Down High Medallion 17- 0 Omagh Academy Medallion
Having suffered the disappointment of an earlier postponent, the Down High boys set off to Co. Tyrone with a bus load of supporters and injured players to face the mighty Omagh Academy. With Sam Rickard blasting out music from a set of speakers, the bus journey seemed shorter than it actually was and spirits were high but they knew that this match was not going to be easy.
Down started the fixture with a strong breeze on their backs. Early nerves were soon settled when 4 minutes after kick off, William Annett received a glorious pass to send him bundling through the Omagh defence for the first score of the game. Paddy Browne converted.
Omagh however did not give up easily and over the following 15 minutes their strong pack mounted several sieges into the Down half. Despite all these attacks the Down defence remained intact and they were eventually able to use the wind to clear their lines.
Around the 20 minute mark, Down High took their turn to assert dominance on their hosts and off a perfectly weighted pass from Paddy Browne, Marcus Graham was able to show his phenomenal speed to outpace the Omagh defence and score Down’s second try.
Again Omagh rallied and off a miss fielded Down kick came charging through to put sustained pressure on the Down High defence. However courageous mauling from the visitors saw Nathan Rogerson rip the ball clear of the Omagh pack and allowed Down High to clear their lines. Down went into half time 12-0 up but were aware that the wind would make it difficult to control territory in the second half.
As the second half got underway Omagh, as expected, played a smart kicking game and piled pressure on the Down defence. However the boys in green held firm and as they repetitively held Omagh out their confidence clearly grew.
Indeed mid-way through the half Down produced one of their best tries of the season so far. It got underway with Claytan Milligan battering his way up the middle of the park. The green pack arrived swiftly to secure ball and accurate passing from scrum half Terry Hutley saw the backs work the ball from one side of the pitch to the other where William Annett touched down his second try of the game.
From this point on Omagh, through their strong pack, continued to chase a score that would reduce the Down lead but the visitors stood strong.
Lewis Canning in the back row put in some fantastic hits and when Omagh ball was turned over Zac Ward displayed some impressive carries.
When the final whistle blew, the Down lads let out an almighty cheer knowing their 17-0 victory had secured their place in the quarter finals of the Medallion Shield. That game will be played away to Methodist College this Saturday at Pirrie Park off the Ravenhill Road. A big Down High support would be both encouraged and appreciated.