I took the opportunity to catch up with the delayed semi final of the Club U18 Shield on Saturday morning when Malone entertained Instonians on Pitch 2 at Gibson Park on Saturday morning.
We had tried to cover these leagues throughout the season but the games were subject to quite a few late cancellations throughout the season. It’s a pity, because this was a cracking game. With a quick turnaround on matches at Gibson Park the Malone team were fairly sharpish off the pitch so I didn’t get their scorers names after the game – feel free to send them in.
The first quarter was fairly even with Instonians probably enjoying the better of territory and possession but Malone coped reasonably comfortably in defence and looked dangerous on the break as both outhalfs tried to impose their game plans.
Instonians got their breakthrough mid way through the second quarter after a period of pressure in the Malone 22. Under pressure, a Malone player placed the ball over the try line as the teams competed for the ball and an alert James Pepper scrambled through to touch it down to give Instonians a 5 – 0 lead.
Malone replied almost immediately, in fact I was still writing down the details from Instonians’ try. The Malone full back fielded the kick off and raced clear to score in the corner and tie the game 5 – 5 with about 10 minutes to go in the 35 minute half.
In an end to end finale, to the first half, it was the visitors that took a lead into the break with their full back, Ben Grey, going over to give Instonians a 5 – 10 lead as the teams changed ends.
Instonians were able to make their pressure count in the second half which they got off to a flyer with a try close to the posts by Flynn Magee. Out half Matthew Sweetlove added the conversion to move the score along to 5 – 17.
However, Instonians still hadn’t shaken off the Malone resistance and a quick tap and go, from a penalty close to the Instonians line, saw Malone’s No 10 ground the ball amongst a heap of bodies to take the score to 10 – 17.
A brace of tries by the impressive Sweetlove, midway through the second half, positioned the game firmly in Instonians favour and, with Sweetlove adding a conversion, the visitors now led 10 – 29 at the start of the final quarter.
Malone pulled it back to 17 – 29 after a second try from their full back, converted by Malone’s No 8. I thought that was it and started to pack up but there was still time for Instonians Pepper to grab a second score, converted by Sweetlove, with the last play to give a final score of Malone 17 Instonians 36.
Instonians will now face Omagh Academicals in the U18 Shield Final.