Header2014 IRFC

1st XV win 42-15 at Omagh 1st XV.


Photos to follow from Front Row Union

Rugby Home – The Front Row Union Sport

On Saturday 10 December 2022 Instonians travelled to The Tomas Melon Playing Fields hoping to overcome both the weather and Omagh to continue their winning form and maintain their position at the top of AIL 2C. With many games already victim to the frost it was not a huge surprise that the 1st XV pitch was deemed unplayable but credit to the ground staff and the referee for allowing the match to go ahead on the 2nds pitch with a delayed kick off time of 2.45 p.m. This good news was relayed by Omagh’s excellent President Kevin Murnaghan at the superb packed out pre match lunch with 150 people in attendance. Now it was over to the players.

14:45 – Instonians kicked off and in the initial few minutes both sides tested each other out aerially before the 1st scrum of the game was to Instonians on their 10 metre line and following a reset the 1st scrum penalty went to Instonians with tight head Alan Whitten getting the slaps on the back.

The pack would not have been happy to watch the attempted long penalty kick to touch not finding its mark and Omagh cleared the ball back into Instonians half.

14.55 – Omagh 0 - Instonians 7

From the line out Instonians lost the ball over the top and Omagh immediately showed their desire to use the backline and move the ball wide but a loose pass bounced into touch and Instonians now had a line out of their left hand side of the pitch. Normal service was resumed with a clean catch and impressive driving maul 20 metres up the pitch followed by a quick release to the backline and a superb line from Mark Keane saw him scorch deep into the Omagh half and give a perfectly timed pass to his centre partner Bevan Prinsloo who ran it to score near the posts. Jonathan Milliken added the extras and Instonians were up and running.

Omagh’s response was immediate as they regathered the kick off and a great kick resulted in an Instonian line out 5 metres from their own line. Omagh then undid their good work by interfering with the jumper and Instonians were given a penalty and a chance to clear their lines. Yet again however they proceeded not to find touch much to the frustration of the travelling support and no doubt the coaching staff too.

15.07 – Omagh 5 - Instonians 7

Both teams were now looking to run the ball at each other with Instonians in particular showing great continuity between forwards and backs and then a great kick to Mark Keane resulted in an Omagh line out 5 metres from their own line. Omagh made a good exit to their own 22 metre line and then stole the Instonian line out with a great catch and ran back at Instonians forcing a penalty at the breakdown. They kept the tempo high by taking a quick tap penalty and good hands and support play brought play into the Instonian 22 before knocking on to give Instonians a scrum in midfield. Another scrum penalty to Instonians was the outcome and this time they changed their kicker to find touch but it was obviously contagious as they missed touch for the 3rd time and this was to prove costly as Omagh had another great kick which fullback Jonathan Milliken was forced to take into touch only 5 metres from his line.

From the attacking line out Omagh took a leaf out of Instonians book with a perfectly executed driving maul from which they spun off left to cross the whitewash. The conversion was missed but Omagh were on the scoreboard. Game on.

This was a real contest now with both teams looking good with ball in hand but then kicking the ball away on occasions when they may have been better maintaining possession.

15.12 – Omagh 5 - Instonians 7

From a line out Omagh used their driving maul to get go forward ball to release the backs but they were penalised for crossing and at last Instonians found touch with the penalty. A great driving maul followed taking play into the Omagh half and then Rhys O’Donnell had his trademark show and go from the Omagh 10 metre line ghosting past 3 players and then side stepping the full back to sprint down the touchline for what would have been a great individual try. The covering wing for Omagh had other ideas and an excellent try saving tackle brought Rhys down right on the goal line. The ball was quickly recycled but held up over the line for a goal line drop out.

15.17 – Omagh 5 - Instonians 14

From the drop out Instonians ran the ball straight back and Omagh were penalised for a high tackle and a yellow card was brandished to the Omagh number 13. Mark Keane then found touch with the penalty to give Instonians a line out of the Omagh 22 on Instonians left. A superb driving maul took the Instonians pack all the way to the line and no prizes for guessing who was at the end of the maul as Neil Saulters touched down for his 14th try in the AIL this season and all in this fashion. A great conversion from Jonathan Milliken from the touchline followed.

15.25 – Omagh 5 - Instonians 21

Omagh then came straight back at Instonians and in a good passage of play involving backs and forwards they put huge pressure on the Instonians line but a great jackal from Max Preston in the Instonian 22 was greatly appreciated by his team mates. Mark Keane made sure that Max’s good work was not wasted by finding touch on the half way line. A good driving maul from the ensuing line out was followed by a penalty at the breakdown and a great kick by Mark Keane to the corner and a great opportunity from a line out 5 metres out.

It was thrown long and Paul Pritchard surged forward and reached for the line. The ref took his time and went round for another look before awarding the try. Jonathan Milliken added the extras.

Instonians continued to attack in the final few minutes of the half with slick transfer of the ball interspersed with strong carries with Shalk Van Der Werwe to the fore.

