THE top-of-the-table clash between Strabane and Monaghan at the Liskey Road Campus ended all square with many missed chances costing the home side all four points.
At one stage, Strabane had a 17-3 lead over their opponents but failure to capitalise on that advantage allowed Monaghan back into the game when a last minute penalty kick denied the home side a fourth win in a row.
This was always going to be a tight affair with both teams undefeated going into the game and that showed from kick-off with both teams making handling errors early on. The first 15 minutes of the game was dominated by both teams testing their opponent’s defensive capabilities with neither able to find a weakness in the other.
A converted penalty kick gave Monaghan an early three point lead.Strabane finally got some fluidity into their game with tries from Ruairi Lynch in the corner and a penalty try was awarded following a high tackle on Norman Lyndsey preventing him from crossing the whitewash. A penalty from Ali Ferguson left the score line at 17-3. Unfortunately, Strabane could not improve on this lead despite numerous opportunities to do so.
Monaghan managed to score a brace of runaway tries to bring them to within three points of their hosts. Strabane head coach Paul O’Kane will be very disappointed as several missed tackles from his team gave Monaghan the break through.
A last-minute penalty kick from Monaghan meant the game would end all square.Strabane Devels also fielded at home against Cookstown at the Derry Road Campus. The Devels managed a comprehensive 46-0 victory over their opponents.
Tries from Johnny Kee, Christopher Holden, Stuart Hamilton, Jonny Robinson, Alistair Gore, David Rankin, Ryan McKittrick and Gareth Lavery. Conversions from David Riddles and Luke Hayes completed the scoring. This win puts the Devels into top spot in the Ulster Rugby Regional West League.
Strabane firsts are away tomorrow (Saturday) against Donaghadee with a win needed to put their league ambitions back on track. Training continues Tuesday and Thursday nights at 8pm in Clady. Strabane mini and youth rugby continues tomorrow at 10am at Strabane Cricket Club. All new players welcome.