Dalriada got their Schools’ Cup campaign off to an effective start with an impressive four try win over Portadown College. Played in very wet and windy conditions both sides dealt with them admirably and played some good rugby.
It was Dalriada that came racing out of the blocks, exerting early pressure they scored a quick try through a great kick through by Timmy Emerson, to be collected by winger Robert Hunter to score in the corner.
Again from the restart the Dalriada forwards kept the pressure on by controlling possession and by some effective driving play. They made progress up the pitch with some strong ball carries from Matthew Christie and Scott Malcomson. Portadown were penalised for an offence at the breakdown and although within kickable range, Dalriada opted to kick for the corner looking for more than just 3 points. Captain Timmy Emerson kicked perfectly to the corner giving Dalriada a line-out 5 metres out. The forwards took clean ball, set the maul and impressively drove over the line with Scott Love touching down. With the conversion added Dalriada were 12-0 up after only 10 minutes.
Dalriada continued to dominate possession and it left Portadown struggling to get into the game, indeed struggling to get out of their half as Dalriada’s strong defence forced them into having to kick regularly to relieve pressure. This handed possession back to Dalriada who again, using their forwards, forced Portadown back into their own half. Good forward possession around the close quarters eventually brought play right up to the
Portadown line. From a 5 metre defensive scrum, Dalriada turned over the Scrum and No. 8 Scott Malcomson picked and drove his way over the line for a try. Timmy Emerson kicked the conversion to leave it 19-0 and that remained the score right up to half time.
The Second half started with Portadown looking to get themselves back into the game and when the Dalriada backs spilled the ball in the midfield a hack through by Portadown sent alarm bells ringing. A good scrambling defence was able to get back and deal with the threat. However it allowed Portadown for the first time in the game exert some pressure on the Dalriada line. Dalriada’s defence held strong for the next 10 minutes. When eventually the pressure was relieved, Portadown’s threat was blunted. To Portadown’s credit they too dealt with the Dalriada threat with some good defence. Both teams tried hard to get out of the defensive stranglehold. As we entered the last quarter, eventually Dalriada’s Michael Finnerty broke free and with some good footwork considering the conditions he linked well with Timmy Emerson who went under the posts to score. He added the conversion to make the score 26-0. With ten minutes to go it allowed the replacements to get involved and to experience Cup rugby. The score did not change and when referee Brian Wilson blew for ‘no side’ Dalriada celebrated a good day’s work.
Overall Dalriada’s defence was immense and it was the foundation for the victory keeping out a Portadown team who did potentially possess the ability to cause an upset. The Dalriada’s line speed and defensive intensity was too much as they kept the Portadown team at bay. Their scrum was turned over regularly and they really did not have an answer to the Dalriada’s driving play off particularly off line out. Conditions dictated that it was always going to be won or lost in the forwards and it was Dalriada’s physicality that shone through making them deserving of the victory.
Man of the match went to No.8 Ryan Malcomson for his overall performance.
Next weekend the Squad are on a tour to Limerick were they will take on Castleroy College and will train at the University of Limerick. The following weekend will see Dalriada play their last 16 game at home to RBAI with a provisional 11 am KO.