Dungannon Swimmers Edge Sliabh Beagh in Thriller
A resilient Dungannon team was made to work hard as they held off a strong challenge from Sliabh Beagh of Monaghan in their first home Aquasprints gala of the 2014/15 season.
A capacity crowd in Dungannon Leisure Centre was given a real treat as swimmers from both teams went toe-to-toe over 40 pulsating races. At no stage during the competition was there any more than a handful of points between the sides and it wasn’t until the last freestyle events that a winner began to emerge.
Proceedings got off to frantic start as both teams took two wins each in the medley relays. In the backstroke events Sliabh Beagh took the early initiative with a 1-2 in the Group A Girls race. Not to be outdone, Dungannon followed suit with a 1-2 of their own in Group A Boys. The home team managed to get some clear water between themselves and the visitors with strong seconds in Group B and C Girls followed by a 1-2 for Group B Boys. There was also a win for Group C Boys before Sliabh Beagh hit back with a 1-2 in the Group D Girls race. A well-deserved second place in Group D Boys for Dungannon left the scores level the teams headed into the breaststroke events.
A second place for Dungannon Group A Girls helped keep the sides level before the Group A Boys powered to a 1-2 for the home team. There was a fine home victory in Group B Girls and it was advantage Dungannon as the Group C Boys stormed to another home 1-2. The gap widened to 10 points in favour of Dungannon with a win in Group C Girls before Sliabh Beagh hit back with a 1-2 in Group C Boys. They followed this with another 1-2 in Group D Girls before Dungannon steadied the ship with a 1-2 in Group D Boys.
At the half way stage the scores were Dungannon 103-97 Sliabh Beagh and the result was still all to play for as we moved to the butterfly events. In Group A Girls, Dungannon held their own with a comfortable second and third place before the Group A Boys stormed their way to a home 1-2. This was followed by a win for Group B Girls before the Group C Boys again showed their class with another home 1-2. It wasn’t such plain sailing for the home Group C teams as Sliabh Beagh took good wins in each race with Dungannon placing second and third. Group D was nip-and-tuck as Sliabh Beagh took a 1-2 in the Girls race followed by a home 1-2 in the Boys race.
The result could still have gone either way as we moved to the freestyle events and after a second and third place finish for Dungannon in Group A Girls, the Group A Boys recorded the fourth home 1-2 of the evening. After narrowly missing out on a win in Group B Girls, the Group B Boys matched their Group A counterparts with a fourth home 1-2 of the evening. There was another agonising second place for Group C Girls before Dungannon recorded a win in Group C Boys. Honours went to Sliabh Beagh in Group D Girls before another home 1-2 left the gap at 18 points in favour of the home team with just the freestyle relays left.
In these, honours were again evenly split with wins for Dungannon in the Group A and B races and for Sliabh Beagh in the Group C and D races. Final score Dungannon 209-191 Sliabh Beagh.