In a thrilling showdown under the sunny skies of Holmes, Donegal Town RFC finished Phase 1 of the Ulster Provincial North League in style, securing a perfect record of 7 wins from 7 matches.
The match began with a slow start for Donegal, as UUC took advantage, capitalizing on handling errors and penalties to snatch an early lead with two well-executed penalties, making it 6-0.
Peteso Cannon made sure his team got on the scoreboard by nailing a penalty, closing the gap to 3-6. But UUC wasn’t ready to surrender their lead just yet.
Midway through the first half, they broke through Donegal’s defence, adding a try and conversion to extend their lead to a worrying 3-13.
Donegal began to find their stride, with their forwards starting to dominate the game and the back line starting to look dangerous. As the half entered the final 10 minutes Gareth McMurray made a crucial breakthrough, crossing the try line to bring Donegal back into contention, 10-13.
The momentum shifted in favour of the home side, and the forwards’ relentless pressure resulted in another try, this time by Shane Gillespie, giving Donegal a lead for the first time in the game at 17-13 as the first half came to a close.
The second half kicked off much like the first, with UUC adding a penalty to narrow the gap to just one point, 17-16. However, this would be their last taste of the scoreboard.
Just two minutes later, Donegal pushed deep into UUC territory, where Peteso Cannon displayed incredible finesse by dummying and side-stepping his way to a spectacular try, extending their lead to 24-16. He wasn’t done there, as he added another penalty just five minutes later, making it 27-16 in Donegal’s favour.
To cap off their sensational performance, James Cleary sealed the scoring bonus point with a brilliant try in the corner, courtesy of a superb offload from Tom Barker. Peteso Cannon once again showcased his accuracy by converting the most challenging kick of the day, and the final score stood at an impressive 34-16.
The star of the match was none other than Shane Gillespie, who was rightfully named the RAZOR34 Man of the Match for his outstanding contributions in both attack and defence, particularly in and around the ruck.
Donegal’s fans couldn’t have asked for a better finish to Phase 1 of the Ulster Provincial North League, with their team sitting pretty at the top of the table with a flawless record.