The Craigavon Cowboys entered their first regular season home game on Sunday as they welcomed the Eagles from Wexford to People’s Park, Portadown. The Cowboys got on the front foot early on, receiving the ball and marching down the field in rapid fashion with Andy Herron running the ball hard and Ben Fallon dangerous in the passing game but it was a long pass from Josh Marchbanks to Peter Loughran that opened the scoring from 43 yards out. Herron was able to convert the 2PAT for a positive start by the 'Boys. Although, in a response of their own, the Eagles got back in the game straight away with a touchdown and a successful PAT leaving the score at 8-7. The see-saw battle kept going with Cowboys offence clicking well, marching again and scoring from a similar range only this time it was A. Herron carrying the rock into the end zone from 45 yards out. The attempted 2PAT was no good.
It was the home side who got on the score sheet next as they found more joy on the ground through A. Herron and J. Marchbanks until they found themselves with a 3rd and short on the opponents 26 yard line, up stepped P. Loughran to smash the ball through the middle before jinking passed the secondary and walking into the end zone. Another missed 2PAT seen the score sit at 20-7. A response from the visitors again as they were able to march the field through some exotic reverse sweep plays and help from the Cowboys defense giving away some key penalties, they managed to score but missed their PAT as Jackub Kowalczyk blocked the kick attempt. The Cowboys weren't finished there for the first half though as they marched again to allow P. Loughran to run the ball in from 6 yards followed by a successful 2PAT pass from J. Marchbanks to B. Fallon leaving the score at 28-13 at half time.
As the Eagles attempted to mount a 2nd half come back, the Cowboys defense decided they were having none of it and stopped the visitors with a turnover on downs, allowing the Cowboys to stretch their lead through the hardnosed running of A. Herron, scoring from 24 yards out. In bizarre fashion, the 2PAT was intercepted and ran the length of the field to give the Eagles an extra two points, leaving the scores at 34-15.
Any thoughts of that interception being a turning point was soon whipped out as J. Marchbanks found B. Fallon through the air for a 6 yard passing TD, B. Fallon getting finger tips to catch a jump ball in the corner of the end zone. The Cowboys then started to show some versatility among the squad as A. Herron found P. Loughran in the end zone for a passing 2PAT. 42-15 to the hosts. All credit must go to the Wexford visitors as the big deficit did not see their heads go down as they showed resilience and guts when they went back into the well and were able to claw back some points scoring a TD but the resulting 2PAT was intercepted by Cowboys Safety Lawrence Ruddock.
The Cowboys tried to push late on for the final score of the game but could not convert on 4th and goal on the 4 yard line. A resounding win on the Cowboys first home game in 2017 seen the 'Boys win 42-21. An end to end game which seen the Cowboys score on each offensive drive but the last, there is no doubt the spectators got a treat with some wonderful running and highlight reel catches.
Thank you to Chip Wagon Portadown & Laverys Filling Station for sponsoring the match and to our season sponsors (First Stop Solutions NI, D-Signs & Displays, Dynamic Nutrition and RichGrill) for your continued support.
Next up for the Cowboys is another home game on the bounce as we welcome the Louth Mavericks (1&0) to People’s Park, Portadown this Sunday coming at 2pm. In the meantime the Cowboys are right on track, notching themselves to a 2&0 record for the season.