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09 Dec 2021

McCarter hails team as City of Derry get winless monkey off their backs

Tries from Alex McDonnell and Paddy Blennerhasset secure victory in Cork

Rugby waterlogged

City of Derry rugby club finally got their first league win of the season with a 20-14 win at Sundays Well

City of Derry boss, Richard McCarter, was delighted to get the winless monkey off his back as his men finally got their first league win of the season.

McCarter watched his side put in a sterling performance down at Cork as they headed back up north with a 20-14 win at Sundays Well.

Alex McDonnell led the way with a try, a penalty and two conversions with Paddy Blennerhasset also crossing over.

It has been a slow start to the season for City of Derry but as McCarter says, this victory was hard-earned and well-deserved.

He said: “It was a good one to get – a great performance and, thank God, a good one to get over the line.

“It's a bit of a monkey of our back now. To be honest, whenever you're not winning it's difficult at times.

“We haven't had much luck in terms of injuries and players not being available.

“Even on the morning of the game, one of the players – David Lapsley – woke up feeling very unwell.

“He didn't even make it out of the hotel and with everything else that's gone before, you're starting to think that the rugby Gods just don't want us to win another game.

“David just woke and felt unwell. His balance wasn't great so we just kept him in the hotel room. We were down a man before we had already started.

“We got him back on the bus after the game and hopefully he will be better over the next few days.

“As for the game itself, we knew it was important to get a good start – which we did. But within two minutes we were back at seven-all.

“That was frustrating because we had started well for the first time in a while. We were definitely the better team up to that point and it was frustrating to give away a cheap score.

“We picked ourselves back up again and got a penalty to take the lead going into half-time. We had been playing into a breeze the opening forty minutes so we had negotiated the conditions pretty well.

“We had a big forty minutes to put in for the second half and showed good discipline in forcing Sundays Well to give away a lot of penalties.

“We put the pressure on them and forced them into a lot of knock-ons. Adam Marley was very effective as he forced three or four turnovers. We never allowed them to gain any momentum.

“Then Alex scored a special individual try – it came at an important time as well. Alex has the ability to create something out of nothing and he did that with a nice chip over the top which he finished well.

“Sundays Well came back into it but I felt we could hold on. Looking back, the last five minutes were more comfortable than they were at the time.”

The win takes City of Derry to fifth spot in the All-Ireland Division 2c. However, having got the winning feeling, they now have to wait nearly two weeks before their next game at home to Bangor on October 30.

McCarter added: “I suppose you could say it's frustrating not to be playing the week after having got a win but we look at it as having an extra week to get those players who are injured more time to recover. Especially when we've a tough match in Bangor coming up next.”

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