RUGBY REVIEW: Larne push Donaghadee all the way in Towns’ Cup

Larne RFC in action against Donaghadee RFC. INLT 04-010-PSB
Larne RFC in action against Donaghadee RFC. INLT 04-010-PSB

Larne pushed Donaghadee all the way in a hard-fought Towns’ Cup match on Saturday but they exited the competition, losing 26-20.

It was a game which could have gone either way, but the County Down men managed to hold out after a courageous fightback from the Larne.

The home side’s tries, none of which were converted, came courtesy of captain Ryan Garrett, McAlister and Eddie Hunter.

Larne failed to take enough advantage of the wind assistance at the beginning of the first half and a number of errors allowed Donaghadee to take an early 0-8 lead courtesy of a Chirs Good penalty and an unconverted Andy Jarvis try.

As the home side began to settle down they started to take a bit more control. The forwards worked hard to secure fast pace ball and Garrett and Phil Andrews linked up down the blind side with a neat one-two for Garrett to crash over in the corner.

Before the interval Larne got the break they needed with a turnover and the forwards kept the ball tight to drive towards the whitewash. It was Hunter who had the final say as he hit a short line to barge over, giving his side a narrow two-point advantage.

After the turnaround, Donaghadee learned from Larne’s mistake, using the wind to kick deep into the opposition 22.

The Glynn men struggled to clear their lines and it was not long before the defence was breached and the narrow lead was surrendered with Matty Johnston crossing the line for a try which Cooper converted for a 15-8 lead.

As the conditions deteriorated, and the Larne heads dropped a little, the North Down side got their tails up and continued to press. Another ‘Dee try - this time from Hamilton - preceded by a Blewitt drop-goal and folowed by a penalty, saw the visitors race into a 26-10 lead with only 15 minutes remaining.

It was only at this stage Larne started to build a bit more pride and get back into the game, but it proved to be too little too late.

The pack set up a maul in the ‘Dee half for McAlister to break off and link up with Garrett down the blindside to race away and dot down in the corner.

In the final minutes the same pairing linked up again and this time Garrett was the provider with McAlister on the end of a crossfield kick to bring the final score to 20-26.

This weekend Larne face a key home league match against Lisburn (2:30pm).