HALF TIME – Omagh 5 - Instonians 21

Mark Keane who had a very good first half went off ill at half time to be replaced by his cousin Andrew. Instonians will have been reasonably happy at half time but also wary that Omagh still carried a threat.

15:34 Instonians kickedoff and when the ball was returned they started a great attacking phase which led to a great combination between Daniel Keane and Rhys O’Donnell with Max Preston giving good support on the outside but he could not quite hold the pass and the chance was gone.

Instonians continued to use their driving maul to good effect and were very good at the set piece but this Omagh side were not here to make up the numbers and ran the ball at every opportunity and were starting to get their fair share of penalties at the breakdown.

The thorn in their side was Max Preston who was covering a lot of ground and consistently getting the turnover for Instonians. After a great jackal by Max in the Instonian 22 and with another change of kicker Instonians showed that they had still not learnt their lesson and missed touch from the penalty for the 4th time in the match.

As in the 1st half Omagh showed Instonians how to do it and when they got a penalty at the breakdown they kicked to the Instonian 22. From the line out they moved the ball left into midfield but good defence initially by Daniel Keane and then Shalk Van Der Merwe with a great tackle kept Omagh at bay until another great jackal by Max Preston gave Instonians the penalty. This time Andrew Keane found a good touch on the Instonian 10 metre line.

15.54 – Omagh 5 - Instonians 28

The ball was taken off the top and a nice backline move out right and then quick change of direction left saw Jonathan Milliken throw a nice long miss pass to Daniel Keane who sprinted up the left touchline before giving the pass of the day back inside as he took a big hit. Daniel may have ended up out of play but the ball had been expertly kept alive and was gratefully received by Bevan Prinsloo who as ever was running in support and he cruised away to score near the posts. It was fitting that such a quality try earned the bonus point and with Jonathan Milliken adding the extras Instonians were now out of sight.

16.02 – Omagh 10 - Instonians 28

Omagh showed great character to come straight back at Instonians and showed good continuity to advance into the Instonians 22 but Max Preston ripped the ball away from them and their chance looked to have gone. When Instonians then went to move the ball wide however Bevan’s pass was intercepted and Omagh took advantage to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed.

Instonians kicked long from the restart and Max Preston who had chased well managed to charge down the attempted clearance and Omagh had to scramble the ball into touch.

16.06 – Omagh 10 - Instonians 35

From the attacking lineout in Omagh’s 22 Instonians had a great driving and then a quality passage of ball retention with runners left and right and back and with the defence stretched Rhys O’Donnell picked out Paul Pritchard who went over to score under the posts. Jonathan Milliken converted.

16.11 – Omagh 10 - Instonians 42

Instonians were now playing with real freedom and everyone wanted their hands on the ball. Some great continuity took them to the Omagh 10 metre line on Instonians right hand side of the pitch when Rhys O’Donnell’s show and go this time left him free of all defenders to race through and dive over to score.

Omagh to their immense credit kept going and ran the ball testing the Instonian defence which held firm including a couple of huge tackles from Ryan Hanson and Shalk Van Der Werwe.

16.15 – Omagh 15 - Instonians 42

Instonians were confidently moving the ball left and right across the pitch but still had a tendency to kick the ball away instead of keeping the ball and they suffered for this when Omagh ran back such a kick to score a 3rd try in the left hand corner and give themselves a chance of a bonus point they would have richly deserved.

Omagh went all out in search of the 4th try that would have given them the bonus point but Instonians defended well. Then with time running out an unfortunate clash of heads in midfield saw an Omagh player fall to the ground. Thankfully he was able to get up and leave the field and Bevan Prinsloo was given a yellow card after the referee had consulted with both touch judges.

Omagh kicked to Instonians 22 on the near touchline and roared on by the home support Omagh had one last chance for their bonus point. Unfortunately the throw was crooked and from the resulting scrum Instonians scrum half Rhys O’Donnell passed it back to Andrew Keane to kick the ball out to signal the end of the game.

FULL TIME – 16.15 – Omagh 15 - Instonians 42

This was a good game of rugby and credit must go to the referee for first of all giving the go ahead to play the game and secondly for letting the game flow. Well done to the Omagh ground staff also to get a game played when so many games fell foul of the very cold weather.

Omagh were very unfortunate not to take something from this match and surely they will start picking up some points soon. As for Instonians a fantastic first half of the league sees them with a perfect record with all 9 matches won and all with bonus points. Now for a well earned break over Xmas and the New Year.

As for MOM there were the usual suspects such as Bevan Prinsloo and Rhys O’Donnell and Paul Pritchard while there were also good performances from Daniel Keane and Jonathan Milliken was 100% off the tee today but the stand out performance has to be Max Preston who was everywhere today and got so many crucial turnovers.

Tullamore sit in 2nd place and their only defeat was away to Instonians on the 1st day of the season so this league is far from over but all Instonians can do is keep knocking off one game at a time. For now enjoy the break and we go again in the New Year.