Meikle’s men edged out by Malone in Butler Shield final

Action from Larne III's Butler Shield defeat to Malone IV. Photo: Bill Guiller
Action from Larne III's Butler Shield defeat to Malone IV. Photo: Bill Guiller
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Larne RFC III were edged out 29-19 by Malone in the Butler Shield final at Carrick Rugby Club on Saturday afternoon.

Malone opened the scoring after they collected and intercept pass to run in and score under the posts and go 7-0 up.

Larne immediately hit back through a Johnny Shirley try in a well-worked backs move that was finished in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Larne were further rewarded with another score when Gareth Rennix crossed the whitewash. Johnny Hall duly converted the kick for 12-7.

Malone, refusing to back down, countered the Larne surge by creating havoc in midfield through their centres. Slicing their way through the defence, they scored twice, going 12-14 up and then 12-19 with one try converted.

A final converted try was scored by Malone and it looked to be out of reach for the Larne side, until hooker and Man of the Match Joseph Johnston barged his way over to give Larne hope. Hall kicked the conversion to make it 19-26.

In the final moments of the game, Malone sealed victory with a penalty, ending any chance for a late Larne comeback.

Larne’s skipper, Ben Meikle, said: “The lads put in a superb effort from 1-20 and it’s credit to the hard work throughout this season. It was a highly entertaining final for local rugby.”