Gael Force Character Seals Well-Earned Win

Gael Forced completed their preparation for the inaugural British and Irish Cup with a 19-20 win over English Championship side Doncaster Knights at Castle Park tonight (Monday 2 November).

Having already overcome Oxford University (27-21) at Murrayfield in September the match was the Force’s second outing as a team and, despite occasionally struggling with the heavy-weight Doncaster set-piece, the Force played to their strengths with some dynamic running rugby to come back from two tries down.

Doncaster exerted early pressure on the Gael’s using their physicality in a bid to stamp their authority on the game early on which they did after just nine minutes with a converted try.

The hosts then doubled their tally ten minutes later when their set-piece dominance was rewarded with a penalty try, which the duly converted, 14-0.

However, the resilient Gael Force fought back using skill and pace to make use of the pretious time allowed on the ball by the resolute Doncaster defence – winger Chris Kinloch crossing the line for the Gael’s first, though stand-off David Blair put the convertion wide.

Gael Force then registered their second try on the stroke of half-time when Ryan Grant spotted the slightest of gaps at the corner, took a quick tap and, with the support of the Gael Force pack, piled over to bring the try count level.

David Blair made up for his miss with a fine conversion from right on the touchline.

Half time: 14-12

Despite the first-half heroics Gael Force went further behind in the 58th minute however the missed conversion attempt mean that they remained in reach, 19-12

Dougie fife scored the Force's winning try
A cleanly struck penalty from full-back Jim Thompson brought the side within a score before winger Dougie Fife answered the call with a fine finishers try five minutes from time to pip the Knights by a single point, 19-20.

Gael Force head coach, Stephen Gemmell, said: “We showed great character tonight. We took a while to get up to the pace of the game and struggled a bit with the physicality of their set-piece which meant we were often playing off scraps, but when given the opportunity we created try-scoring chances with ball in hand.

“We showed tonight that when we play our game we can be dangerous. We were behind for the whole match but we dug deep which shows we’re now building a strong team ahead of the competition.”

You can cheer on Gale Force for FREE when they take on Plymouth Albion (Friday 26 February, kick-off 7pm) and Leinster (Wednesday 10 March, kick-off 7pm) at Bridgehaugh – full fixture list below.

GAEL FORCE TEAM V DONCASTER AT CASTLE PARK (Monday November 2, kick-off 5.30pm)
Jim Thompson (Edinburgh Rugby); Chris Kinloch (Glasgow Warriors), Stevie Wilson (National Academy & Edinburgh Accies), Alex Dunbar (National Academy & Selkirk), Andrew Turnbull (Edinburgh Rugby); David Blair CAPTAIN (Edinburgh Rugby), Ross Samson (Edinburgh Rugby); Ryan Grant (Edinburgh Rugby), Kevin Bryce (Heriot's), Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors), Fraser McKenzie (Edinburgh Rugby), Grant Gilchrist (National Academy / Stirling County), David Denton (National Academy / Edinburgh Accies), Neil Rodger (National Academy / Haddington), Stuart McInally (National Academy / Watsonians)

Replacements
Dougie Orr (National Academy / Haddington), Nicky Little (National Academy / Hawick), Alex Spence (National Academy / Haddington), Jason Hill (National Academy / Heriot’s),  Danny Gilmour (National Academy / Stirling County), Peter Jericevich (National Academy / Glasgow Hawks), Dougie Fife (National Academy / Currie)

GAEL FORCE FIXTURES

Sunday 22 November: Cornish Pirates v Gael Force, Recreation Ground, Camborne (kick-off 2pm)
Saturday 28 November: Exeter Chiefs v Gael Force, Sandy Park Stadium, Exeter (kick-off 3pm)
Friday 12 February: Newport v Gael Force, Rodney Parade, Newport (kick-off 7.30pm)
Friday 26 February: Gael Force v Plymouth Albion, Bridgehaugh, Stirling (kick-off 7pm)
Wednesday 10 March: Gael Force v Leinster, Bridgehaugh, Stirling (kick-off 7pm)