 17 points clear. However, there were signs of Stones settling and when they worked their way close to the Dungannon line, flanker, Ian Cullinane dived over for Andrew Kealy to convert on 38 minutes. The score stood 17-7 at the break.
Greystones wasted no time in using the wind in the second half with Kealy firing over a penalty two minutes in. Back came Gannon and following a kick through Matthew Montgomery went close on the right wing. Minutes later Mulgrew cut inside at a set scrum and the hosts made ground. Alas, they suffered a setback when the influential Avelli was forced off with an injured hand. Mau’u then moved to the centre with Stephen Todd taking his place in
the back row. Stones were in the Dungannon half when good leadership by Glen Sinnamon at scrum time brought a penalty. Going into the final quarter Dungannon still led 17-10 with the Leinster men trying hard to get on terms. A notable tackle by Guilhem Lopez typified the home defence before an onslaught on the Dungannon line yielded a try for scrum-half, Andrew Roberts on the 75th minute. Greystones’ nerves were further eased when Kealy converted with an excellent kick. That brought the sides level before that unfortunate late penalty per Kealing. All in all, a disappointing result when a draw would have been fairer but Andy Hughes’ young charges did get a well deserved bonus point. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Avelli as Dungannon prepare for a trip to Rainey OB.
Dungannon Team:- C McGeough, M Montgomery, A McPhillips, L Avelli, C Mulgrew, J Buckley, J Russell, G Sinnamon, J McNeill, S O’Hagan, A Gormley, G Lopez, D Leyburn, M Riddell, J Mau’u, A McGregor, A Milligan, S Todd, D Mikolajczyk, J Gamble.
Greystones:- J Glynn, F Kenny, R O’Loughlin, A Kealy, P Geoghegan, K Marmion, A Roberts, V Zelenka, J Penders, C Pearse, C Simmonds, J Campbell, E Marmion, I Cullinane, R O’Sullivan, M Douglas, M Doyle, B Pentland, A Dempsey, A Lynch.
Referee:- J Peake