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Dungannon Overcome Gutsy Galwegians Side

Dungannon Overcome Gutsy Galwegians Side

Out-half Michael Lawton kicked 11 points as Dungannon beat Galwegians 21-15 at Stevenson Park to end their two-match losing run in the Ulster Bank League.

Young winger Chris Cochrane scored the fourth and final try of this exciting Division 1B encounter, sealing a gritty win for Justin Fitzpatrick's home side.

Dungannon tested Galwegians' defence early on, but the division's bottom side were up to the task and their forwards powered over for a 15th minute try which went unconverted.

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Scrum half Barry Lee got the visitors into scoring range with some astute line-kicking, and number 8 Dermot Murphy muscled over after some good phase-building.

Both sides did their best to keep the ball alive in wet conditions and players like Ryan Caldwell, Ali Birch and Thomas Anderson began to make in-roads for Dungannon as the first half wore on.

Winger Michael Lawton missed his first shot at the posts, but converted his new two penalty attempts to leave the hosts 6-5 ahead, five minutes before half-time.

Dungannon's best try-scoring chance, during that spell, came in the opening quarter when Birch broke forward and hooker Adam Duhig was stopped just short of the try-line.

Flanker Birch gobbled up the ground again, coming up to the break, and after team captain Paul Magee had gone to ground, Dungannon won a penalty which Lawton sent through the posts for a 9-5 advantage.

Galwegians hit back in the early stages of the second half, their out-half Tadhg Leader missing a 45-metre penalty after a lineout infringement.

They kept the pressure on Leader punished an offside from 'Gannon, outside the hosts' 22, to cut the gap for 'Wegians to a single point.

Dungannon scored a rousing try in response. A strong tackle from Birch secured turnover ball for the Tyrone men and scrum half Rowan Halsall scooped up the loose ball, burst past two defenders and outpaced the last man to scored a superb five-pointer.

Just when it looked like Fitzpatrick's charges might open up a match-winning lead, back came the visitors. They watched Lawton fire a long range penalty to the left of the uprights, and then Caldwell was sent to the sin-bin.

'Wegians seized the opportunity and upped the tempo in attack. After a good spell in the 'Gannon 22, they kicked a penalty to touch and after lineout ball was secured, Connacht prop Ronan Loughney drove his way over the line for a try which Leader converted.

That left the men from Glenina defending a 15-14 lead with just four minutes left in normal time. Ultimately though, Dungannon were able to conjure up a last-gasp try to win out.

They turned down a shot at the posts from the ten-metre line, with Lawton instead finding touch inside the 'Wegians 22. Michael Rainey gathered the lineout and the forwards rumbled on before the ball was fed into midfield where centre Glen Telford was hauled down five metres short.

The returning Caldwell then took the ball on, before player-coach Kieran Campbell decided to go for broke and swung a cross-field kick out for Cochrane to challenge Connacht winger Darragh Fanning. The two players contested it, but Fanning could not collect and Cochrane reacted quickest to the breaking ball to touch down in the corner.

The icing on the cake came with Lawton's conversion from the touchline and a stunned Galwegians were left with just a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

Referee: Eanna O'Dowd (IRFU)