Ulster’s big rugby weekend got off to a disappointing start with Dungannon losing out to Bruff in the All Ireland Cup Final at St Mary’s RFC on Saturday afternoon.
The Dungannon side got off to a slow start allowing Bruff to set the pace up front. Bruff prop David Horan went over early for an unconverted try, and shortly after the Munster side extended their lead with a penalty from out half Tony Cahill, giving Bruff an 8 – 0 lead.
The opening quarter was contested mostly in the Dungannon half with the Tyrone side being limited to a couple of breaks up field. Bruff appeared more eager for the contest up front and their defence was well organised, but Dungannon eventually managed to work their way back into the game with a penalty from Michael Lawton.
Bruff’s Cahill cancelled the score with a penalty of his own taking the score to 11 – 3 but Dungannon finished the half with some style and eventually got their reward when captain Paul Magee crossed the line after determined run. Lawton added the extras and with the score at 11 – 10 it was Dungannon who looked more likely to push on in the second half.
However it was Bruff who found the extra gear at the start of the second half and ten unanswered points at the start of the second half proved the decisive factor in this game. Bruff captain Cathal O’Regan crossed for an early try, converted by, Man of the Match, Cahill and when he slotted over a penalty, shortly after, Dungannon were in trouble with the score reading 21 – 10.
Dungannon rallied and staged a late comeback with Lawton slotting a penalty and when full back Conor Gaston fought his way to the line after being put clear by Jackson, for a converted try, it was anyone’s game with the score reading 21- 18.
Unfortunately for Justin Fitzpatrick’s men it was Bruff who managed to control the closing minutes with Cahill slotting over his fourth penalty of the afternoon to give the Limerick side a deserved 24 -18 win.
BRUFF: Brendan Deady; Tom O’Callaghan, Tom Carroll, Eoin Cahill, John Malone: Tony Cahill, Eoghan Maher; David Horan, Cathal O’Regan (c), Gearoid Ryan, Alfie Laffan, Maurice O’Connell, Alan Bourke, John Shine, Peter Malone. Replacements used: Dermot Murnane for Laffan (63 mins), Ger Collins for Ryan (74).
DUNGANNON: Conor Gaston; Michael Lawton, Paul Magee (c), Glen Telford, Chris Cochrane; Paddy Jackson, Michael Kirkwood; Phil Whyte, Adam Duhig, Glen Sinnamon, Aaron Fry, Michael Rainey, Thomas Anderson, Rowan Halsall, Ali Birch. Replacements used: Callum Threlfall for Rainey (48 mins), Mark Farquhar for Whyte (57), Kieran Campbell for Kirkwood (63), Stuart McKenzie for Fry (74).