STRABANE were left feeling a little hard done by following a 17-3 home defeat by their promotion rivals Monaghan at Bradley Way on Saturday of last week.
The game was evenly poised at 3-3 – Matthew Wilson scoring Strabane‘s penalty – as the interval loomed, but Monaghan took advantage of a mistake in the home ranks to make it 10-3 and having survived a sustained period of second half pressure and having got away with a knock-on, they managed to grab another score to ensure the home side didn‘t get so much as a losing bonus point in the end.
“If I’m honest, we had two bad moments when we mistimed a scrum and got shoved over for them to go 10-3 ahead and then we battered them for the first 27 minutes of the second half but they touched down for a second try, so it was a wee bit frustrating,” Sweeney admitted.
“We played some really good rugby and over the course of the game we probably had 65-70% of the territory and maybe more of the possession, but we didn’t take our chances.”
Despite the defeat – their second on the bounce after last week’s reverse at PSNI – Sweeney was more than happy by his side’s performance, particularly those from the five debutants, Adam Cummings, Mark Young, Bob Keatley, Oran O’Neill and Conor Doherty.
However, he would like those performances to lead to victories and points on the board.
“The squad was being a wee bit stretched, but I was happy with how they fronted up because Monaghan are a handy team and we gave them plenty,” he observed.
“I suppose you always want to win every game you play, but we got beaten 50-3 in the same fixture last season, so there was a wee bit of progress from that.
“We had a load of possession but we never really looked like we were going to score – we lacked any real cutting edge, but it wasn’t for the want of trying.
“I don’t want to become a coach who is pleased with the performance without getting the result, but that’s two weeks in a row that we’ve come off the pitch feeling we’ve made more progress than in a couple of the games that we’ve won.
“I’d rather be saying we’re doing well winning games when we’re not playing well than playing well and not winning games.”
Sweeney will be hoping his side can again produce the goods this coming Saturday and with it a result as they travel to Virginia, who are just a point behind them in the table.
Meanwhile, the club’s second team beat Donegal firsts 8-5 away from home.
Keith Gamble, Mark Young, Keith McLaughlin, Simon McSparron (cpt), Dean Maxwell, Oran O’Neill, Conor Doherty, Adam Cummings, Timothy Cummings, David Rankin, Peter Smith, Anders Mindstrup, Matthew Wilson, Jack Graham, David Riddles.
Strabane travel to Virginia tomorrow.