DUNGANNONíS U13 side have been crowned European champions.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

DUNGANNONíS U13 side have been crowned European champions. thumbnailThe Dungannon side which won the U13 European Festival pictured with their trophy and coaches.

DUNGANNON'S U13 side have been crowned European champions.

The Stevenson Park lads saw off the challenge of clubs from throughout the UK, Ireland and France to win the U13 European Festival in Terenure, Dublin.

Three teams took part in the competition from France, with five from England, one from Wales, two from Connaught, two from Leinster and three from Ulster.

In the group stages, Dungannon overcame hosts Terenure Warriors, French side Sevres Chaville Rugby (SCR) and Winchester, scoring 101 points in the process and conceding only five.

This put them in top spot in their group and set up a tough fixture against English side Market Harborough, which, although Dungannon triumphed 17-0, it was a bruising and hard fought contest.

Completing the group stages saw them take on two local sides, Armagh and Monaghan, picking up 48-0 and 55-0 wins respectively.

This saw them into the semi-final of the cup against the regional French side, CDR-83, from the Cote D'Azur.

At the halfway point in the semi, the scores were even at 0-0, with the strong, physical French side dominating possession and putting a great deal of pressure on the Dungannon line.

After the break, Dungannon came out with renewed energy and gradually drove their way back into the game, starting to dominate field position and eventually crossed the white wash twice, both tries being successfully converted.

It was indeed an epic battle, but Dungannon emerged victorious.

The French players and coaches alike were gracious in defeat, forming a tunnel as the Dungannon lads left the field of play to the French national anthem.

Only one final game now stood in Dungannon's way before they could be crowned champions.

It was indeed a relief that there was a short rest before taking the centre stage against Galway Corinthians.

A crowd of around 600 lined the field for the final, and from early on Dungannon dominated both possession and territory, with the pack carying the ball hard and dominating the break down.

Dungannon scored tries on either side of half time during a crucial 15 minute period, which saw them into a dominant 12-0 lead.

With teams tiring towards the end of the second half, the lads from Dungannon patiently closed out what was a fairly comprehensive victory.

The boys and Dungannon supporters alike were ecstatic.

The old cliche, 'the forwards win the game and the backs decide by how much' certainly held true throughout the tournament, with an uncompromising performance of 40 tries for and only one against in the eight games they played.

At the closing ceremony, the event organiser suggested that the lads from Dungannon could have graced the fields of New Zealand with the wide and expansive, yet aggressive style of rugby that was on show - quite the compliment.

The coaching staff of Ashley, Richie, Cec, Shaun and Adrian, along with team manager Ken, were also complimented on keeping their troops motivated, yet humble throughout. A special thanks was also extended to Philip for organising the event.

As the crowds dispersed, a tired yet elated group of players boarded the bus back up north along with the winning trophy, and will no doubt remember this fine weekend for many years to come.

Dungannon - Adam Brown, Adam Kelly, Alfie Lewis, Ben Hughes, Ben McFarland, Ben Neill, Brooklyn Fletcher, Cameron Shaw, Cormac Drayne, Flynn Longstaff, Jack Mills, Jacob Clarke, Jacob Kelly, Jaike Callaghan, Jake Burke, James McCammon, Josh McAdam, Josh Stevens, Ryan Kidd, Scott Boyd, Scott Hamilton, Thomas McGuigan.


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