Header2014 IRFC

1st XV win 45-17 at Dungannon


On Saturday 24 September 2022 Instonians travelled to Stevenson Park to renew acquaintances with Dungannon and were warmly welcomed back there as a senior club again by charismatic Dungannon President Kenny Wright in their superbly refurbished clubhouse. A good crowd had gathered in glorious sunshine to watch the last game before the start of the AIL campaigns for both clubs next Saturday 1 October 2022 with Dungannon at home to Galwegians in 2B and Instonians at home to Tullamore in 2C.

14:30 – Instonians kicked off with 3 players in their match day squad of 20 making their 1st starts of the season in hooker Oli Clarke, a school leaver from RBAI and back row Andrew McGrath who joined from Queens University in the summer and Michael Melville returning from a long injury lay off.

Dungannon were missing several players in their backline but this gave an opportunity for some young talent to show what they could do and they immediately showed their intent to move the ball wide.

In the early stages there was tactical kicking from both 10’s with Andrew McGregor for Dungannon and Ruari O’Farrell for Instonians looking for position.

14:42 – Dungannon 0 – Instonians 0

Instonians used their runners effectively with first Ally Burke and then Shalk Van Der Werwe breaking into open space in midfield around the half way line and then slick hands from Ruari O’Farrell had Dungannon under pressure and they conceded a penalty. Instonians kicked to the Dungannon 22 and used the driving maul off the line out. They showed good composure and patience using runners and moved the ball under the posts and earned another penalty. They declined the easy 3 points on offer for the scrum option. A strong Instonian scrum earned a scrum penalty and they chose another scrum. This time they moved right off the scrum and then moved back left to under the posts but lost the ball in the tackle and the chance was gone.

14:50 – Dungannon 0 – Instonians 5

From a scrum on their 10 metre line on the right hand side of the pitch a really slick transfer of the ball from the backline allowed Ruari O’Farrell to create space and break into open field and then have the awareness to see the overlap and slick hands allowed Jack Elliott to go over in the far left hand corner. Jonathan Milliken hit the post with the conversion.

Instonians were now moving the ball well with Ruari O’Farrell orchestrating well from 10 and still occasionally putting in probing kicks.

14:54 – Dungannon 0 – Instonians 5

Alan Whitten came on to replace Anton Lupari who had gained good ground on a few occasions. Dungannon continued to look to attack and their young backline moved the ball well across the pitch and back again but Instonians defended well.

15:02 – Dungannon 5 – Instonians 5

The Dungannon pack then executed a great driving maul from the Instonian 10 metre line which resulted in a yellow card for Alan Whitten. A kick to the corner set up a platform 10 metres from the line and Dungannon took full advantage with another driving maul to score. The conversion from near the right touchline was missed but we were now all square after half an hour’s play and Instonians had a man in the bin.

15:08 – Dungannon 5 – Instonians 10

Dungannon sensed their opportunity and went on the attack but a great jackal from Max Preston on half way helped relieve the pressure. A kick to the Dungannon 22 and this time it was Instonians turn for a driving maul and then great continuity, keeping the ball alive very well to move the ball right , back left and then right again to stretch the Dungannon cover allowing Shalk Van Der Werwe to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed from the touchline but Instonians will have been happy to retake the lead with a man down.

15:11 – Dungannon 5 – Instonians 17

Dungannon attacked again wanting to try to make use of the man advantage but a crunching tackle by Harry Gallagher stopped them in their tracks. Instonians then counter attacked down the left and a deliberate knock on from Dungannon resulted in their own yellow card. The penalty was kicked for a line out 10 metres from the line and Instonians driving maul resulted in a penalty try just before half time. To make matters worse for Dungannon Alan Whitten then came back on and now Instonians had the man advantage.

Instonians looked to take advantage with time running out in the first half and following slick transfer across the backline a great break from Bevan Prinsloo opened up the Dungannon defence but the ball was lost in the tackle.

The half ended with a great tackle by Instonians left wing Jack Elliott on half way.

HALF TIME – Dungannon 5 – Instonians 17


15:18 – Dungannon 10 – Instonians 17

From the Dungannon kick off Instonians managed to lose the ball into touch but then won the lineout and immediately went on the attack. When the ball was lost on the half way line however, Dungannon kicked downfield and won the chase to score just to the right of the posts. The conversion hit the post but Dungannon would have been delighted to make it a one score game with a man down.

15:25 – Dungannon 10 – Instonians 17

Stung by this reverse Ally Burke had a great run off the top of a line out on the Instonian 22 and showed good pace to reach the Dungannon 22 but a relieving penalty allowed Dungannon to clear their lines and then they counter attacked through their 10 and 12 and it took a great jackal by James Welling on the Instonian 10 metre line to ease the pressure.

From the resulting line out James Welling took the catch but came down awkwardly and the game was stopped for treatment. James came off to be replaced by Andrew McGrath with the versatile Ryan Hanson coming on for Shalk Van Der Merwe.

15:34 – Dungannon 10 – Instonians 24

Instonians were now controlling the tempo of the game and looking to add to their lead. The kicking game had now been shelved and they ran the ball across the pitch and back with the penalty count rising for the stretched Dungannon defence.

