AT the final whistle Clogher Valley players and supporters were delighted and relieved to be returning home victors in this hugely enthralling contest, with the result in doubt right to the final whistle.
Apart from a 45th minute penalty by Dromore’s kicker Ryan Cobb all the scores came in the final 15 minutes of the match.
Thoughout the first half there was little to choose between these two well matched sides, each demonstrating some enterprising attacking play and equally both operating very resolute defences.
During the half, two penalty attempts on goal were missed by Dromore and Clogher Valley missed one. Just before half time Dromore came closest to scoring a try with Rory Pepper being dispossessed of the ball right on the try line.
The pattern of play of the first half continued into the second with little to choose between these two sides. The referee continued to strictly apply the law and was quick to penalise both sides for any infringements at the breakdown.
This led to the turning point of the game when on the 67th minute, Dromore’s Michael Harshaw was harshly adjudged not to have rolled away in the tackle and was sent to the sin bin. Clogher Valley converted the subsequent penalty to level the scores at 3-3.
With Dromore down to 14 men Clogher Valley started to exert some more pressure and eventually, on the 76th minute, from a quickly tapped penalty, centre P Holme was sent in to score under the posts. With the successful conversion Clogher Valley led 10–3.
Despite being restored to 15 men for the final few minutes of the match Dromore found themselves back on their try line, resolutely defending and forcing a five meter scum. From resulting broken play, Dromore captain and scrum half, Lee Steenson, suddenly broke from his own try line, set off down the left hand touchline, evading two or three would be tacklers, found support on his inside and following some good interchange of passes Graham McCandless crashed over in the right hand corner for the try. The conversion was missed and with less than two minutes left, Clogher Valley lead was down to 10-8.
Instead of settling for a losing bonus point, Dromore from the kick off, attempted to go for the winning score and in the process of running out of their own 22, lost possession and gifted Clogher Valley centre the final score of the game.
Despite this defeat Dromore can be well pleased with their performance against last year’s League and Town’s Cup winners.
Dromore have now played five league matches losing three and winning two. Their next match is at Barban Hill on Saturday 3rd November against Coleraine. K.O. 2.30pm.