06 Oct Match Report: CI call on ‘SuperMatt’ for Valley victory
The sun was splitting the Belmont sky for the second week in a row, as both teams lined up for a minutes silence in memory of former CI president George Clemitson.
The home side were missing a number of regulars and were forced to call on experienced players from further down the club.
CI started slowly giving away two easy penalties in front of the posts to hand Clogher a 6-0 lead.
CI’s first foray into Clogher territory yielded a similar penalty for outhalf Matt McGuigan to close the gap.
After 12mins, an attacking CI scrum saw the returning Wilson feed flanker Armstrong who ducked under a couple of Clogher tackles to score under the posts. The conversion was made to give CI a 10-6 lead.
In a bizarre incident, a Clogher scrum was wheeled almost 180 degrees allowing the number 8 to pick up unopposed by CI defenders and break free from the 22 before offloading to the winger who restored an 11-10 lead for the visiting team.
The teams then exchanged penalties and credit must be given to the quick offloading game of the Clogher forwards who exploited CI’s failure to match defensive numbers round the fringes.
Clogher pushed CI back into the 22 before Ross Hackney was yellow-carded for a tackle off the ball. Clogher converted the penalty for a deserved 17-13 halftime lead.
Halftime: CIYMS 13 – 17 Clogher Valley
The second half started the way the first had ended with the Clogher forwards taking advantage of the extra man to exert pressure on the home side. McGuigan did add a penalty straight from the kick off though to close the gap to a single point.
At a single 5m scrum, the referee ruled that a CI infringement was the only thing that stopped Clogher scoring and awarded a penalty try. This was converted to extend the lead to 24-16, which at eight points, was appearing ominous for CI.
CI started a comeback through better ball retention and kicking out of hand to pen Clogher back into their own half. Clogher would later rue the number of penalties that occurred every time CI ventured forward.
On each occasion McGuigan stepped up to chip away at the Clogher lead in impressive fashion, until a one point CI lead was restored.
A good CI drive off an attacking lineout was stopped illegally near the Clogher line and saw one of their forwards sent to the sinbin. CI converted to extend their lead before more pressure in the 22 saw the ball fed to centre McVitty, who hit a sweet drop goal on the run to further extend CI’s margin.
The Clogher back three struggled during this period to cope with the thunderous kicks of the CI backline combined with a strong kick chase.
Poor clearance kicks meant the CI enjoyed a territory advantage for the last 20mins and while Clogher remained dangerous they were too far out to do damage. The game rounded out with CI victors and the score 31-24.
Fulltime: CIYMS 31 – 24 Clogher Valley
A good win from an average CI performance which owed much to the boot of man of the match McGuigan. (23 points)
Clogher will feel hard done by in a game they dominated for long periods but will acknowledge that frequent penalties also served to halt any structured phases that CI attempted.
CI have a free week next weekend and much work to do to deliver the performances they are capable of.