A penalty was kicked to the Dungannon 22 and a driving maul resulted in another penalty and a kick to 5 metres from the Dungannon line and when another maul was taken down Dungannon were given another yellow card. The ball was kicked to the corner again and this time Dungannon defended the maul well initially but the ball was then moved right and a lovely long miss pass from Ruari O’Farrell allowed Frazer Laughlin to step inside his man on the right wing and score in the corner. A great touchline conversion from Jonathan Milliken increased the lead.

15:39 – Dungannon 10 – Instonians 31

Dungannon showed great character to come back on the attack despite Instonians having the numerical advantage and from a line out on the Instonian 22 they moved the ball left and then quickly back right but an intercept by Harry Gallagher and then a clever high kick into space by Matthew Keane put Dungannon at the mercy of the bounce of a rugby ball. Bevan Prinsloo took full advantage and did well to gather the ball and hardly break stride as he raced clear to score under the posts. The simple conversion from Jonathan Milliken made it a 3 score game with a quarter of the game to play.

15:46 – Dungannon 17 – Instonians 31

To their credit Dungannon’s heads did not drop and they continued to attack through their young backline and linked well between forwards and backs. Resolute Instonian defence met them with Alan Whitten , Andrew McGrath and Harry Gallagher making good tackles.

Instonians brought on Oli Burke for Neil Saulters at hooker and Michael Melville for Jack Elliott on the left wing.

Dungannon were rewarded for their efforts when following a great break in midfield from their 12 just inside his own half he was only halted under the posts by good scrambled Instonian defence but Dungannon recycled the ball quickly to put the right wing in at the corner flag and a great conversion meant we were back to a 2 score game again.

Lifted by that score Dungannon kicked through into Instonians 22 but good recovery by full back Jonathan Milliken and then a great break out of defence by Bevan Prinsloo took play up the half way line.

15:55 – Dungannon 17 – Instonians 38

Dungannon attacked again but a great jackal by Davy Scott on the Instonian 22 relieved the pressure. Instonians then again showed their fitness as they lifted the tempo again and a penalty was kicked to touch on the Dungannon 22 on the left hand side off the pitch. A good throw into the lineout from debutant Oli Clarke resulted in a clean catch and the ball was moved right and then quickly back left with great hands across the backline for Davy Scott to go over in the corner. A great touchline conversion went in off the post and the win was now rubber stamped.

16:00 – Dungannon 17 – Instonians 45

Instonians were not finished yet and they showed great continuity between forwards and backs to run at the now stretched Dungannon defence and it was fitting that Ruari O’Farrell went in under the posts for the try his performance deserved.

FULL TIME -   Dungannon 17 – Instonians 45

This was a fine game for the good crowd to witness and both sides will be pleased that they do not appear to have suffered any injuries ahead of the start of the AIL next Saturday 1 October. Dungannon hope to have some of their injured players returning next week and Instonians may have 1 or 2 themselves returning. We wish Dungannon well in their AIL 2B campaign this season and it was great to be playing them again today and renewing friendships off the pitch.

There were fine debuts today for Oli Clarke and Andrew McGrath and it was good to see Michael Melville back again too after a lengthy lay off with injury. That is 6 players making their first starts in the last 2 weeks and with 1 or 2 close to returning also the competition for places is high and helps drive performance levels in the group.

As for MOM today there were a few contenders including Bevan Prinsloo again but the man who orchestrated the attacking play today, playing with his head up, looking for space and creating space himself was the Instonian 10 Ruari O’Farrell who improves with every game in this position.

Thanks to Dungannon for the game and for their wonderful hospitality both before and after the game in their smashing refurbished clubhouse. We also thank the referee for helping to let the game flow and adding to the spectacle. To all Instonians we hope to see you all out in force next Saturday 1 October at Shaws Bridge for the home match against Tullamore (kick off 2.30 p.m.) as we return to the AIL after an 8 year absence. To add to the occasion the 1990 team will be there who played in the 1st ever season of the AIL when we were in the top division. We started then with a 12 all draw with Ballymena at Shane Park, let’s hope we can go one better next week against a strong Tullamore side who reached the play offs last season. See you there !

1st XV Fixtures 2022-23



Tullamore (H)

AIL - 2C




Skerries (A)

AIL - 2C




Bangor (H)

AIL - 2C







Ballina (A)

AIL - 2C




Sunday's Well (A)

AIL - 2C




Bruff (H)

AIL - 2C







Clonmel (A)

AIL - 2C




Midleton (H)

AIL - 2C




Omagh (A)

AIL - 2C




Belfast Harlequins (H)











Belfast Harlequins (H)

Ulster Senior Cup




Omagh (H)

AIL - 2C




Midleton (A)

AIL - 2C




Clonmel (H)

AIL - 2C










Bruff (A)

AIL - 2C




Sunday's Well (H)

AIL - 2C




Ballina (H)

AIL - 2C










Bangor (A)

AIL - 2C




Skerries (H)

AIL - 2C







Tullamore (A)

AIL - 2C