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Things are starting to look up now for Inishowen boys

By Ronnie Ingram

It was a big decision for Inishowen to move into Junior rugby but realise that in the long term it will be beneficial to the club.

"We thought that we could field two teams as there is now a flow of players from Carndonagh Community School," said former president John Merritt.

"It was not to be this season but now that we have purchased ten acres and are re-developing the future looks brighter.

"We won Minor North last season and reached the final of the Ravenhill Cup but in our first game on Saturday we learnt a lot, although we lost 42-13 at Ophir II.

"One of our main problems is the travelling as it is a long journey from northern Donegal to most venues as compared to when we played in the Minor League," added Merritt.

The trip to Belfast appeared to take its toll as Inishowen found themselves 14 points in arrears early on.

"We were falling off tackles but credit to the boys as they came back and were within one point of their opponents going into the final quarter, but the fitter home team dominated the remainder of play," said Merritt.

"I would like to mention the five new players just out of college who made a worthwhile contribution: second-row forward Tony Diver, full-back Nial Diver, winger Thomas O'Sullivan, wing-forward Dean Harron and the first try scorer Cian Diver never let us down.

"Out-half Mark McLaughlin kicked a penalty and Gary McAleney came off the back of a scrum to score but the conversion was missed which would have put us in front.

"The game swung in Ophir's favour when we were attacking on their line, but a pass was intercepted and that was the start of the onslaught.

"There was little between the teams for the next 15 minutes but then they brought on three replacements and that made the difference.

"The whole exercise has given us experience of what to expect in Junior 6 and we can only benefit from it.

"In Minor North most of the fixtures resulted in high scores and only a few games against teams like Limavady III and Strabane II gave us any real competition. We have to be progressive and with a good recruiting base things can only look up.

"Finally I would again like to thank Ulster's Paddy Jackson and Ian Henderson for visiting us last Wednesday and conveying some of their wisdom," concluded Merritt.

Ophir II had first half tries by No8 Glynn Reece and Conor Bond, both converted by Iarlaith Rooney. He later added the points to a Dean McNeill score and the three tries in the dying minutes came from Matt Campbell (2) and Ryan Jackson.

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