Dungannon’s early onslaught the spark for big drive to final glory
Dungannon 25 City of Derry 0: Ravenhill proved to be a winter wonderland for Dungannon as they lifted the Ulster Senior Cup with a victory over City of Derry.
Two tries in the opening five minutes proved decisive for Justin Fitzpatrick's men and despite the adverse conditions they were able to close the game out with Michael Lawton kicking three second-half penalties.
It was Dungannon's first victory in the competition since they won the decider against Belfast Harlequins in 2007.
Dungannon centre Glen Telford opened the scoring on three minutes when he came onto Kieran Campbell's crash ball to go under the posts despite some last ditch tackling in the Derry defence.
Michael Lawton converted and the full back extended the Dungannon lead with a try two minutes later.
Stuart Lester started the move with a probing run down the wing, Dungannon recycled the ball quickly, Telford threw a long cut out pass to Lawton who ran in unopposed and then knocked over a difficult conversion.
Dungannon continued to apply the pressure and Campbell's clever chip nearly created another try for Telford, but Derry full back Peter Henderson took a good catch in his own 22 and cleared the danger.
Derry's first sortie into Dungannon's 22 should have resulted in a try, they worked a three-on-two overlap, but Henderson's pass went behind winger William McCleery and into touch.
The Judge's Road side earned a penalty. Playing against the driving wind and snow they elected to take a scrum, but the Dungannon pack turned the ball over and cleared their lines.
Dungannon thought they had a third try, but as the pack drove over the line the referee adjudged the ball was held up and Derry were able to defend the resulting five metre scrum.
Dungannon had scrum half Jason Bloomfield yellow carded on the stroke of half-time as he prevented Derry from taking a quick tap penalty.
Derry started the second-half with renewed vigour and should have got on the score sheet when scrum half Andrew Semple took a quick tap penalty, the pack drove on, but again the final pass didn't go to hand.
Lawton extended Dungannon's lead with a long range penalty on 55 minutes following some poor discipline in the Derry ranks.
Poor handling saw Derry spurn another chance when they couldn't control the ball after kicking a penalty to touch.
Lawton was making a mockery of the tricky under foot conditions as he landed a second penalty on 60 minutes.
Lawton was off target with another penalty, but winger Stuart Lester added a third try in stoppage time.
Gannon worked the ball wide and Lester used his pace to go over in the corner, but Lawton couldn't add the conversion from a tight angle.
Gannon will now go on and represent Ulster in the revamped All Ireland Cup with the other three provincial winners.
City of Derry: P Henderson, W McCleery, David Funston, R Campbell, S Logue, R Peoples, A Semple,D Witherow, S McAuley, S Duffy, D Houston, T Patton, S Corr, S Simms, S Ferguson.
Replacements: Chris Shields, S Duffy, P Brady, R Baird, S Thompson,
Dungannon: M Lawton, S Lester P Magee, G Telford, M Kirkwood, K Campbell, J Bloomfield, G Sinnamon, A Duhig, M Farquhar, M Rainey, A Fry, C Threlfall, Rowan Halsall, S McKenzie.
Replacements: M Riddell, B Howard, T Smith, E Allen, D Simpson